MACON, Ga. — Mercer University's work in the community has garnered national recognition among urban colleges and universities on the first "Saviors of Our Cities" rankings. Mercer was ranked 13th in the nation based on its commitment to community involvement. The rankings were calculated by Evan Dobelle, president and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education, himself a former urban college president.
According to Dobelle, the colleges on the list were selected because they were "best-neighbor" urban colleges and universities that, because of their strong positive contribution of careful strategic planning and thoughtful use of resources, dramatically strengthened the economy and quality of life of their neighboring communities and have become "Saviors of Our Cities."
"Mercer University enjoys a wonderful legacy of community partnership, strengthened in recent years by the vision of my predecessor, Kirby Godsey, and by the efforts of many faculty and students who are committed to community outreach and service," said Mercer President William D. Underwood. "We are honored that those efforts have been recognized and that we share this distinction with some of our country's finest educational institutions."
In addition to many individual student and faculty efforts, the University has focused its work with the community through the Mercer Center for Community Engagement. The Center was established in 1998 to facilitate educational, social and economic improvements in Macon and Central Georgia, in partnership with the local community. Its mission has expanded to include numerous other capacities on campus, including the Office of Service-Learning, which is a faculty resource for integrating community work into courses.
"Mercer's impact on neighborhood and downtown revitalization and on health, education, and grassroots empowerment in Macon has been significant," said Peter Brown, director of the Mercer Center for Community Engagement. "The University is graced with visionary leadership that sees beyond the limits of the campus. And our students and faculty have discovered that making a difference is also an education in complex problem-solving and a chance to deepen their community values."
In recent years, the University's efforts on behalf of the community have garnered it numerous recognitions. In 2005, Mercer was selected as one of 81 schools in the country as a "College with a Conscience," by Campus Compact and the Princeton Review. The Mercer Center for Community Engagement also won a Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Community Collaboration in 2002 and in 2005 it earned a Charter Award for Neighborhood Revitalization from the Congress for the New Urbanism.
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education, the University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
— 30 —