MACON – Mercer University Provost Horace W. Fleming Jr. has announced his intention to return to the faculty full-time upon the appointment of a new chief academic officer, or no later than January 2008. President William D. Underwood has appointed a 15-member search committee, chaired by Daisy Floyd, dean of Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law, to assist with a national search for Fleming’s successor.
“Horace for several months has been expressing his desire to return to full-time teaching. He has remained in his administrative post at my request in order to help ensure a smooth transition in university leadership,” said Underwood, who assumed the Mercer presidency on July 1, 2006. “I am very grateful that Horace has continued to serve as provost. He is well respected on campus and off and has provided steady and effective leadership under two Mercer presidents. I have frequently relied on him for wise and timely counsel during my first six months as president.”
Fleming, whose academic field is political science, has twice served as a senior officer of the university. From 1992 to 1997 he was executive vice president and provost at Mercer, before being elected president of the University of Southern Mississippi. He returned to the Mercer administration in 2002 as executive vice president and has served as provost since July 1, 2006.
“After 25 years in academic administration, it is time for me to return to teaching and research. It has always been my plan to spend the latter part of my academic career in the classroom and with my research interests. And now is the time to make this move,” Fleming said. “I am excited about Mercer's future and the opportunity I will have as a faculty member and colleague to continue to work with President Underwood. He is a dedicated, visionary, and energetic leader, and I appreciate his understanding and support of this career decision on my part.”
Prior to coming to Mercer in 1992, Fleming was executive vice president at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., from 1990 to 1992. He began his teaching career in 1971 as a member of the faculty at Clemson University. During his 19-year tenure at Clemson, he served as president of the faculty senate and was chosen Alumni Master Teacher in 1979 by the Clemson student body. He was also the founding director of the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
Fleming took leave from Clemson from 1980 to 1982 to serve as chief economist for the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate. He also was staff director of the Office of President Pro Tem of the Senate, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
A native of Elbert County, Georgia, Fleming earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Georgia. He received his doctorate in political science from Vanderbilt University. A highly decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, he served as a captain from 1969 to 1970 in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star and Regimental Cross of Gallantry.
Fleming and his wife, Steve, have two children – Susan, an accountant, and Patrick, an officer in the U.S. Army.
Other members of the Provost Search Advisory Committee include: Dr. Dayne Aldridge, dean of the School of Engineering; Steuart Botchford, Naples, Fla., senior and president of the student body; Susan Broome, associate director for technical services in Tarver Library and chair of the Faculty House of Delegates; Dr. Lynn Clemons, assistant professor of organization leadership in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies; Dr. Alan Culpepper, dean of the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology; Dr. Penny Elkins, assistant dean of the Tift College of Education; Dr. Susan Gunby, dean of the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing; Beth Hammond, dean of university libraries; Dr. David McIntyre, assistant professor of accounting; Dr. H.W. Ted Matthews, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies; Dr. Richard Reinhart, professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine; Dr. Stanley Roberts, director of choral activities and coordinator of sacred music studies in the Townsend School of Music; and Dr. Walter B. Shurden, director of the Center for Baptist Studies. Larry D. Brumley, senior vice president and chief of staff, will coordinate the work of the committee.
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls 7,200 students in 11 schools and colleges — liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies -- on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta and four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer also operates a university press, engineering research center and performing arts center, affiliates with teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah, and participates in educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. Mercer sponsors 14 NCAA Division I athletic teams and is a charter member of the Atlanta Sun Conference. For 17 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the top 15 universities in the South.