Nancy Grace Among Prominent Speakers at Mercer Commencements Saturday

May 7, 2008

Richard L. Cameron
(478) 301-5500

MACON, Ga. — Mercer University will hold three commencements at the University Center on Saturday to honor graduates from seven of its colleges and schools. Among the three speakers will be national television legal analyst Nancy Grace, host of Headline News’ popular legal analysis program “Nancy Grace.” She will give the keynote address at the 9 a.m. commencement, which includes the University’s five undergraduate schools and colleges in Macon.

A 1981 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and 1984 graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law, Grace will address more than 2,700 attendees, including 480 graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, School of Engineering, Tift College of Education and Townsend School of Music.

At the Macon commencement, in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the University will also present several of its highest honors. John Douglas Dortch of Tallahassee, Fla., will receive the Louie D. Newton General Excellence Medal, and Elizabeth Batson Carson, of Peachtree City, Ga., will receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Stephanie Ard of Richmond Hill, Ga., and James Derek Cook of Homerville, Ga., will be presented the Wallace O’Dell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award, which includes a scholarship for graduate education.

The University will also bestow the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Non-Student Award on Beverly Knight Olson, of Macon. Olson, a prominent philanthropist, will be recognized for her extraordinary efforts to raise the standard of living within the community.

The Walter F. George School of Law will graduate more than 140 juris doctors at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony. The keynote speaker for the event will be Janis F. Kearney, publisher, author, educator and literacy advocate. Kearney served as personal diarist to President Clinton from 1995 to 2001.

In addition to a number of Law School awards, the University will also bestow its highest student honor, the Griffin B. Bell Award for Community Service, to Grant Michael Jensen, of Houston, Texas.

At 7 p.m., 1962 Mercer graduate Y. Lynn Holmes, former president of Brewton-Parker College, will address the graduating class from Mercer’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Holmes was president of Brewton Parker for 14 years and had a distinguished career as a historian and professor before accepting the appointment as president.

The Macon commencement is the first of two ceremonies for the College of Continuing and Professional Studies; the other will be held on Mercer’s Atlanta campus on Saturday, May 17. The Macon ceremony will include the graduates from the College’s locations in Eastman, Henry County and Macon.  The College will also honor its outstanding graduate award for those locations to John L. Washington, of Macon.

In a total of 10 ceremonies held in Macon and Atlanta this month, the University will confer more than 1,500 bachelors’, masters’ and doctoral degrees.

Commencement listings:

Macon Commencement - College of Liberal Arts, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, School of Engineering, Tift College of Education and Townsend School of Music
Nancy A. Grace, B.A. ’81, J.D. ’84, Host of Headline News’ legal analysis program, “Nancy Grace,” on Headline Prime
Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m.
The University Center
Graduates: 480

Walter F. George School of Law
Janis F. Kearney, publisher, author, educator and literacy advocate.
Saturday, May 10, 2:30 p.m.
The University Center
Graduates: 142

College of Continuing and Professional Studies
Y. Lynn Holmes, B.A. ’62, former president of Brewton-Parker College
Saturday, May 10, 7 p.m.
The University Center
Graduates: 109

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, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships 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.
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