MACON — A memorial service for Dr. Horace W. Fleming Jr., longtime Mercer University administrator and former president of the University of Southern Mississippi, will be held Friday at 10 a.m. in Willingham Auditorium on Mercer’s Macon campus. Visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at Hart’s Mortuary, 765 Cherry St., Macon. Dr. Fleming, who served as Mercer provost until July 1, 2008, when he was named Distinguished University Professor of Educational Leadership, died Friday at the age of 65.
“As the Mercer family mourns the loss of a great Mercerian, we also remember and celebrate the remarkable life of our friend and loved one,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Horace Fleming was an insightful and deeply principled academic leader, an accomplished scholar and educator, and a true gentleman.”
A native of Elbert County, Georgia, Dr. Fleming 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 served as provost from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2008.
“In my years of leading Mercer I had no better or more thoughtful colleague and friend than Horace Fleming,” said Mercer Chancellor Dr. R. Kirby Godsey, who was University president during Dr. Fleming’s two terms of service at Mercer. “A principled leader, he combined high expectations of himself and others with a gentle and caring spirit. We worked together, played together and laughed together. I loved the pleasure of his company.”
Prior to coming to Mercer in 1992, Dr. 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 founding director of the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
Dr. 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.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia and 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.
Active in numerous national higher education organizations, Dr. Fleming also devoted much of his time to community service. He was a member of the Salvation Army of Macon Advisory Board and the local American Cancer Society Advisory Board. He was a member of Macon’s First Baptist Church of Christ.
Dr. Fleming is survived by his wife, Orene “Steve” Fleming of Macon; daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Timothy Snowden of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; a son, Capt. Patrick W. Fleming of Columbia, S.C.; a sister and brother-in-law, Connie and Boyce Dunn of Anderson, S.C.; and a brother, Gerald G. Fleming of Macon.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, Mercer University, or a charity of choice.