MACON — Mercer University will host a reception and book signing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics and the release of Relationship Banker, a biography of the School’s namesake, Eugene W. Stetson, on Saturday, April 24, from 4-5 p.m. in Stetson Hall on the University’s Macon campus.
The event will include an open house of Stetson Hall and the Eugene W. Stetson Room and a special recognition of the Stetson-Hatcher family. The event will highlight the School’s creation in 1984, and its rise to prominence over the past 25 years. In addition, the event will also include a book signing by James L. Hunt, a Mercer business professor and author of Relationship Banker, published by Mercer University Press.
Since its founding, the School has added four graduate programs and earned accreditation by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The School has 960 students in programs on the University’s Macon, Savannah and Atlanta campuses. The School has recently won acclaim for its Master of Business Administration program from Entrepreneur magazine for placing among the top 15 in the nation in two categories of The Princeton Review’s “Student Opinion Honors for Business Schools.” The MBA students cited Mercer’s preparation as superior in the categories of marketing and accounting, putting the University in the same company as Duke, Harvard, Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern.
Hunt’s work, representing 10 years of research, examines the rise of Stetson through the lens of his relationships. The key to Stetson’s banking success — as well as the key to the larger question of who received capital — was his skill at creating and sustaining personal relationships. Stetson’s best clients and associates included Coca-Cola’s Robert Woodruff, financier and railroad baron Averell Harriman, IBM’s Tom Watson Sr. and Morgan’s Thomas Lamont. It is through these relationships that both Stetson and Wall Street banking in the middle decades of the 20th Century can be understood.
Stetson, a 35-year-old banker and Mercer graduate from Macon, became a vice president with the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, a “Morgan Bank,” in 1916, rising to become president and chairman of Guaranty. From 1916 to his death in 1959, Stetson survived the booms and busts of World War I, the stock-crazed 1920s, the transformation of banking in the Depression and the demands of total war in the 1940s. In 1958, Stetson spearheaded the merger of Guaranty and Morgan, beginning a long series of combinations that eventually produced JPMorgan Chase, currently the largest bank in the United States.
Among those in attendance from Stetson’s family will be grandsons, Robert F. Hatcher, a Macon businessman and banker and Eugene “Gene” Stetson Hatcher, a Macon attorney and a 1981 graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer.
Bob is the president and chief executive officer of MidCountry Financial Corp. and MidCountry Bank and currently in his fourth term on the Mercer Board of Trustees. He was appointed by the governor as co-chair of the Commission for a New Georgia in 2004.
Gene is a partner with the Macon law firm, Anderson, Walker and Reichert and has two children with Mercer degrees: Gene Jr., a 1997 graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law; and Mark, a 2000 MBA graduate from the Stetson School of Business and Economics.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 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, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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