Mercer University Names Taylor as 2012 Griffith Scholar

August 6, 2012

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or vanderhoek_m@mercer.edu

MACON — Mercer University has named incoming freshman Andrew (AJ) Taylor, a 2012 graduate of Westside High School, as the 2012 Griffith Scholar. The scholarship is funded by Mercer trustee, alumnus and Macon businessman Benjamin W. (Benjy) Griffith III. The Griffith Scholars program enables gifted graduates from Bibb County high schools with demonstrated financial need to obtain the premier education available at Mercer.

“Andrew has overcome many challenges in his life,” said Melissa Lawrence-Seabolt, an admissions counselor who worked to bring him to Mercer. “While growing up in an environment that could have suppressed his talents, he overcame many obstacles and has turned out to be a bright, compassionate young man. I see his passion to help others and serve those who are less fortunate. AJ identifies with the struggles of those around him and has made a point to better the lives of those in need. He embodies the spirit of a Mercerian – engaged, involved and driven to be a role model for others. It is an honor to have AJ at Mercer this fall. I have no doubt he will contribute great things to Mercer University.”

Taylor will be attending Mercer and majoring in biology on the pre-medicine track. In high school, he excelled in academics while playing varsity tennis, serving as captain his senior year. He was also a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club, Math Team, National Honor Society and worked at the technology help desk. Taylor served as president of Mu Alpha Theta his senior year and was also Future Business Leaders of America Committee Leader.

“We are thrilled to have a great student, and a great person coming to study with us through this wonderful program,” said Dr. Penny Elkins, Mercer’s senior vice president for enrollment management. “We thank Benjy Griffith for his generous support of these students and the University. We look forward to receiving many more talented young men and women as a result of this scholarship opportunity.”

The Griffith Scholars program was launched in 2010, with the inaugural recipient entering Mercer in fall 2011. As an investment in the students of Bibb County, the program was created to help eliminate the financial barrier to obtaining a Mercer education for talented and motivated young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As part of the Griffith Scholars program, the University matches each scholarship dollar awarded from the fund. Given the match by the University, the ultimate effect of this partnership between Griffith and the University is the equivalent of a $5 million endowed scholarship fund. The ultimate goal of the program is to assist six to 10 entering students per year at Mercer, with as many as 40 Scholars enrolled at one time.

A Griffith Scholars candidate must be a senior who is progressing towards successful graduation from an accredited high school in Macon or Bibb County. The student must reside in the district and have been enrolled at a school in Bibb County since at least the ninth grade, have a high school GPA of 3.25 and be classified as economically disadvantaged under federal guidelines.

Griffith, president of Southern Pine Plantations, is a 1977 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts. His father, Benjamin Griffith II, of Macon, was a longtime, revered member of the University’s faculty.

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 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah – and four regional academic centers across the state. The Mercer Health Sciences Center launched July 1, 2012, and includes the University’s medical, nursing and pharmacy schools and will add a fourth college – the College of Health Professions – on July 1, 2013. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. It 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. www.mercer.edu
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