Senior Leadership Features Changes in Advancement, Provost's Office, Admissions and Administration

A number of changes to top administrative posts went into effect with the new fiscal year on July 1. In addition to reorganizing external affairs functions, Mercer President William D. Underwood appointed several new administrators, including a new provost, new senior vice president for enrollment management, a senior vice provost for service-learning, and a senior associate vice president – Atlanta.

Under the reorganization of external affairs, Richard Swindle, Ph.D., senior vice president – Atlanta, was named senior vice president for university advancement, succeeding Emily P. Myers, who served Mercer for almost 30 years as senior vice president for university advancement. She resigned July 31 to become president of Jon McRae and Associates, an Atlanta-based executive search firm that specializes in higher education.

As senior vice president for university advancement, Dr. Swindle oversees Mercer’s development, special events and alumni relations functions, as well as continuing to provide administrative oversight for the Atlanta campus and regional academic centers. Swindle has been at Mercer for 22 years, serving from 1979 until 1996 in various administrative positions in Atlanta and Macon. In 1990, he joined the university advancement staff as assistant vice president for development and later served two years as associate vice president for university relations, alumni and development.

Dr. Swindle left Mercer in 1996 to serve as senior vice president for institutional advancement at Franklin College in Indiana, where he was responsible for development, public affairs, corporate and foundation relations, alumni services and church relations. While at Franklin College, Dr. Swindle planned and directed the successful completion of a $48.5 million capital campaign, which exceeded its goal by more than 21 percent. He returned to Mercer in 2003 as senior vice president in charge of the University’s Atlanta campus operations. He holds a doctorate from Emory University, a master’s degree from the University of Montevallo and a bachelor’s degree from Samford University.

Penny L. Elkins, Ph.D., associate dean, Fred L. Miles Chair of Educational Leadership and professor of education in the Tift College of Education, has assumed additional responsibilities as senior associate vice president – Atlanta. In her new position, Dr. Elkins reports to Dr. Swindle and is responsible for day-to-day operations of Mercer’s Atlanta campus and Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County, Henry County and Eastman. Dr. Elkins will continue to serve as associate dean in the Tift College of Education, responsible for educational leadership programs, community partnership development, and grants administration for the college.

Dr. Elkins has more than 18 years of experience in leadership, curriculum design and development, educational leadership, program planning, teaching, and program evaluation.  She holds two degrees from Mercer — a bachelor’s degree in Christianity and early childhood education and a master’s degree in early childhood education.  She also earned an education specialist degree in education, administration, and supervision from Georgia College & State University. Her Ph.D. is in educational leadership from Georgia State University.

Larry D. Brumley, President Underwood’s chief of staff for the past two years, was named senior vice president for marketing communications, in addition to his duties as chief of staff. Brumley is in his second stint at Mercer as well, having served from 1991 to 1997 as senior associate vice president for university relations. In 1997, he returned to his alma mater, Baylor University, where he served as associate vice president for communications and later interim vice president for communications and marketing.

Jim Netherton, Ph.D., executive vice president for administration and finance, assumed responsibility for operation of the University Center, which formerly was managed by university advancement. He joined the senior administration last October after serving for seven years as president of Carson-Newman College.

In April, Brian Dalton was named senior vice president for enrollment management. Dalton previously served as vice president for enrollment management and associate academic dean for program development at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. He is a frequent presenter at professional conferences and has written numerous articles on enrollment management for a variety of higher education publications. As a senior associate consultant for Noel-Levitz Inc., he has worked with more than a dozen private colleges and universities in the United States and Canada on enrollment management issues.

Prior to his current position, Dalton served as dean of enrollment at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, and also worked in admissions at his alma mater, Gannon University, in Erie, Pa. He has a Master of Arts degree from Gannon and is completing a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

The University announced in January that Wallace L. Daniel, Ph.D., former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University, would become the University’s provost. Dr. Daniel took office July 1. Dr. Daniel, a prominent historian, succeeded Horace W. Fleming Jr., Ph.D., who had served the University on two separate occasions. Dr. Fleming has been appointed Distinguished University Professor of Educational Leadership.

Dr. Daniel previously served as the Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History and editor of the Journal of Church and State at Baylor. From 1996-2005, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Baylor’s largest academic unit with more than 400 faculty and 6,500 students. He also served as founding director of the Slavic studies program from 1986 to 1996, chair of the history department from 1992 to 1996 and director of the honors program from 1991 to 2003. An honors graduate in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Daniel earned his Ph.D. from the same institution, specializing in Russia.

Mary Alice Morgan, Ph.D., professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies, was named the University’s first senior vice provost for service-learning and also took office July 1.
In her new position, Dr. Morgan works to promote, support and coordinate Mercer’s work in service-learning, community-based learning and civic engagement. She also works with faculty and academic units to develop service-learning curriculum, coordinate professional development activities, and collaborate with students, faculty, advisory boards and committees to facilitate service-learning and community engagement.

Dr. Morgan, who joined the Mercer faculty in 1997, serves as an advocate within and outside the University for the values of lifelong civic involvement and for campus-community engagement. A native of North Carolina, Dr. Morgan holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and earned her master’s and doctorate in American literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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