Laffer, Fleming Named Distinguished University Professors

President William D. Underwood has announced the appointments of economics icon Arthur B. Laffer Sr. and retiring Provost Horace W. Fleming to the positions of Distinguished University Professors. Underwood made the announcement of Laffer as Distinguished University Professor of Economics at the May 17 commencement of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics in Atlanta. Fleming’s appointment as Distinguished University Professor of Educational Leadership was announced by the president at the May 10 undergraduate commencement on the Macon campus.

“Dr. Laffer stands among the most gifted and influential economists in the world today,” Underwood said. “We are pleased that this extraordinary individual will be joining us at Mercer as a Distinguished University Professor of Economics.

“Dr. Fleming is one of the most respected leaders in higher education, and we are grateful that he will return to Mercer as a Distinguished University Professor of Educational Leadership following a year at the University of South Carolina, where he will serve as a visiting professor of educational leadership and policies.”

Laffer was also awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree from Mercer at the Atlanta commencement. He is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an economic research and consulting firm that provides investment-research services to institutional asset managers. Since its inception in 1979, the firm’s research has focused on the interconnecting macroeconomic, political and demographic changes affecting global financial markets.

Laffer’s economic acumen and influence in triggering a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980s have earned him the distinction in many publications as “The Father of Supply-Side Economics.”  Years of experience and success in advising on a governmental level have distinguished Laffer in the business community as well. He currently sits on the board of directors of several public companies and on the board of directors or board of advisors of a number of private companies. Laffer is a founding member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board, a select group of advisors who assisted in shaping legislative policies for the 105th, 106th and 107th United States Congress. He was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for his two presidential terms.

Fleming, whose academic field is political science, has twice served as a senior officer of the University. From 1992 to 1997 he was executive vice president and provost at Mercer, before being appointed 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 June 30, 2008.

Prior to coming to Mercer in 1992, 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 the founding director of the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Laffer and Fleming become the fourth and fifth individuals to be named Distinguished University Professors at Mercer. The Honorable Griffin B. Bell, former U.S. Attorney General in the Jimmy Carter administration, was the inaugural honoree in 1983 when he was named a Distinguished Professor of Law. World-renowned violinist and Macon native Robert McDuffie joined the University July 1, 2004, as Distinguished Professor of Music. On July 5, 2007, Mercer announced the appointment of prominent ethicist David P. Gushee to the position of Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics.

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