Mercer University is one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning, offering rigorous programs that span the undergraduate liberal arts to doctoral level degrees. Founded by early 19th century Baptists, Mercer — while no longer formally denominationally affiliated — remains committed to an educational environment that embraces the historic Baptist principles of intellectual and religious freedom, while affirming values that arise from a Judeo-Christian understanding of the world.
With more than 8,500 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at three Regional Academic Centers around the state, Mercer is consistently ranked among the nation’s leading institutions by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, which in 2014 named Mercer as the No. 1 Best Value in the South. Our more than 76,000 alumni are making important contributions to their professions and communities throughout Georgia, the Southeast and the world.
While offering a breadth of programs found at much larger universities, Mercer maintains an intimate, student-focused culture more characteristic of smaller liberal arts colleges. Mercer’s uniqueness is found in the way the University integrates five defining components of its mission:
The foundation of a Mercer education since 1833 has been liberal learning. By studying the best that has been created and discovered in the sciences, the arts, and the humanities, liberally educated women and men learn to think for themselves and to seek excellence. Liberal learning at Mercer engages undergraduate students in research and scholarship, emphasizes leadership and service locally and internationally, offers students cutting-edge interdisciplinary programs of study, and provides intensive preparation for the professions. Liberal learning at Mercer is hands-on education for future leadership in the professions, in business, in public service, and in our communities.
Mercer is a leader in equipping students with the professional knowledge they need for rewarding and successful vocations. Whether it is preparing undergraduate liberal arts students for advanced study or for careers in a variety of fields, or educating future teachers and school administrators, ministers, performing artists, attorneys, entrepreneurs, engineers, physicians, and other healthcare practitioners through its professional schools and colleges, Mercer offers a comprehensive set of well-regarded educational options.
Great universities generate new discoveries that add to the world’s body of knowledge. Mercer’s rapidly expanding investments in this arena range from groundbreaking work in new drug delivery protocols to cutting-edge translational cancer research. A Mercer distinctive is the interdisciplinary nature of research that promotes collaboration across schools and colleges. Faculty and students from the School of Engineering work with faculty and students from the School of Medicine to develop new biomedical devices. Undergraduate biology students work alongside faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Pharmacy to devise new cancer treatments. This kind of integrative research is critical to solving the world’s most pressing challenges. Because of Mercer’s array of academic programs and an institutional culture that promotes collaboration, the University is well positioned to generate important new discoveries that make a difference in people’s lives.
Service to Humankind
A Mercer hallmark since its founding has been service to others, which is rooted in our faith-based mission. The University was a pioneer in service-learning, integrating volunteerism and curricula long before the term came into vogue and was embraced by many other institutions. Mercer was one of the first institutions in the country to participate in the AmeriCorps program in the 1990s and the Upward Bound program in the 1960s.
Service to humankind is ingrained in the Mercer culture. It is found in its academic units – a medical school dedicated entirely to preparing primary care physicians for rural and other medically underserved areas of Georgia and a law school widely recognized for its contributions in the arena of public service – to signature programs like Mercer On Mission that deploy students and faculty across the world to alleviate human suffering. It is found in programs like Mercer Service Scholars, which engages diverse undergraduate students in substantive service to local and international communities, while preparing them to become leaders on campus, in their professions, and in their communities. It is found in the more than 200,000 hours of volunteer service that students in Macon and Atlanta contribute to their communities each year. This commitment to service led Princeton Review in 2005 to name Mercer as one of its “Colleges with a Conscience.”
Community has meaning on two levels at Mercer — internal and external — and in both the University excels. At Mercer, students, faculty and staff relate to one another in an environment that inspires collaboration, support and respect. Strong bonds are formed between faculty and students and between colleagues. This kind of community promotes active mentoring and a work and study environment where people flourish.
The external community – cities and neighborhoods where students, faculty and staff live and serve – is also important at Mercer. Whether it is investing in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods surrounding the Macon campus, fueling economic development in cities throughout Georgia, or rebuilding communities in post-Apartheid South Africa, Mercer’s contributions to communities are significant.
Over the past decade, the University has earned numerous awards and national recognition for community engagement. Mercer is one of only 361 colleges and universities in the country to hold the Community Engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The classification, first awarded in 2008, was renewed for another 10 years in 2015. The University is consistently found on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, earning the recognition in 2014, 2013 (with distinction), 2008, 2007 and 2006.