‘She was always helping everyone:’ Mercer community remembers Carmen Hicks

Carmen-Hicks, administrative assistant for the English, math and Africana Studies departments. Photo provided by Facebook.

Carmen-Hicks, administrative assistant for the English, math and Africana Studies departments. Photo provided by Facebook.

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Carmen Hicks, Mercer University senior administrative assistant for the English, Mathematics and Africana Studies departments, passed away Jan. 4 when her car collided with a tractor-trailer on Highway 49, according to an emailed statement from the University.

Hicks, 53, was from Warner Robins and worked in administrative positions at Mercer for 18 years. She was also known for her work as a Certified Fitness Instructor at the Navicent Health Wellness Center, according to reporting by The Telegraph.

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Mercer University Anita Gustafson said in a statement emailed Jan. 8 by Kyle Sears, director of media relations, that Hicks had an important impact on the Mercer community.

“Carmen Hicks was a breath of fresh air,” Gustafson said. “Her dedication to help faculty and students endeared her to so many of us. She approached her work with a positive attitude that was infectious. We are devastated by this loss.”

Students were similarly affected by Hicks’ death.

“I’ve known Carmen since the first or second week of my freshman year,” said Anna Lee, a graduating senior and student worker for the English department at Mercer. “She basically looked out for everyone … She was just like a mom. She actually always referred to herself as my school mom. She really tried to make the students know that they were loved and cared for.”

Lee said Hicks used to rescue mice from glue traps in Willingham Chapel, saving the creatures from starvation and setting them back into the wild.

“She was always helping everyone, even the little mice,” Lee said. “She always took the time to see the students that often got left between the cracks. She knew when someone was struggling; when someone needed someone to be there for them.”

Lee said the most important lesson she learned from Hicks was not to waste time being angry during difficult times but to prioritize kindness to others. She said this message could help those impacted by Hicks’ death to move forward.

“It makes me take an extra minute out of my day to be kind to someone, because that’s what she would do,” she said. “I guess what I would say (to those grieving Hicks) is take a minute and act like Carmen.”

A community memorial service honoring Hicks was held Jan. 12 in Newton Chapel on Mercer’s campus.