Former U.S. President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr. joined Mercer University’s Board of Trustees on Friday, Nov. 9 during Homecoming weekend. Carter is the first former President known to serve as a board member.
Mercer President William Underwood nominated the 39th President of the United States for appointment to the board.
“When [Underwood] nominated him for the Board of Trustees, the board enthusiastically endorsed that nomination,” said Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications and Chief of Staff.
According to Brumley, Underwood and Carter have worked together on projects in the past.
According to 13WMAZ, Carter said, “I’ve been very excited about what’s happened at Mercer, particularly in the last six years under Bill Underwood’s presidency. I think he’s the best college president that I’ve ever known. I think great things are destined for Mercer.”
Carter is the former Governor of Georgia. He last spoke at Mercer University in 2008, when he delivered a President’s Lecture Series in Willingham Auditorium.
According to the Macon Telegraph, Carter said, “I have been impressed with how Mercer is combining research and service to solve real-world problems that improve the lives of people around the world. I believe Mercer has a very important mission, and I look forward to learning more about the university in the years ahead and helping advance its mission as a member of the Board of Trustees.”
Mercer’s board of 45 members met on Nov. 9 to induct 10 new members.
The other nine trustees include Barbara (Babs) Baugh, president of the Baugh Family Foundation, San Antonio, Texas; Neville Callam, general secretary, Baptist World Alliance, Falls Church, Va.; Holly McCorkle Jones, attorney and civic leader, Jacksonville, Fla.; Lt. Gen. (retired) Claude M. Kicklighter, former Pentagon inspector general, McLean, Va.; Thomas W. Malone, Atlanta attorney; M. Diane Owens, Atlanta attorney; Miller Peterson (Pete) Robinson, chairman of Troutman Sanders Strategies, Columbus; Raymond M. (Thad) Warren III, chairman and CEO, Warren Environment Inc., Atlanta; and Jerry S. Wilson Jr., former senior vice president and chief customer and commercial officer for the Coca-Cola Company.
Mercer alumni include Jones, Kicklighter, Malone, Owens, Robinson, Warren and Wilson.
Members serve five-year terms, with the full board meeting twice a year in the fall and spring. Smaller committees derived from the board meet throughout the year.
“All of our trustees make valuable contributions to the university and bring important expertise to help advance Mercer,” Brumley said.
Some projects discussed and approved by the board at the meeting were three new graduate programs and the construction of Cruz plaza.
Carter held the presidential office from 1977 to 1981. In 2002, he won a Nobel Peace Prize. He founded The Carter Center in 1982, a nonpartisan and nonprofit Center that tackles national and international matters of public policy.
“It is quite a distinction to have a former president of the United States on the Board of Trustees,” Brumley said. “I expect President Carter will be a very active and engaged trustee.”