President William Underwood kicked off the homecoming activities for the weekend by leading a ceremony to dedicate the rain garden to M. Diane Owens on Thursday, Oct. 30.
“I’m truly honored that this beautiful space will bear my name. It’s a wonderful legacy,” Owens said.
The ceremony began with Underwood presenting Owens’ biography and focusing on the strives that she has made for Mercer.
The contractor, Chris Sheridan, and the landscape architect, Tommy Fuller, presented the work that they did on the garden. They described the environmental impact that the garden provides and how that relates to Owens’ character.
Craig McMann, the university minister and dean of the chapel, closed the ceremony with a prayer asking that the garden be a place of joy and happiness for future generations to enjoy.
McMann spoke about Owens, saying, “She lives and breathes Mercer.”
He also said that Owens is an incredible person who has spent her life completely involved in Mercer and is “part of the Mercer spirit.”
Owens graduated from the College of Liberal Arts in 1977 and the Law School in 1980. She was very involved in athletics and participated in basketball and tennis.
She became the first woman to serve as chair of the Board of Trustees in 2011 and continues to serve today. She also serves as a member and former chair of the Mercer Athletic Foundation board. She is also a member of the President’s Club and the Mercer Law School Board of Visitors.
“Diane Owens is a superb human being, and she absolutely is worthy of this honor,” Senior Vice President of the Atlanta Campus Richard Swindle said.
He added that she has spent so much time and money in the university and that she is committed to supporting Mercer.
“Mercer’s given me a lot more than I’ve given Mercer, and to be honored this way is really… it’s rendered me speechless,” Owens said.