Throwback Thursday: Mercer named one of the top 10 party schools


Image: Provided by Mercer Archives

Mercer University was rated 9 out of 10 of the top party schools in the nation in Playboy Magazine’s October issue in 1987.

Mercer University stands tall and proud as a school of honor and respect in the south, but some scandalous news from 1987 begs to differ.

Playboy Magazine ranked Mercer ninth out of the 10 top party schools in the nation in 1987 and had some alleged Mercer students star in their October issue.

Although yearbooks have been searched to find the real names of these individuals, no one has found a match to who these students actually were.

“Most people thought it was a bad joke, a slap by Playboy at Southern Baptists,” said Ruby Fowler, a senior Christianity major and associate editor of the student newspaper, in a 1987 LA Times article. “Anybody who knows anything about Mercer knows it’s far from a party school.”

A student posed naked in one picture for the magazine and the other was a photo of girls having a pillow fight in a makeshift dorm room.

The Playboy article gave critics of Mercer’s president and campus life the chance to speak out about their discontent with Mercer’s tolerance for different religious preferences at a Baptist college.

“This purely involves heresy and immorality on campus,” said Lee Roberts, a prominent Baptist fundamentalist, in a Newsweek Magazine article. “The Baptist faith and message is very clear. … You just don’t find people who believe what Kirby Godsey believes – and claim to be a Christian.”

Godsey, along with his supporters, said in Newsweek that they are Christians, but theological tolerance is allowed on campus.

“They want to indoctrinate,” Godsey said in Newsweek, “instead of educate.”

According to the LA Times article, a vote of 54 to 20 of the executive committee of the state

Mercer University students pose for Playboy Magazine to publish in the October issue of 1987.

convention were in favor of expelling any student who participated in posing for Playboy; however, the Godsey administration supposedly decided against it since there is no record of students getting expelled.