Mercer University staff and faculty were honored at a ceremony held in the Medical School Auditorium. People were honored for five, 10, 15, 20, 30, 35 and 40 years of service.
There were 46 people honored for their years of service to the university. Each person received a plaque and a picture taken with President Underwood.
Additionally, three people who retired last semester or are retiring at the end of the term sat on the stage. They were Carolyn R. Dawson, J. Barry Jenkins and Gloria O. Marshall.
Dawson was retiring for the second time. She was the switchboard operator/receptionist in the RAC office. She single-handedly boosted the enrollment numbers for the regional academic centers.
Jenkins had a whole list of things for Marilyn Mindingall to read, but she went off script, which for Jenkins was something not allowed. Barry helped several people broaden their scopes and become more well-known at Mercer, including Doug Pearson. He helped shepherd many events at Mercer including the creation of Jesse Mercer’s statue, renovation of the tower stairs and implementing the tower tour, reestablishing Founder’s Day, reestablishing Pilgrimage to Penfield, establishing Family Weekend and the Christmas Tree Lighting, “and other things like the chimes in Willingham that have since been moved to Tarver Library and the lighting of the Spires.”
Marshall worked for three of Mercer’s presidents. She came to Mercer in March 1972 and her first order was to draft a resolution to build the Medical School. She learned from a phone call to the governor’s office that “every resolution must have three ‘whereas’s’ and one ‘therefore.’” Since then she has written over thousands of resolutions. She then helped “plan and implement the dedication of every room” in the Law School except for the bathrooms. She has been told that she is “a happy spirit and [she] can learn” as she moved to the fundraising position in the School of Engineering.
The three retirees all got a moment to listen to a colleague and friend talk about their work on campus and how they have affected Mercer.
After the retirees were honored, the rest of the attendees received attention as well. As Diane Baca called each name, she said something kind about each one and joked with some, even hugging a few when their turn came.
A special thanks was given to the people who had already retired from Mercer and came to see the new honorees. They were recognized and each received his or her own round of applause for their service. A few of the names were Billy Crooms, William Davis, Peggy Dubose, Kenneth Hammond and Bobby Wilder. And as Craig McMahan said in his invocation, “And for each name who is called, and for each one that isn’t, for all those who weave their lives together in the fabric we call Mercer, we are grateful.”