Even though sometimes people underestimate our student population of 8,300 and our location in little Macon, Ga., Mercer University has been preparing leaders who make a difference in their profession since 1833.
Mercer has more than 60,000 alumni who not only live throughout the United States but also in over 70 different countries around the world.
Our school aims to generate a culture of high aspiration and success in any field. And believe it or not, there is a big number of Mercer graduates who are recognized throughout the country for being outstanding in their fields.
Nancy Grace, host of the popular legal analysis program on Headline News, graduated from Mercer Law School in 1984. She has received two awards from The American Association of Women in Radio and Television for her Court TV show. The television program Law and Order often has featured stories based on Grace; she even appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on May 22 of 2007.
As of 2006, she is part of Mercer University’s board of trustees and adopted a section of the street surrounding the law school.
H. Terrell Griffin earned degrees in history and law, graduating in the top ten of his class and serving as an editor of the Mercer Law Review on 1968. He is the author of three best-selling mystery novels: Longboat Blues (2005), Murder Key (2006), and Blood Island (2008). The last one made the American Booksellers Association’s national bestseller list for December 2008.
William Augustus “Gus” Bootle, was an American attorney and jurist noted for fighting segregation in the Southern United States. He was a brother of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1924 and from Mercer Law School in 1925. Bootle ordered the first admission of an African-American to the University of Georgia in 1961, and the federal courthouse in Macon is named in his honor.
The Mercer University ROTC program was activated in 1947 and nine years later a future General from the U.S. Army Forces graduated from Mercer. George J. Walker was part of the U.S. Army Forces Command from 1987 to 1989. In 1990, General Walker became a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame and served as the Honorary Colonel of The Army’s Military Intelligence Corps.
Also, Mercer has among its alumni a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and of the College Football Hall of Fame. J. Wallace “Wally” Butts played for the Mercer Bears Football team and was a brother of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Once he graduated, he became the head football coach of the University of Georgia. During his years serving as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, he won two national championships and four Southeastern Conference titles. He became a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
A former head coach of the NBA graduated from Mercer on 1985. Sam Mitchell played four seasons with the Mercer Bears and scored nearly 2,000 points, becoming the leading scorer in Mercer history. The team made the NCAA tournament that year and he was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 1985 NBA Draft. After his retirement in 2002, Mitchell became head coach of the Toronto Raptors and was selected NBA Coach of the Year in 2008.
And if all of these personalities do not entirely convince you that Mercerians can become part of the celebrity world, we have someone else that might make you change your mind.
A former Mercerian was featured in a Hollywood movie! William “Bill” Yoast, was portrayed by veteran actor Will Patton in the 2000 film Remember the Titans. In his college years, Yoast joined the Sigma Nu Fraternity and graduated from the College of Liberal Arts as a Physical Education major. He turned to coaching as a career and became a recognized high school football coach. He served as the inspiration for Remember the Titans in 1971 while he was working as an assistant to head coach Herman Boone (who was portrayed by Denzel Washington).
This has only being a small list of the numerous outstanding personalities that have walked through our campus. Mercer’s former students have won Pulitzer Prizes and written bestseller books and novels. Also 12 Mercerians have served as governors of the states of Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas and of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and 10 Mercerians have been Major League Baseball players.
Whether in sports, politics or on television, Mercer has been responsible for the education of successful former students who are highly recognized in their fields and throughout the United States.