Mercer Memories: Dr. Stanley Roberts

Dr. Stanley Roberts is a Mercer alumnus who graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a double major in Christianity. After graduating he studied to receive his Masters and later his Doctorate, then returned to Macon in 1992 to be the full time Minister of Music at First Baptist of Macon. He is now the Professor of Choral Conducting and Associate Dean in Mercer’s Townsend School of Music. His wife, Marie Roberts, is also a Mercer alumna and teaches voice in the school of music.
Cluster: Did you know what you wanted to do after graduating?
SR: I didn’t know on the front end. When I came in, like so many folks, I thought I would pursue a solo career. I had done a lot of gospel singing and was fairly successful. I thought I would possibly land in that kind of world. Even up through my sophomore year I was working with some guys on campus, writing music and cutting demos. Right before Christmas break my sophomore year, I had gotten a call from a little church outside of town here. They had gotten my name about possibly being a minister of music and it was one of those things I never ever saw myself doing. I went out there and found I really liked it. During that period I came to realize that’s where my gifts lie.
Cluster: With homecoming weekend right around the corner, do you have any fond memories of that time?
SR: You know, homecoming is something that developed after I was here. When I was here, it used to be in February, during basketball season. We didn’t have any great celebration, maybe a little parade or something. It has evolved over the last 10 years to what it is now, really because of President Underwood.
Cluster: Did you like to go to many games?
SR: I did. Games used to be in the Porter Gym, which was where Porter Patch is right now. It was old and historic, I hate that they tore it down after the University Center was built. The gym was real snug. You had a walking space of about 15 feet around the court and that’s where the bleachers were. You could pack 500 people at most. At some of the ball games, people would literally be packed up against the edges of the court three or four people deep. You would be standing there and have players or basketballs flying at you.
Cluster: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities or intramurals?
SR: At that time we had a music fraternity called Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, which was a guys group. There was a similar group for women, Delta Omicron, which Marie was involved with. I was also active in the BSU; it’s called something else now, BCM. For the first couple years, I was fairly active. I was part of the ministry revival teams and did that until I got my church job. BSU was very involved in intramurals so I played softball mostly, a little flag football and basketball. I was very involved in orientation and was actually the student director of orientation my senior year. I actually played trumpet so for my first two years I played in the wind ensemble and the pep band. Between church and school and trying to do a little concertizing on the weekends, that’s about all I could handle.
Cluster: College students like to get into mischief. Are there any shenanigans you and your friends took part in?
SR: Let me see… Which ones can I tell? Phi Mu and Delta Omicron always had a love-hate relationship. I was vice president of Phi Mu at the time and Marie was president of Delta Omicron. One night we found out where their initiation was being held, so we decided to kidnap Marie. We threw her into my big old Ford LTD II and drove down to Perry where I think we went to the Waffle House. Some of the girls were all upset that she had been “kidnapped” so they called the Dean of Students at the time. I had a great relationship with the Dean, so when they called he said, “Who took her?” They said, “Stanely Roberts.” “She’ll be okay.”
Cluster: Does it feel different to walk through campus as a professor?
SR: It was different at first to be a colleague as opposed to a student. I held these people in such high esteem as my teachers; it was very surreal and gratifying. Not everything has changed. The old Ware music building is now the math building but it still smells the same. The administration building still has the same creaks and squeaks. It seems like it was yesterday, hanging out in dorms, eating pizza and going out for donuts at 10:00 at night.
Cluster: As an alumnus, do you have any advice for current students?
SR: There was something sweet and simple about when everyone didn’t have a phone. There was a way to escape. I feel sorry for this generation because there is no way to escape, always having to be tied to something. It’s important to unhook from the rest of the world. It’s also important not to worry so much about the grade, rather enjoy the friends and memories you make. You won’t remember cramming for tests or making disappointing grades. I remember studying and funny things that happened around that, but college is about the fun times, laughs, hanging with friends and learning about life more so than fear of not making an A.