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Letter from Dean Pearson: What every student, faculty and staff should know about Mercer traditions this fall

This is a letter to the editor submitted to The Cluster by Dr. Douglas Pearson, vice president and dean of students.

Welcome, Mercerians. For those of you who are new to Mercer, I think you will find that you have selected an exceptional institution of higher education, and one that is rich in heritage and tradition. Surprisingly, though, many folks — including some who have been associated with Mercer for a long time — are not fully aware of the great commemorative events that take place here each year. If you are one of these people, I challenge you to attend any — or, better yet, all — of the following events this fall to experience firsthand some of these fine traditions. You may surprise yourself by discovering just how rich our Mercer heritage is and how honored and proud you will feel to be a part of it all.

Are you ready for some football (first home game Sept. 14):

Nothing suggests that fall has arrived in the South more than college football.  Come watch the Mercer Bears take on the Austin Peay Governors from Tennessee in the first home game that will showcase the Mercer team that will win the SOCON this year. Student organizations and departments — along with alumni and community members — will be tailgating, so come out and enjoy pre-game festivities before you head to the stadium!  

Fraternity and Sorority Programs

Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about fraternity and sorority life in the recruitment process. Once you have your class schedules and obligations down, come find out just how you can expand your leadership, academic, service and social opportunities with our various fraternity and sorority organizations.  All Fraternity and Sorority Informational Social (Aug. 21, 5:30 p.m. in Penfield Hall); National Pan-Hellenic Council Social (Aug. 28); Inter-Fraternity Council Informational Meetings (Aug. 28 and Sept. 6); Panhellenic Recruitment Orientation (Aug. 29); and Multicultural Greek Council Recruitment Weeks (beginning Sept. 12).

Family Weekend (Sept. 28-29):

Invite the family… and maybe even that little brother or sister you thought you were not going to miss… to visit and experience Mercer up close and personal during our Family Weekend. Meet the administration and faculty, enjoy a concert at the School of Music, attend a tailgate, then watch as the Mercer Bears take down the Campbell “Fighting Camels” in our own backyard.  

Be a Good Neighbear (Oct. 5): 

Join over 500 of your peers in a day of service in the Macon community that demonstrates that Mercer students truly care about changing the world around them. For more information or to register visit  

Pilgrimage to Penfield (Oct. 20):

Travel back in time with the first year students to the site of the original Mercer campus in Penfield, Georgia. Enjoy hearing from faculty, staff, and students about this history of our institution and what makes Mercer University so unique. Tour the cemetery where Jesse Mercer and other great Mercerians were laid to rest. Take part in a picnic dinner with friends, and then watch as fireworks grace the evening sky as you end a truly remarkable event that brings to life the historical roots of Mercer University.

Homecoming (Nov. 4-10):

Plan in advance to keep this week open and to get ahead in your academics, since you will be hard-pressed for free time with all that’s going on. A week full of great events begins on Monday for our students and will continue through the following weekend when we are joined by our alumni to celebrate all things Mercer. In addition to the annual lip sync competitions, banner contests and other student events, Mercer will be hosting an alumni speaker series, pep rally and fireworks.  All of this will culminate in the thrashing of the Wofford Terriers. Look for a complete listing of student events on the QuadWorks Facebook page.

Christmas Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland (Dec. 5):

End your semester and begin celebrating the holidays by attending these festive annual back-to-back events hosted by the Student Government Association and QuadWorks. More than 500 Mercerians come out each year to hear the Mercer Singers perform, listen to a Christmas reading, and watch the traditional lighting of the tree.  Hot chocolate and cookies always put our students in the proper spirit for the holiday season. 

There is not enough space for me to possibly expound on the many spring traditions that await you, including Founders’ Day (Feb. 5), Bearstock (March 28) and Baccalaureate (May 10), so look for an update on spring happenings closer to that time. In the meantime, contact my office or the Office of Campus Life to find out more about any of these events. Don’t forget to investigate the many other great athletics and QuadWorks events that will be taking place in the coming months.  

In closing, welcome, everyone, and enjoy all that a Mercer fall has to offer.


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