Former Georgia governor Nathan Deal was the keynote speaker of this year’s Founder’s Day, which took place on Feb. 2 in Willingham Auditorium.
Founder’s Day is an annual event that occurs at Mercer each February. What originally started in 1891 as a way to celebrate and honor founder Jesse Mercer’s birthday and legacy has become a way of learning about how Mercer’s influence on students continues past graduation. Every year, a prominent Mercer alumnus returns to campus to share how Mercer has affected their life and offer advice to current students.
Last year, “Double Bear” and President of Gordon State College Kirk Nooks was the keynote speaker.
“Founders’ Day is important to Mercer’s campus because it allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather together to share their Mercer experience and listen to an encouraging word,” said Asia Cladd, the Heritage Life Committee chair for the Student Government Association.
Deal attended both undergraduate and law school at Mercer, along with being appointed as a Distinguished University Professor of Government in 2019. At Mercer, the role of a “distinguished professor” is the highest-ranking faculty position, recognizing exceptional scholarship and involvement.
“Governor Deal has had a long and highly distinguished career in public service,” President Bill Underwood said to The Den in 2019. “At Mercer our aspiration is that every Mercerian will positively change the world. That aspiration is fully realized in the life of Governor Deal. His presence on our faculty will be an inspiration to Mercer students.”
Cladd said SGA was able to contact Deal through Underwood.
“Governor Nathan Deal was chosen to be our speaker because he is a great example of Mercer’s mission," Cladd said. "He is an inspirational speaker and changemaker that will leave a long-lasting impact on the lives of the people in attendance at Founders’ Day."
Deal will be speaking about his experience at Mercer and the university's impact on his career. Cladd said that Deal is excited and honored at being asked to speak at the event.
Deal spoke at the Founder’s Day program in Willingham Auditorium at 10:20 a.m. on Feb. 2.