Mercer Alumni Stories

tappin-smallMcAfee Alum’s Musical Takes
Fresh Look at Atlanta’s
Most Famous Native Son

It might seem like an unusual career trajectory — an established London barrister born of Jamaican parents becomes the creator of a hit musical about an episode in American history, all via a degree from Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology. But that’s the story of Douglas Tappin (M.Div. 2008).Read More>

harada-smallAlumnus Featured
on NPR’s ‘From the Top’

Keitaro Harada, Mercer graduate and former conductor of the Mercer/Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra, was a featured guest on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” on June 17 and June 20. “From the Top” is the hit NPR radio program featuring America’s best young classical musicians and hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley. Read More>

A Life-Saving Reunion


After graduating from Mercer in 1985, close friends Leonor Ortiz Childers and Gowthami Arepally hoped to cross paths again despite the foreseen demands of their ambitious, professional careers. Neither could have imagined that their reconnection — more than 20 years later — would have such life-and-death significance.

In 2008, the two were reunited at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., where Ortiz Childers was being treated for breast cancer and blood complications, and Dr. Arepally serves as associate professor of medicine within the division of hematology. Read More>

For the Love of Golf and Broadcasting


“How could anyone forget Tom Abbott?” said Professor Tammy Crutchfield in the Stetson School of Business and Economies (SSBE). “He was one of those students who just stood out in a crowd, not because he had the best GPA or always made the highest grade on an exam. That was not always the case. He was in the middle of whatever topic was being studied. He was full of life and personality.

“I did not know that Tom was on Golf Channel until I was channel surfing one day. It wasn’t his face that caught my attention, but his distinctive British voice. I immediately turned back and was not surprised at all. Excited, yes. Surprised, no,” she said. Read More>

From Anthill to Pentagon and U.S. National Security


What started in an anthill in Macon has led, for Mackenzie Eaglen ’99, to the Pentagon and the highest echelons of the United States national security apparatus. And she credits her Mercer experience for preparing her to advise the nation’s top policymakers — even if her Mercer experience is what landed her in that anthill in the first place.

Eaglen, research fellow for national security studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, now regularly rubs elbows with high-ranking generals and admirals. Originally, though, she wanted to do more than work with them; she wanted to be one of them. Read More>

Ivey Merits National Recognition with
Award-Winning Music Production Company


The next time you tune into The Weather Channel, you will probably hear music produced by Mercer alumnus Steve Ivey, who took what he learned from Mercer’s Townsend School of Music and from Macon’s music scene to create Ivey Music International — an award-winning music production and publishing company located on Music Row in Nashville, Tenn.

Ivey graduated from Mercer in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music voice performance and communications. He began writing and performing songs at Mercer and got his first taste in music production when Dr. Lowen Marshall, former head of the music department, allowed him to do an unprecedented internship at Macon’s Muscadine Recording Studio.Read More>

A Life of Courage, Hope and Providence


The story of Olu Quaity Menjay '95 is a story of courage, hope, persistence and providence. Born in 1972, one of five children that blessed the union of a Baptist minister and school teacher and his wife, Olu Menjay grew up in the afterglow of the glory days of Liberia. William V.S. Tubman’s 27-year presidency ended the year before Olu was born. Tubman was succeeded by William R. Tolbert, an international Baptist statesman and influential Liberian politician.

Tubman’s Liberia was hobbled by a burgeoning system of patronage that created unrest in the country. World politics had become suspicious as the Cold War advanced. Tolbert assumed the Liberian presidency in dire days that only got worse. Read More>

Practice Makes Perfect


Dr. James Oglesby, CLA ’55, is proving it’s never too late to go for the gold. At 75, he’s setting state, national and even world records as a track and field athlete — and he’s just getting started.

Oglesby, a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, threw the javelin for Mercer for one season. “One of my fraternity brothers threw the javelin on the track team. He wanted to go out and practice one day and asked me to throw it back to him,” Oglesby said. “As we kept practicing, I kept throwing it back to him farther than he could throw it himself, so he said ‘You need to join the track team!’” Read More>

A Leader in Medical Device Development


Rajesh Pandey '93, has a career that has always been on the fast track.

In 1996, at his first job out of graduate school — a time when most new graduates are just getting their feet wet — Pandey was appointed technical project leader at Stryker Instruments, where he was charged with designing a new high-speed surgical drill.

The specialized surgical drill, devised for intricate orthopaedic, spinal, craniofacial and neurological applications, was the first Stryker product ever to be released before its target date, and became one of the company’s best-selling products.Read More>

Master Inventor from Childhood


When Matt Trevathan '98 received his first IBM PC Junior at age 9 or 10, he promptly took it apart and put it back together again. “I needed to see how it worked,” he said. He was soon programming and by age 14 or 15, building his own PCs.

Any wonder that this 1998 Mercer computer science graduate holds the title of Master Inventor and Senior Solutions Architect at IBM? Trevathan is a thought leader in cloud computing and the next generation (4G) of wireless technology. He already holds 15-20 patents and has almost 100 pending. But if his mind is in the ‘clouds,’ his feet are firmly on the ground. Read More>