MACON, Ga. – Mercer University has named incoming freshman Brent Grainger Lunsford, a graduate of Central High School's International Baccalaureate (IB) program, as the 2013 Griffith Scholar.
The scholarship is funded by Mercer trustee, alumnus and Macon businessman Benjamin W. (Benjy) Griffith III. The Griffith Scholars program enables gifted graduates of Bibb County high schools with demonstrated financial need to obtain the premier education available at Mercer.
Lunsford plans to pursue a major in biomedical engineering in Mercer's School of Engineering with his sights set on ultimately attending medical school. He is interested in potential careers as an imaging specialist, anesthesiologist or general thoracic surgeon.
Aside from participating in the IB Program in high school, Lunsford was a member of the National Honor Society, a Georgia Governor's Honors Program state nominee in science in 2012 and a member of the Spanish Club and baseball team. He was also involved in many volunteer organizations, including Rebuilding Macon, where he has participated in summer camp for the past six years.
"Brent is a fine young man who exemplifies the qualities of a Mercerian. He is successful academically and is committed to use his knowledge and skills to make the world a better place," said Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management at Mercer. "It is our intent to recruit many more talented young men and women like Brent as a result of this scholarship opportunity. We are grateful to Benjy Griffith for his support of these students and the University."
"Brent is humble and gracious. He also has a servant's heart that motivates him to think outside of himself. He has the spirit of a true Mercerian – always willing to learn and discover, engaged, involved and driven to be a role model for others," added Melissa Lawrence-Seabolt, assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Mercer. "Mercer will open up a world of possibilities for Brent, and in return, I have no doubt he will contribute great things to Mercer University and the community beyond."
The Griffith Scholars program was launched in 2010, with the inaugural recipient entering Mercer in the fall semester of 2011. As part of the program, the University matches each scholarship dollar awarded from the fund. Given the match by the University, the effect of this partnership between Griffith and the University is the equivalent of a $5 million endowed scholarship fund. The goal of the program is to assist six to 10 entering students per year at Mercer, with as many as 40 Scholars enrolled at one time.
A Griffith Scholars candidate must be a senior who is progressing toward successful graduation from an accredited high school in Macon or Bibb County. The student must reside in the district and have been enrolled at a school in Bibb County since at least ninth grade, have a high school GPA of 3.25 and be classified as economically disadvantaged under federal guidelines.
Griffith, president of Southern Pine Plantations, and his wife, Teresa, are both 1977 graduates of Mercer's College of Liberal Arts. His father, Benjamin Griffith II, of Macon, was a longtime, revered member of the University's faculty and a 1944 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 12 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing, health professions, and continuing and professional studies – on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah – and four regional academic centers across the state. The Mercer Health Sciences Center, launched July 1, 2012, includes the University's medical, nursing, health sciences and pharmacy schools. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals – Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. www.mercer.edu