CLA Alumni Join Faculty

CLA Alumni Join Faculty

December 10, 2014

Two College of Liberal Arts alumni recently joined the school's faculty: Dr. Kevin Honeycutt, '00, and Dr. Sylvia Bridges, '00.

Dr. Kevin HoneycuttDr. Honeycutt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy with honors while at Mercer. He went on to earn his Master of Arts and doctorate degrees from Emory University.

He said his fondest memory of his time at Mercer was his participation in the inaugural version of the Philosophy and Art Study abroad program, which was led by Dr. Charlie Thomas, CLA '89. 

"That was when I realized that philosophy was the thing that animated me," he said. "It's a bit of a cliché, but the trip changed my life."

Dr. Honeycutt is responsible for the History of Philosophy and Ethics courses. He also offers courses in the Great Books program. This fall, he is teaching Introduction to Philosophy and is moderating the junior/senior seminar.

Dr. Bridges earned her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Mercer before completing her doctoral degree at Georgia Tech. For the past two years, she has served as an adjunct professor at Mercer and joined the faculty full-time this year.

Dr. Sylvia BridgesShe said a lot has changed at Mercer since she graduated in 2000. 

"When I left Mercer, ground had just been broken for the University Center and Greek Village, so campus itself has changed and grown in many wonderful ways," Dr. Bridges said. "I have also been impressed with how Mercer has worked to formalize service-learning as a part of the curriculum. Mercer has always encouraged and supported its students to be good servants of the community and beyond, but now with programs like Mercer on Mission, the integration of service, learning, and research is quickly becoming a hallmark of the University."

Dr. Bridges teaches general chemistry.

Three CLA Faculty Members Retire

Three College of Liberal Arts faculty members have retired: sociology professor Dr. Leona Kanter, philosophy professor Dr. Peter Brown and French professor Dr. John Dunaway.

Dr. Kanter began teaching at Mercer in 1991 and was known as a great mentor for her students and for the large number of alumni who continued to visit her. She spent countless hours counseling students on future career plans and post-graduate opportunities.

At Mercer, she was instrumental in the creation of the College's new Asian Studies minor, in which she secured a grant that enabled faculty to study Asia in the summer at the East-West Institute.

Dr. Brown began teaching at Mercer in 1971 and said he most enjoyed "working with many, many colleagues who wanted to have a significant impact on student development. Our engagement with students went way beyond improving their knowledge and skills. And, of course, seeing so many students grow and take charge of their lives within this engaged learning."

Dr. Brown was very involved with the development of the Beall's Hill revitalization effort, and one of his Senior Capstone classes created the idea for the College Hill Alliance. "Many of the positive changes in the neighborhoods around our campus over the past 15 years grew out of these initiatives," he said.

Post retirement, Dr. Brown is working on a project that combines literature and theology, which asks the question: "How do contemporary writers represent God as both present and radically transcendent." He said he is most interested in writers such as Flannery O'Connor, John Updike, Bernard Malamud and Toni Morrison.

"I will actually be teaching a special topics Great Books course next semester on this topic and have a contract with Mercer University Press for a book entitled Listening for God," he said.

Dr. Dunaway began teaching French at Mercer in 1972. In 2008, he started teaching West African literature after participating in a Mercer on Mission trip to Senegal. He said he most enjoyed the relationships he formed with his fellow faculty members, and, of course, his students. "It's amazing what high-quality students we get," he said. "And all of the international students made the experience especially exciting."

Dr. Dunaway has written eight books, and two more have been accepted for publication. His last three books have been French to English translations of popular French novels.

"There's so many wonderful experiences that I've had," he said. "I love to write, and so books that I've been able to publish were a great source of pride to me. But one of the greatest thrills I have had was last spring, right at the end of my career, I was voted the outstanding faculty member by the SGA, which was huge honor."

Post retirement, Dr. Dunaway plans to travel throughout Europe. He is also sitting in on a Latin class taught by Dr. Achim Kopp. "I never had a Latin class while I was in school, and I felt like it was a gap that I needed to fill. And I just thoroughly enjoy Dr. Kopp's Latin class."

Dr. Dunaway also plans to continue his work with Mercer's Beloved Community Symposium, which he has organized for the past 10 years.