MACON – Mercer University freshman Leslie Gabrielle "Gabby" Carter, a graduate of Bibb County's Central High School International Baccalaureate (IB) program, is the University's 2014 Griffith Scholar.
The Griffith Scholars program is funded by Mercer trustee, alumnus, and Macon businessman Benjamin "Benjy" W. Griffith III. The scholarship enables gifted graduates of Bibb County high schools with demonstrated financial need to obtain the premier education available at Mercer.
Carter plans to pursue a major in nursing with her sights set on ultimately receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mercer's Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. She is interested in a potential career as a nurse practitioner.
Aside from participating in the IB program in high school, Carter was a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Key Club and Upward Bound. She was also involved in the Macon community, volunteering and working for several community organizations, such as Carlyle Place and Manna Ministries.
"Gabby is an accomplished young woman who exemplifies the qualities of a Mercerian. She is successful academically, graduating in the top 10 of her class at Central High School, and she also supports her community by tutoring local students and serving in her church," 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 Gabby as a result of this scholarship opportunity. We are grateful to Benjy Griffith for his support of these students and the University."
"Gabby is a talented and gifted individual with a gentle spirit. Through her studies and artistic work, she exudes maturity and is a great representation of what it means to 'Be the Bear,'" added Bonnie Toliver, admissions counselor at Mercer. "Mercer will give Gabby a wealth of opportunities as a student. I look forward to seeing what she contributes to our society during her Mercer career and 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.
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 minimum 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.