MACON/ATLANTA/SAVANNAH – Nearly 2,000 students will graduate in five Mercer University commencements during May in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah. The University will confer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as honorary degrees to State Rep. Larry J. (Butch) Parrish and musician Gregg Allman.
This year’s Macon commencement on May 14 will include a message to the graduates by former President Jimmy Carter, who currently serves as a member of Mercer’s Board of Trustees, followed by a musical performance from Allman.
School of Medicine – Macon
The School of Medicine will hold its Macon ceremony on Friday, May 6, at 2 p.m. in Hawkins Arena inside the University Center. The University will confer a Doctor of Laws degree to the commencement speaker, Parrish, who is currently serving his 16th term in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 158, which includes Candler, Emanuel and Jenkins counties as well as a portion of Bulloch County.
In the state House, Parrish serves as chairman of the Health Subcommittee of Appropriations and a member of the Rules Committee, Economic Development and Tourism Committee, Banks and Banking Committee, One Georgia Authority Overview Committee and Georgia World Congress Center Overview Committee.
President of his senior class at the University of Georgia Pharmacy School, he graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and began practicing pharmacy in Swainsboro in 1965. He is owner of Parrish Properties, a real estate holding company.
Parrish will deliver his address to 120 candidates for degrees.
School of Medicine – Savannah
The School of Medicine will hold its Savannah ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
Parrish will be the speaker, and will deliver his address to 45 candidates for degrees.
The University will hold its largest commencement on Saturday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. on the upper field of the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.
Edward Schutter, president and CEO of Arbor Pharmaceuticals, will be the speaker. Schutter, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Mercer, a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University and has also completed postgraduate work in international business at Nyenrode University in the Netherlands.
In addition to his duties with Arbor, Schutter is a member of Mercer’s Board of Trustees, immediate past chair of Georgia Bio, a member of the Emory University New Venture Advisory Board, a founding member and executive director of the Atlanta-based Bio/Med Investor Network Inc., and a board member of Knight Therapeutics, Vensun Pharmaceuticals and Establishment Labs. He is currently an angel investor in several companies, including information technology, medical device, biotech, and branded and generic pharmaceutical companies.
Schutter will deliver his address to 1,035 candidates for degrees from the College of Pharmacy, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, Tift College of Education, James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Penfield College and the College of Health Professions.
Walter F. George School of Law
The Walter F. George School of Law will hold its ceremony on May 14 at 10 a.m. in Hawkins Arena. The speaker will be Robert J. Kauffman, 53rd president of the State Bar of Georgia.
Kauffman received his Bachelor of Arts in business with an emphasis in finance from Western Illinois University and his Juris Doctor in 1988 from Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law (Phi Alpha Delta). He was admitted to the Bar in 1988, has served as president of the Douglas County Bar Association for consecutive terms and has served the State Bar in a variety of capacities, including as a member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee since 2004, as secretary (2012-13), treasurer (2013-14) and president-elect (2014-15).
Kauffman is the managing partner of Hartley, Rowe & Fowler P.C., located in Douglasville, and has been practicing there for more than 25 years. He concentrates his law practice in the areas of commercial real estate transactions, real estate finance and estate planning.
Kaufman will deliver his address to 167 candidates for degrees.
The University will hold its Macon ceremony on May 14 at 3:30 p.m. in Hawkins Arena. Carter, the 39th president of the United States, will offer a message to the graduates, followed by a musical performance from Allman, who, as a member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band lived in Macon and recorded at Mercer alumnus Phil Walden’s Capricorn Records.
The Allman Brothers Band actively campaigned for Jimmy Carter in 1975 and 1976, when he successfully ran for president. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and earned a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2012.
Allman, who is listed among Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” will be conferred a Doctor of Humanities degree by the University. He will perform for 602 candidates for degrees from the College of Liberal Arts, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, School of Engineering, Tift College of Education, Penfield College and the Townsend School of Music.