Aaryanna Mercer Named 2019 Griffith Scholar

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Aaryanna Mercer

MACON – Mercer University recently named Aaryanna Mercer, a senior at Howard High School in Macon, as its 2019 Griffith Scholar.

The Griffith Scholars program is funded by Mercer trustee, alumnus and Macon businessman Benjamin W. “Benjy” Griffith III and the Griffith Family Foundation. The scholarship enables gifted graduates of Bibb County high schools with demonstrated financial need to obtain the premier education available at Mercer.

Mercer, the daughter of Jesse and Clarissa Mercer, will attend the University this fall with plans to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in the School of Business and Economics.

She is the founder and CEO of a custom T-shirt company, Unorthodox Spot, through which she designs, prints and sells shirts to her classmates and community members. As a high school student, she participated in the Macon Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, and she looks forward to furthering her entrepreneurial goals through work with the Mercer Innovation Center.

While maintaining a grade-point average above 4.0 in Howard’s most rigorous courses, Mercer has participated in numerous extracurricular and volunteer activities.

She has served as editor-in-chief of the high school’s yearbook, an active member of her school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America and a volunteer with Mercy and Truth Outreach Ministry.

In 2017, she joined the Gifted Harmony, a choir for adults with special needs. She meets regularly with the choir and helps participants learn music and prepare for concerts throughout the community.

“Aaryanna has an entrepreneurial spirit with a servant’s heart. She is intelligent, driven and desires to serve her community. She exemplifies the values of Mercer University and the Griffith Family Foundation, and we could not be prouder of what she has accomplished thus far,” said Dr. Kelly L. Holloway, assistant vice president for enrollment management at Mercer. “We are grateful to the Griffith Family Foundation for their partnership in recognizing exceptional students in the Macon-Bibb community.”

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-Bibb County. The student must reside in the district and have been enrolled at a school in Macon-Bibb since at least ninth grade, have a minimum high school GPA of 3.25 and have demonstrated need.

Griffith, president of Southern Pine Plantations, and his wife, Teresa, are both 1977 graduates of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts. His father, the late Dr. Benjamin Woodward Griffith Jr. of Macon, was a longtime, revered member of the University’s faculty and a 1944 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts.

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Kyle Sears