Mercer Memories: Ken Blair, COPA ’13
Ken Blair is a Mercer Bear through and through. The many hats he wears in his professional and personal life show his commitment to the University and the Macon community. Blair earned his bachelor’s degree at Mercer in 2013, and he is now the academic coordinator for Upward Bound at Mercer.
Here are five things to know about Blair:
1. He’s a first-generation college graduate.
Blair grew up in Warrenton, Georgia, and graduated from Warren County High School. When he went on to Mercer, he became the first in his family to go to college. He said his mother, Mary Lewis, has been a great inspiration to him throughout his life.
Blair graduated from Mercer with a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership and a minor in education in 2013 and started working at Mercer a few months later. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree online in 2016 and is currently working on his doctoral studies online.
2. Mercer changed his life.
“The first day of class of my undergraduate studies, I said to myself, ‘This place will change my life,’” Blair said. “As I would walk to the cafeteria or study in Tarver, I would read the banners across campus that shared ‘At Mercer, everyone majors in changing the world.’ I said to myself that one day I would change the world.”
Blair said his undergraduate tenure at Mercer was amazing, so it was an easy decision to join Mercer’s staff a few months after he graduated. He started out as associate director in the Office of Student Financial Planning, where he served as a financial adviser for Mercer’s Regional Academic Centers and Macon campus as well as for the football team. He then served as educational specialist for the TRIO programs before taking on his current position with Upward Bound three years ago.
3. He strives to live out Mercer’s mission every day.
Upward Bound works to increase the number of students who graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Blair works with students in all six high schools in the Bibb County School District, helping them to prepare for post-secondary education and become financially literate. He has seen many receive top honors and become valedictorian or salutatorian of their graduating classes.
Blair also serves as a UNV 101 instructor and co-adviser for the Minority Mentor Program, Women of Minority Empowering the Neighborhood (W.O.M.E.N.) and the National Pan-Hellenic Council at Mercer.
“I always tell students, not only does Mercer invest in you as a student but they invest in you as a professional. The mission of Mercer has meant so much to me. The feeling that I felt when I graduated, that’s the same feeling when I serve students at Mercer,” he said. “I always encourage my students to ‘Be the Bear.’ It’s more than just the logo here. We literally change the world.”
4. He wants to make a difference in the community.
Blair encourages his students to help take care of their community by getting involved. Outside Mercer, he is involved in a number of organizations and initiatives. He coordinates the college ministry and serves on the worship and arts and men’s ministries for House of Hope Macon; volunteers at Macon Outreach Center, United Way of Central Georgia and Middle Georgia Rescue Mission; and serves as the historian for the Macon-Middle Georgia National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Blair also is a member and vice president-elect of the Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity; a committee member for the Mercer University African American Alumni Association; and an elected member the 2019 Executive Board of the Macon-Bibb Democratic Party. He owns KB Inspired Photography.
5. He’s a leader with big goals.
Blair was named one of Rural Leader Magazine’s 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Rural America in September and made Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages’ list of 2019 Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals in Middle Georgia. He received the 2019 Community Service Award for Warren County and was nominated for Mercer’s 2018-19 Excellence in Advising Award.
“My main goal for getting my degree in organizational leadership was that, no matter what organization I was with, I could be an effective and productive leader,” he said.
Blair’s long-term goal is to earn a doctoral degree in higher education and become dean of a college or president of a small liberal studies college or technical college.