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Mercer University Presidents

Spright Dowell (1928-1953, acting 1959-1960)

  • Assumed the presidency just prioundefinedr to the Great Depression 
  • Established sound fiscal practices, borne from his own personal frugality.  Replaced the deficit with a fund balance of more than $200,000
  • Modified the university structure from seven schools to a liberal arts college and a law school, an organization more compatible with the university's resources 
  • Added the Southern School of Pharmacy located in Atlanta
  • Before financial aid for students was established, maintained a personal loan fund that enabled countless students to remain in college
  • Dropped intercollegiate football in 1946, requiring a strict non-subsidized intercollegiate athletic program
  • Wrote the only published history of the University, covering the period from 1833-1953
  • Built Mary Erin Porter Hall, the first dormitory for female students
  • Quick bio: (1878-1963); A.B., A.M., LL.D.; spouse: Camille Early (1898)


Dowell was described:

"Though small of stature, Dowell tackled difficult problems with such resoluteness and fearlessness that he loomed large as a leader of indomitable will and strength. Strength and firmness, however, were balanced by human warmth."

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