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Mercer University Presidents

Gustavus Alonzo Nunnally (1889-1893)

  • nunnallyAdvocated for Mercer by speaking extensively in churches, court houses, and the state legislature
  • Raised funds to erect new buildings, doubling the capacity of the University
  • Oversaw construction of a chapel building (now Willingham), which contained six large recitation-rooms, six offices, a chapel with 800 seats, and a library for 20,000 books
  • Increased the University's endowment, partnering with John D. Rockefeller and Georgia Baptists to raise $50,000
  • Oversaw the establishment of student organizations, including the athletic and glee clubs, and the Mephistophelean, a student newspaper
  • Quick bio: (1841-1917); A.B., D.D.; clergyman; spouses: Mary Catherine Briscoe (1859) and Alla Holmes Cheney (early 1900s)


Macon Telegraph article, December 6, 1891:

"Mercer's young athletic club is rapidly progressing. A football team has been chosen to represent the college and with the permission of the faculty they hope to meet the team of the university in Athens sometime during the month of January [1892]."

Robert E. Wilder's Gridiron Glory Days: Football at Mercer 1892-1942:

"Regular practice sessions were held and plans were made to outfit the team. The uniforms consisted of white canvas jackets, white cannon knee pants, black stockings, and caps of orange and black, Mercer's school colors."

"Since the game was to be played in Athens, most of the students, faculty, and many local citizens took the train for Athens. The fans who attended this game would actually witness the first college football game in Georgia, and one of the first in the deep South."

"The Mercer men drew praises for their hard fought battle, but they were no match for the 'varsities' as the game ended 50-0."

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