MACON – Mercer University President R. Kirby Godsey announced May 22 the appointment of Dr. Horace W. Fleming Jr. as executive vice president, effective July 1.
Reporting directly to the president, Fleming will serve as the senior officer of the University and as the University's chief operating officer. He will oversee all academic and administration programs of the University as well as coordinate all the University's planning, program development and budget development processes. He will also assist the president with the University's executive responsibilities.
Fleming is currently an educational consultant based in Washington, D.C., and works with universities throughout the country. He served as president of the University of Southern Mississippi from 1997 to 2001, after serving Mercer for five years as executive vice president and provost.
"After conducting a national search, the Trustees and the administration agreed that Dr. Fleming is both an outstanding leader and extraordinary educator," said President Godsey. "The University was well-served during his first tenure of service and will again greatly benefit from his vision and leadership."
While he served as the institution's president, the University of Southern Mississippi's enrollment increased 13 percent, growing to 15,059 students. Freshman enrollment jumped by 15 percent with the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate increasing by 20 percent. He managed a university budget of $240 million and initiated the first, comprehensive University fund-raising campaign, raising $75 million of the $100 million goal two years ahead of schedule. He led the university to implement four new doctoral degree programs, seven new master's degree programs and eight new undergraduate degree programs while completing a university-wide comprehensive technology reorganization and upgrade, including wireless capabilities for all campuses and sites at half of the initially-projected cost.
He also led a $150 million building program, which was funded and 50 percent complete as of last fall. He also initiated a reorganization of tutorial and counseling services for student athletes, which resulted in increased grade-point averages and improved graduation rate of student athletes "on-time" to second overall among Conference USA institutions. The university also completed construction of a new athletic center, women's softball stadium, field house for baseball and stadiums for soccer and tennis, during his tenure.
"I am grateful for the confidence President Godsey and the Board of Trustees have shown in me by this appointment, and I look forward to returning to Mercer to work with friends and colleagues there," Fleming said. "After five years away, I am in awe of what the University has accomplished in this brief period of time – new academic programs, great success in fund-raising efforts and impressive new facilities. It is a great time to be associated with Mercer University."
While serving as executive vice president and provost at Mercer, he was responsible for overseeing the University's annual budget process and played key roles in the establishment of the Tift College of Education and the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.
Prior to coming to Mercer in 1992, Fleming was executive vice president of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., from 1990 to 1992.
Fleming began his teaching career in 1971 as a member of the faculty at Clemson University. During his 19-year tenure at Clemson, he served as president of the faculty senate, and was chosen Alumni Master Teacher in 1979 by the Clemson student body. He was also the founding director of the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
Fleming took leave from Clemson from 1980 to 1982 to serve as chief economist for the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate. He also was staff director of the Office of President Pro Tem of the Senate, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
A native of Elbert County, Georgia, Dr. Fleming earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Georgia. He received his doctorate in political science from Vanderbilt University. A highly decorated veteran of the United States Army, he served as a captain from 1969 to 1971 in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star and Regimental Cross of Gallantry.
Fleming and his wife, Steve, now live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have two children – Susan, a practicing accountant, and Patrick, a college student.
Founded in 1833 in Penfield, Ga., Mercer is the only independent university of its size in the country to offer programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, pharmacy, law, theology and nursing. With more than 7,300 students and 400 faculty members on campuses in Macon and Atlanta and off-campus centers in Covington, Douglas County, Eastman and Griffin, Mercer is one of the largest Baptist-affiliated institutions in the world. Led by President R. Kirby Godsey, Mercer has been ranked among the leading colleges and universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report for 12 consecutive years.
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