For Gaye Nann Carter and Myra Cameron, Mercer University is a way of life.
As Senior Assistant Bursar, Carter makes it her mission to ensure that all students receive the best service possible, even if that means battling Atlanta traffic to make sure students at Mercer's centers receive the same quality one-on-one service students on campus receive.
And as Athletics Eligibility Coordinator/Administrator, Cameron spends much of her time during "off hours" cheering on student athletes at events as far away as Orlando, Fla.
Carter and Cameron show commitment to the University that can't be measured with a time clock. And in April, in recognition of their dedication, compassion and high-level of service, Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey presented Carter and Cameron with one of the highest awards conferred on University employees—the Mercer Spirit Award. The award is presented to one employee at the Atlanta campus and one employee at the Macon campus. Along with the award, Carter and Cameron were each given a $1,000 check from the University as a token of appreciation.
Gaye Nann Carter
Carter has worked on Mercer's Atlanta Campus since 1994. In the Bursar's Office, her job is to handle student tuition accounts.
"It's not exactly a glamorous job, but it's one that needs to be done," she said with a laugh.
The Mercer employee enjoys the one-on-one interaction her job allows her to have with students, staff and faculty. And she makes it a priority to give Mercer students "service with a smile."
"Our students deserve the best service we can give," she said, adding it's easy to keep a smile on her face around her co-workers. "We've got a good group of people in this office."
Mercer Bursar Tanya Barton describes Carter as a "loyal employee who always does her job with Mercer's best interest at heart."
Barton said Carter has quite literally gone that extra mile to help Mercer students. For example, prior to the completion of the new Georgia Baptist College of Nursing Building on the Atlanta campus, Carter regularly drove back and forth between her office on Mercer's Atlanta campus and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing's downtown location. Carter has also voluntarily assisted with registration and fee payment at Mercer's Douglasville Center to help her Macon colleagues reduce their travel time.
Carter's attitude can't be beat, according to Barton.
"She has brought a professional, yet friendly image to the Bursar's Office," Barton said of Carter. "Those who know Gaye Nann have come to respect her quiet, yet firm way of dealing with difficult situations. Her friendly smile and soft voice have become synonymous with the Atlanta Bursar's Office."
Carter said her work ethic is simple. "When I have a job to do, I really do try to do the best I can, and I try to help people however I can. I just try to do the right thing."
Cameron has worked on Mercer's Macon campus since 1997. She has served as eligibility coordinator for the Athletics Department since 2000. Her job is to make sure incoming and current student athletes are in compliance with NCAA regulations for competition. She also coordinates the two major fundraisers each year for the Athletic Department and serves as the liaison between the Athletics Department and Atlantic Sun Conference officials.
But according to Mercer Director of Athletics Bobby Pope, Cameron's contributions to the Mercer community can't be summarized in a concise job description.
"She's my right-arm man. She does an excellent job at keeping up with all of the NCAA regulations and she keeps me organized," he said.
But perhaps most important, she acts as a "mother figure" to student athletes, Pope said. "Some of these student athletes may not feel comfortable coming to coaches with their problems, but they go to her. She's such a compassionate individual."
Sitting on the bleachers in Porter Gym, Cameron smiled at the idea of being a "mother figure." She said she's been known to take on "motherly" chores, like removing patches from the students' uniforms for them and giving relationship advice to students.
"They'll say to me, 'I would ask my mom, but I'll just ask you,'" she said. "Sometimes I feel like I have about 200 children."
Cameron said the interaction with the students is what she enjoys most about her job. "I like being a part of their growth as athletes and students. They're all just super kids."
Cameron attends as many Mercer sports events as she can, partly because she's a big sports fan, but mostly for the students.
"I think it's important for the students to know I really care about them," she said. "I want them to know I'm not just here to draw a paycheck."