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Mercer Recognizes Valdosta Resident with Two Awards

May 30, 2007

Media Contact:
Judy Lunsford
(678) 547-6425

MACON - Stacey I. Harwell of Valdosta, Ga., took home two top honors when she graduated from Mercer University this month. She is the 2007 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award.

She is the daughter of Lance and Kim Harwell and the sister of Kelli Harwell of Valdosta and the granddaughter of John and Leona Graham and Mark and Irene Harwell, all of Hendersonville, N.C.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award is presented to the graduating student who best exemplifies excellence in character, leadership, service to the community and commitment to spiritual values. The DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award, which included a check for $5,000, is given annually to a student who has been accepted into an accredited graduate program and has demonstrated the abilities to motivate and inspire the confidence and trust of others, while possessing vision, intelligence and integrity.

The Presidential Scholar earned the bachelor of arts degree, with majors in journalism and Christianity and a minor in photography, summa cum laude from the College of Liberal Arts of Mercer University. She completed the College’s rigorous Great Books program and Honors program while maintaining a near-perfect grade-point average. She received the Sherwood Outstanding Senior Award from the Department of Christianity.

Honored for her exceptional leadership, scholarship and service, Ms. Harwell excelled in all dimensions what it meant to be a student. She was a campus leader in many ways and locales, from informal social situations to formal roles in organizations. Many of her activities also reflected her commitment to spiritual values.

On campus, Ms. Harwell held leadership roles with The Cluster, the student newspaper, and MERCER99, the student-run campus cable channel. She assisted in organizing BandFest 2005, a fund-raising event for Tsunami Relief, and was the student leader for M.A.K.E. A Difference (Mercer Aiding Katrina Evacuees).

She was also active in community service. She was a team leader for the Wesley Foundation of Macon, the campus ministry of the United Methodist Church, as well as the Wesley Foundation representative for Koinonia, the collective body of the various campus religious ministries. An active participant in Centenary United Methodist Church in Macon, she sang in the choir, volunteered at the Food Bank and served on the Care Core Committee.

Her commitment to academic excellence was recognized by a number of honor societies. She was tapped for membership by Theta Alpha Kappa, the Christianity honor society, of which she served as president; Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshman honor society; Phi Kappa Phi, the national upperclassmen honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.

Several universities offered her scholarships for graduate studies. Next year, she will enter Candler School of Theology of Emory University on full scholarship to begin studies for the master of divinity degree. Upon completion of her degree, she plans to work in social justice ministry.

About the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award:
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award is presented to the graduating student who best exemplifies excellence in character, leadership, service to the community, and commitment to spiritual values. This award was established by The New York Southern Society in 1925, and at Mercer University in 1926, in memory of Mr. Sullivan, a great humanitarian and philanthropist.

About the Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award:
The Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award at Mercer University recognizes the outstanding leadership of a graduating senior from one of the University’s undergraduate schools and colleges who has been accepted into an accredited graduate program. Candidates must have demonstrated the abilities to motivate and inspire the confidence and trust of others, while possessing vision, intelligence, integrity and common sense, and having a good academic record. The selected recipient receives a financial award.

Wallace Odell DuVall (1901-1993) was an Atlanta attorney who spent most of his career in the banking industry. He served as secretary and attorney of the Atlanta Building and Loan Association, which later became Georgia Federal Savings and Loan Association, of which Mr. DuVall became chairman of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Executive Committee. A generous benefactor and longtime friend of Mercer University, he was a founding trustee of Atlanta Baptist College, which merged with Mercer in 1972 and became the University’s Atlanta campus. He served three terms on Mercer’s Board of Trustees, 1972-77, 1978-83 and 1985-90. The Dean’s Suite at Mercer’s Law School is named for him as well as an academic building on the Atlanta Campus, where his portrait hangs.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit