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Carson Wins Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Commencement

May 19, 2008

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON, Ga. – Mercer University presented Peachtree City native Elizabeth B. Carson with one of its highest honors for undergraduate students, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, during commencement on May 10 in Macon.

Carson graduated magna cum laude, with a 3.831 grade point average as a double major in both music and communications. She was a Tift College and Townsend Music scholarship recipient. Carson was selected based on her “high standards and compassionate contributions to the Mercer and Macon communities.”

Music professor Martha Malone nominated Carson for the award, notes that Carson’s “spiritual values manifest themselves not only in community work off-campus volunteering at Rose Hill Cemetery clean-up, Ronald McDonald House and Cannonball House, but also in her positive, loving attitude that she brings into every circumstance in which I have observed her.”  

In addition to her successes in the classroom, Carson was very involved in extracurricular activities and held leadership positions in a number of student organizations, serving as a judicial senior justice on the University Honor Council, vice president of the Reformed University Fellowship, vice president of the Order of Omega Honor Society and as a peer advisor and on student government, where she served as corresponding secretary. She also was a member of Mercer Singers, Mercer Opera, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society.

Carson will continue her service to others after graduation. She has been accepted into the highly competitive Teach for America program, and will begin teaching elementary school for the Houston, Texas, Independent School District this fall.

Teach For America encourages applicants from all backgrounds and educational experiences, not just education majors. The program seeks applicants who have strong academic and leadership backgrounds, and it recruits heavily from the top undergraduate institutions in the nation. In 2007, Teach For America accepted only 21 percent of applicants from a pool or more than 18,000, with an average undergraduate GPA of 3.6 and more than 95 percent having held leadership positions while in college.

“When I was looking for a job after college, I wanted a career where I felt like I could make a difference. I cannot think of a better way to do that than through Teach For America,” Carson said. “Teach For America has already opened my eyes even further to the educational inequality in our country, and I am hoping to aid in the efforts to bridge that gap. Though I am nervous about the challenge ahead, I just keep thinking about my future students and what I can give them.”

Carson, a graduate of McIntosh High School, is the daughter of Phil and Cindy Carson of Peachtree City.

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 a 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 Sullivan, a great humanitarian and philanthropist.

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, Atlanta and Savannah; three 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
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