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President Underwood Announces Appointment of Dalton and Elkins
to New Senior Administrative Positions

May 24, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or

Mercer University President William D. Underwood today announced the appointment of Dr. Brian Dalton to the position of senior vice president for strategic planning and Dr. Penny Elkins to the position of senior vice president for enrollment management. The appointments are effective June 1.

After serving for the last three years as Mercer’s chief enrollment management officer, Dr. Dalton will assume responsibility for the University’s strategic planning initiatives.

“Brian’s background and experience in higher education – in particular program development – makes him well-suited for this new responsibility,” President Underwood said. “Strategic planning is essential to any university, but all the more so at our institution, which offers diverse undergraduate, graduate and professional programs at campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah, as well as at four regional academic centers. I will rely on Brian’s counsel as Mercer continues to look for new opportunities to serve the higher education needs of Georgia.”

Dr. Elkins, who in her current role as senior vice provost for strategic academic initiatives oversees enrollment for the University’s working adult programs, will take on additional responsibilities for Mercer’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Office of Student Financial Planning.

“Over the past decade Penny has progressively assumed more administrative responsibilities at Mercer,” President Underwood said. “She is a highly effective leader and communicator, knows the University and its constituents well, and is highly regarded by her colleagues within Mercer and in higher education circles. I have great confidence in her ability to lead enrollment management at the University.”

Dr. Elkins has 20 years of experience in curriculum design and development, educational leadership, program planning, teaching and program evaluation. Over the last 12 years at Mercer, she has served as associate dean and as department chair for both teacher education and educational leadership in the Tift College of Education, and was appointed to the Fred L. Miles Endowed Chair of Educational Leadership in 2007. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Christianity and early childhood education and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Mercer, as well as an education specialist degree in education, administration and supervision from Georgia College and State University. Her Ph.D. is in educational leadership from Georgia State University. She currently serves as one of two education faculty representatives on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the organization that oversees all educator certification for the state, as well as the approval of all professional education programs in Georgia.

Dr. Dalton was appointed as Mercer’s senior vice president for enrollment management on July 1, 2008. Prior to coming to Mercer, Dr. Dalton served for 10 years as vice president for enrollment management and associate academic dean for program development at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. Dr. Dalton also has served as dean of enrollment at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, and worked in admissions at his alma mater, Gannon University, in Erie, Pa. He earned an M.A. from Gannon and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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