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Griffith Endows Scholarship Program For Bibb County Students

July 21, 2011

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

MACON — Wahaj Khan, a 2011 graduate of Macon’s Central High School, has been named the first recipient of a new endowed scholarship created at Mercer University and funded by former Mercer trustee, alumnus and Macon businessman Benjamin W. (Benjy) Griffith III. Griffith has pledged $2.5 million to endow the Griffith Scholars program.  This program will enable academically gifted graduates from Bibb County high schools with demonstrated financial need to obtain the premier education available at Mercer.

Each scholarship dollar awarded from this fund will be matched by the University.  Given the match by the University, the ultimate effect of this partnership between Griffith and the University will be equivalent to a $5 million endowed scholarship fund. This fund will enable scores of future students from Bibb County to obtain a Mercer education.

“The University is deeply grateful to Mr. Griffith for establishing this endowment that will ensure that many talented graduates of our local high schools have access to a Mercer education,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood.  “We are grateful for Benjy’s investment in the future of our community’s greatest resource – its young people.”

While at Central, Khan carried a 3.72 grade point average and was recognized for his leadership abilities, character and commitment to service. His extracurricular activities include Key Club, Model UN, National Beta Club, Spanish Club, varsity soccer and math team.

“We are looking forward to having Wahaj at Mercer,” said Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management. “He embodies many of the qualities we look for in students at the University and will no doubt benefit from the kind of educational opportunities we offer at Mercer.”

Griffith, president of Southern Pine Plantations, is a 1977 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts. His father, Benjamin Griffith II, was a longtime, revered member of the University’s faculty.

“I am certain that Griffith Scholars will go on to become leaders who enrich our community,” Griffith said.

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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