The Lettermen's Press The official Newsletter for Lettermen's Club Members

Under the direction of the Mercer Athletic Foundation, the Lettermen's Club is a giving society to promote and preserve the friendships formed through the Mercer Athletics family. The Lettermen's Club is composed of former student-athletes, cheerleaders, managers, trainers and coaches. Its purpose is to maintain and strengthen the lifelong bonds between its members and Mercer Athletics.


Welcome to the second edition of the Lettermen’s Press, the official newsletter for Mercer Lettermen’s Club members. The purpose of the Lettermen’s Club is to maintain and strengthen the lifelong bonds between its members and Mercer Athletics. Since the launch of the Lettermen’s Club in February of 2016, we have reconnected with over 150 former student-athletes and have seen a 50% increase in student–athletes who have made a gift to the Mercer Athletic Foundation. We believe being a student-athlete at Mercer is more than just a four year experience- it is a bond that lasts a lifetime! We hope that this newsletter will allow you to meet other members and keep you up to date on Mercer Athletics, all while reminding you of how special it is to be a Mercer Bear.

Lettermen's Club members being recognized on the field during the Tennessee Tech football game in September.


It truly is a great time to be a Bear! Mercer baseball, men's soccer and women's basketball all won SoCon championships in their respective seasons of competition. Mercer baseball continues to be a powerhouse in the SoCon. The Bears are currently among the national leaders in total wins and have earned a top 25 national ranking. Men's soccer brought the SoCon trophy back to Macon after losing in the semi-finals in 2015. The team won the 2016 SoCon Championship in dramatic fashion by beating ETSU in penalty kicks, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The women's basketball team won the regular season SoCon Championship for the 2nd year in a row while junior Kahlia Lawrence repeated as the SoCon Player of the Year.

That's what we call... #WINNING

Click the pictures to view in full screen format


Fellow Mercerians and Lettermen,

One of the greatest privileges of my life was representing Mercer in athletics. There is something very special about putting on a uniform and being a member of team. We've all learned so much about life and being successful through our time in athletics. And while we all exhausted our eligibility, we continue to be team members with all of our fellow lettermen. Although our contribution now is no longer a game winning RBI, a defended shot on goal, a clutch 3 pointer, a birdie on 18, or a TD catch to win the game, we've taken advantage of our ability as graduates to contribute with our gifts and our participation in Lettermen's Club.

I want to thank all of you for your support over the past year as we've launched this new initiative. It has been a pleasure to see you all again and meet new friends with which I share the bond of Mercer Athletics. But the time has come to rally, as we all have so many times in our sports careers.

Next week, on May 3rd, Mercer will have its Inaugural Day of Giving, Orange and Black Give Back, an online initiative where, for 24 hours, students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends come together to grant opportunities and transform lives. This is a great opportunity to participate with other Bears all over the world and give back to something that has given us so much. Also, this serves as a great chance to renew your Lettermen's Club membership if you haven't already given this year. If you have, please consider another gift, big or small, in solidarity with your fellow Mercerians who will be participating.

I would also challenge you all to reach out to your former teammates that have yet to participate in Lettermen's Club and encourage them to join us. As you know, we can be strong as one, but are stronger together.

I look forward to seeing you all this year and sharing the pride in our participation in Orange and Black Give Back.

Bear Down!

M. Shawn Arnold

BUS '97


Mercer’s inaugural Day of Giving

Orange & Black Give Back is Mercer’s inaugural Day of Giving, an online-based fundraising event that begins on May 3, 2017. For 24 hours, students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends come together to grant opportunities and transform lives. It’s all about participation. You can participate in online challenges that make your gift go even further. Every gift counts — no matter the size — and will help us reach our goal of 500 donors in one day!

Renewing your Lettermen's Club membership during Orange & Black Give Back is the perfect way to help support this new annual campaign while also supporting Mercer Athletics!

Visit the website below by clicking "Orange & Black Give back" for more information and to renew your Lettermen's Club Membership! Please note, gifts regarding renewals should be made to the Athletic Foundation when clicking the drop down menu for your gift designation.

MIKE TANNER gives back to baseball

1990 Mercer graduate Mike Tanner made a major gift to help with the construction of OrthoGeorgia Park.

Mike Tanner has made an impact. Whether he is attending a game, supporting the baseball program, or promoting Mercer in his local community, he is always advocating for the Bears. The naming of the suite at OrthoGeorgia Park and the naming of the baseball lounge are just the tip of the iceberg when measuring Mike’s impact on the baseball program.

“Mike is one of the most generous people I know. He is a leadership donor, an avid fan and a proud alum. He follows the baseball program closely- he knows the stats and the players and comes to as many games as his schedule allows.” – Brian Gerrity, Executive Director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation
Mike Tanner is a generous supporter of the Mercer Athletic Foundation and the baseball program.

When the Mercer Baseball team wins the SoCon Tournament this spring, Mike Tanner will no doubt be making a trip to the NCAA Regional to support his Bears!

Student-Athlete Spotlight: Emma Peel

From Mercer Volleyball to the Peace Corps

Emma and her younger sister, Sophie, are one of the top double teams in Beach Volleyball.

Emma Peel was the first ever beach volleyball player to commit to Mercer. Coming from Portland, Oregon Emma and her younger sister Sophie, a rising senior at Mercer, were the first two beach volleyball players from Oregon to commit to a Division I program. Emma is proud to be a trailblazer saying, “It feels good to be the one who started the beach volleyball movement and to coach all the girls over the summer at home that are following in our footsteps.” Emma has enjoyed success on and off the sand. During her sophomore year, Emma and her partner at the time, Tori Penrod, won the South Carolina Gamecock Challenge. This year, Emma and her sister Sophie beat Georgia State, ranked nationally in the top 10. Following her freshman season she was selected to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team. During her time at Mercer, Emma has played in over 25 matches as the number one seed. She has also been a member of the Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference team since her freshman year. Emma has maintained a 4.0 GPA in both of her majors, Spanish and Global Health, with a cumulative 3.7 GPA. Additionally, she was inducted this year into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society for the top 10% of liberal arts students. Emma was also inducted into Phi Sigma Iota, the foreign language academic fraternity and holds a position on the executive board for the National Society for Leadership and Success.

Mercer placed a conference-best four beach volleyball student-athletes on the ASUN All-Academic Team, including senior Emma Peel.

On top of her athletic and academic success, Emma finds times to volunteer in Macon. She enjoys volunteering at Hartley Elementary School, teaching third grade students how to read for three hours a week. She also volunteers for a crisis text line six hours a week where she talks with callers dealing with difficulties in life.

Upon graduation, Emma will be spending two years in the Peace Corps. She will find out later this spring her assigned country. Her top pick? Ecuador to teach English as a foreign language.

Emma is no stranger to the Peace Corps. Both of her parents were involved with the organization, where they met in 1983. "I've wanted to go into the Peace Corps since I was a freshman in high school. It has been a distant dream of mine for a long time.”

Emma's parents met in Guatemala where they were stationed for over four years. Emma has had the opportunity to visit Potrero Carrillo, the village where her parents served. Seeing the bonds her parents still have with the individuals in that village also played a role in her wanting to join the Peace Corps.

Peel's parents met in Guatemala during the late 80's while serving with the Peace Corps.

Emma's path to the Peace Corps became clear upon arriving at Mercer and joining the Global Health program. Both programs share many of the same guiding principles. Her second major, Spanish, also is an asset when traveling internationally. Her goal has always been to travel and serve people, and the Peace Corps is allowing that dream to come true.

Emma traveled to Honduras as part of a Mercer on Mission trip during the summer of 2015 with other Global Health majors.

While Emma is serving in the Peace Corps she will also be expected to have a side project to pursue while she isn’t teaching. This project must benefit the community. Emma has determined her side project will be teaching yoga as an after school program. She believes yoga will be a great outlet for the students as well as improving their health. Emma will be obtaining her teacher license this summer prior to departing for the Peace Corps. She will be getting her teacher certification this summer during a three month program. Once Emma has completed her time with the Peace Corps, she would like to continue to pursue teaching yoga.

Emma practicing her "tree pose" on Bear Beach (left) and practicing her forearm headstand with her younger sister Sophie (right).
Emma is absolutely the quintessential role model for combining the effort, sacrifice, and willpower it takes to participate in a varsity sport and engaging in every avenue available for a student to grow into an amazing woman and contribute to the global society. Her four years here can be tracked with a rise in every important measure of success for Mercer Volleyball and that is, in large part, to her unceasing willingness to make all the girls around her great. I would hope that every little girl Emma coaches, and every person she interacts with during her time in the Peace Corp and beyond, take away even a fraction of what she has given me and this program. I am better for having been around Emma and the Peel family. - Damian Elder, Volleyball Head Coach

While Emma’s time at Mercer is coming to and end, she is well on her way to changing the world one classroom and yoga pose at a time.


From Cheerleader to Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Sport: Cheerleading

Graduation year: 2002

Major: Studio Art

Hometown: Fayetteville, GA

Where you currently live: Atlanta, GA (Buckhead neighborhood)

Profession: Selection and Recruitment Manager for the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

How did being a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?

Time management and multitasking were some of my biggest takeaways from being a student-athlete, because I was also very active in Greek Life and the Great Books program at Mercer on top of working a part-time job. I needed to juggle a lot of hats to get my work done. The combination of learning to schedule classes, time in the library, sleep, and practice were important. I had a lot of late nights while at Mercer, but the support from all of my professors paved a path that has allowed me to be successful today. I credit the opportunities at Mercer allowing me to be more than a one-dimensional student with my success professionally. During my career in higher education I have felt less stressed when multiple major projects have come across my plate. I was able to work full-time and complete a master’s degree without feeling too overwhelmed or missing out on having a real life. Mercer and Mercer Athletics have always been special to me. During my time working at Mercer I rarely missed a sporting event from volleyball to baseball or basketball to golf. I often was able to see the Bears play while I traveled recruiting for Mercer.

What is your favorite memory as a Bear?

It is difficult to narrow down to just one, so I will offer one from each of my Mercer experiences. While an undergrad I will never forget cheering in the tiny old Porter Gym and my first memory is Midnight Madness. Students were flowing out the doors and I was so excited to show my school spirit in front of the entire school community. The only pictures I have from my time cheering are from my first Midnight Madness (this was before digital cameras). The second is while I worked at Mercer, I was driving south on I-75 heading to Miami, FL when I was just north of Gainesville, Florida. I was flipping through the radio stations and picked up the University of Florida radio and they were broadcasting the Mercer v. UF baseball game. UF was ranked #1 in the nation at the time and I was able to pull off the interstate and watch the last few innings of Mercer beating Florida on a chilly night. And my final favorite memory came when Mercer were able to beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament. I was the only Mercer fan at Hudson Grill in Brookhaven, GA, Mercer was up 10 or so points with a minute to play and I was going crazy. The Duke fans there did not even know where Mercer was much less think they would lose. It was one of my proudest moments as an alum to see my alma mater on the national stage.

Why do you think it is important to give back to Mercer?

Mercer has given me so much in my life. During my time in college Mercer was a place where everyone knew each other, every group hung out with each other and there was a great deal of collaboration between faculty and students. My first professional job was at Mercer and has allowed me to easily develop my professional network. I do not think my Mercer experience was unique to me, most of my classmates and friends who are Mercer graduates had similar experience, what I find is that my friends who attended other schools did not have the same high level experiences as I did. As Mercer has grown and has a greater reach, I give back because I want other Mercer student-athletes to have the same experiences I had. The transformation of the athletic facilities from my time at Mercer to today ensures the next generation of student-athletes to have an even better experience. When I look back over my life and my experiences, Mercer University is at the heart of nearly every major memory - and I want those memories to live on for a long time.

2017 Toby Awards

An orange carpet with the Mercer logo greeted individuals at the Macon City Auditorium upon arrival.

Mercer University Athletics recently hosted its newly created student-athlete banquet, The Tobys. This event allows the athletic department to come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the student-athletes, coaches, and administration. The event is funded through the money raised during the Donor Drive Challenge by the Athletic Foundation. A highlight video is below, followed by those who won awards.

Newcomer of the Year: Male: Ria’n Holland, men’s basketball; Female: Katia Stavroulaki, women’s tennis

Mercer Moment: Jenny Mazurkiewicz’s (dance team) failed dunk goes viral on Twitter.

Weirdest Pre-Game Ritual: Matt Meeder, baseball. Carter Varga gives him a yellow Starburst before every game and whenever he feels like the team needs a little extra boost he rubs the Starburst for good luck.

Best Upset: Male: Baseball sweeping #8 ranked East Carolina; Female: Women’s basketball beating top ranked opponent Illinois

Support Staff of the Year: Carl Miller, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Best Shoe Game: Ria’n Holland, men’s basketball

Ria'n Holand did not disappoint with the shoes he chose to wear to The Tobys.

Play of the Year: Marin Hanna, women’s golf. Cards TWO hole-in-1s in a single year of competition.

Comeback Player of the Year: Male: Jeremy Booth, men’s soccer. Jeremy had knee surgery a month before season and only missed one game. Earned SoCon honors at the SoCon Tournament. Female: Alex Williams, women’s basketball. Alex broke bones in her foot and came back as one of the top scorers for the team.

Best Dancer: Alex Hanson, baseball

Best Season: Male: Baseball with back-to-back SoCon titles. Female: Women’s basketball with back-to-back SoCon titles.

Best Game Face: Jordan Strawberry, men’s basketball

Presidential Scholar Award: Men’s golf, 3.72 cumulative GPA

Men's golf pictured with Mercer President Bill Underwood.

Coach of the Year: Craig Gibson, baseball

Player of the Year: Male: Charlie Madden, baseball, Female: Maddie Clark, women’s soccer

Student-athlete dance off (left) photo booth fun (middle) and award winners of the night (right)

Mercer Football Announces 2017 Schedule

“I am excited about the 2017 schedule and the steps that our program will be taking with this challenging slate. We have the opportunity to take on two SEC programs and will also host five games at Five Star Stadium in front of an incredible fan base that is one of the best in the FCS.” -Mercer Head Football Coach Bobby Lamb


If you have a Facebook account, be sure to join the Mercer Lettermen’s Club group. All you have to do is search “Mercer Lettermen’s Club” and request to join! Make sure you are searching under “Groups.” In the Facebook group you can expect to read about our #MemberMonday spotlight where we feature a Lettermen’s Club member and highlight their athletic and professional success. We do our best to post their career statistics along with a picture. Members are welcome to post content. This Facebook group is a great way to connect with old teammates and friends! Have a question about the Facebook group or need help connecting with us on Facebook? Feel free to reach out to Allie Ware, Assistant Director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation. She can be reached at or at 478-301-4017.

Updates Around Campus

OrthoGeorgia Park: COMPLETE

Take an aerial tour:

Spearman C. Godsey Science Center

The four-story building, which is projected to be completed in December 2017, will include 32 faculty-student research labs, 28 teaching labs, as well as classrooms and offices.

questions? comments?

Contact the Mercer Athletic Foundation at or at 478-301-4017

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