Service Scholars

Who are Mercer Service Scholars?

Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by conviction, ignited by purpose.

Myles Munroe


Mercer Service ScholarsUpon the belief that gifted, motivated college students bring vision, energy, intellect, and hope to our local and global communities, the Mercer Service Scholars (MSS) program was founded in 2009. We believe that students are transformed by working in a program whose focus on the common good gives them a sense of purpose and meaning.


Each year, a few select entering students are invited to become Mercer Service Scholars. They are selected because each has demonstrated a commitment to service and leadership as well as outstanding academic performance.

MSS is a dynamic program that engages diverse students in substantive service in both the local community and internationally. Mercer Service Scholars are leaders on our campus and are developed to become leaders in their careers and life-long contributors to their communities.

While at Mercer, Service Scholars take selected classes together, form bonds with one another, and learn how to become change agents in the world. In addition to participating in unique service-learning and leadership course work, Service Scholars are singled out for special attention and programs with leadership professionals and community leaders. The University also provides the funds to send Service Scholars who have met eligibility requirements on a Mercer on Mission service-learning program abroad, tuition free.

Those who complete the four-year program will graduate with an exceptional portfolio of skills, experiences, insights, and responsibilities that will distinguish them among their peers. They are well prepared for success in professional or graduate school as well as competitive for prestigious national fellowships and scholarships. Their hands-on achievements as problem-solvers, team leaders, and innovators will be backed with a deep understanding of the social and political challenges that face us at home and globally. Service Scholars will step forth as Mercer graduates who are prepared to act and lead, as well as to think and to know.


MSS is a trans-disciplinary program that uses extensive community service to enhance traditional classroom learning in any traditional academic discipline (e.g. engineering, business, education, music, the sciences, or the humanities). 

Students serve and learn by working in cohorts made up of fellow service scholars, staff and faculty members, human service professionals, community and national leaders, field supervisors and community partners. In addition to their academic training, MSS cohorts receive leadership training while working on projects in the neighborhood or abroad. Students become, in effect, part of a service-learning community designed to strengthen human communities, meet individual and social needs, promote intercultural literacy, and enhance their development as leaders, citizens and neighbors.
Once accepted, Mercer Service Scholars commit to a series of expectations:

  • Participate in regular leadership training (approximately 10 hours per semester) and an annual Leadership Retreat.
  • Take classes each year as part of a cohort. (Most classes count toward general education requirements.)
  • Participate in a Mercer on Mission project abroad or alternate service-learning project locally (usually between the sophomore and junior year).
  • Participate in service projects each semester.
  • Create and implement a culminating individual or team community-based project (locally or abroad) during the junior and senior years.

Students should maintain at least a 3.5 GPA for the entirety of their undergraduate career. All students are reviewed in January of their sophomore year to insure that their academic and general collegiate performance is in keeping with the expectations of the program. Students found deficient may not be eligible for the Mercer Service Scholars Mercer on Mission program. Students must complete the junior/senior community-based project in order to graduate as a Mercer Service Scholar and receive recognition upon graduation.

Becoming a Mercer Service Scholar

The Mercer Service Scholars is a highly-selective program for exceptional undergraduate students with a passion for service and a talent for leadership. The program selects 12 to 18 highly motivated incoming freshmen. MSS is a four-year program that focuses these selected students on making a difference on campus, in the Macon community, and in the world.

Students receive information through the Office of University Admissions. Selected finalists will be interviewed before being offered admission to the MSS program.

Faculty and Staff Contacts

Mary Alice Morgan
Senior Vice-Provost for Service-Learning
(478) 301-5422

Chris Grant, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science Director, Mercer Service Scholars
( 478) 301-5519