Judge Drake named Mercer lifetime trustee

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W. Homer Drake Jr.    

The Honorable W. Homer Drake Jr. has been named a lifetime member of the Mercer University Board of Trustees.

Drake, a native of Colquitt who has lived most of his life in Newnan, is only the 11th person to receive the honor since Mercer was founded in 1833. He was elected a lifetime trustee at the governing body's annual meeting in Macon on Nov. 22.

Mercer’s main campus is in Macon. The university also offers classes in Newnan at Central Educational Center.

Drake is a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge with offices in Newnan.

To be named a lifetime trustee at Mercer, an individual must have served at least two terms as a trustee and be at least 70 years of age. The honor also is reserved for trustees who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the work of the university over an extended period of time.

Drake graduated from Mercer's College of Liberal Arts in 1954 and from its Walter F. George School of Law in 1956. He went on to become one of the nation's leaders in the law of bankruptcy. Drake is a past president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a former member of the Judicial Conference's Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System. He founded the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, which recognized his enormous contributions to bankruptcy law by establishing the Walter Homer Drake Professorship of Bankruptcy Law at Mercer's law school.

On Nov. 22, he completed his third full, five-year term on the Mercer board, having joined it for the first time in 1996. In nominating Drake for election as a life trustee, Mercer President William D. Underwood praised his years of service to the institution. "Along with his wonderful wife, Ruth, herself a Mercer graduate, Judge Drake has made many lasting contributions to the University. It is entirely fitting that he join the distinguished ranks of Mercer life trustees," Underwood said.

The Drake family’s commitment to Mercer is a strong one. In November 2012, the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House was dedicated as part of homecoming festivities at Mercer. The Drake Field House is the cornerstone of the Mercer’s Moye Football and Lacrosse Complex and includes football and lacrosse coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, a student lounge, locker rooms, a weight room and a training room.

There also includes a sports medicine clinic operated by the Mercer School of Medicine.

In 2010, Homer and Ruth Drake took part in ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Central Educational Center to mark the beginnings of a Mercer satellite campus in Coweta County. "I will always treasure this moment, as we begin this venture together," Homer Drake said.

He said Newnan has been known as a place where people want "high quality education" and are looking for opportunities to expand educational opportunities for area residents. "Mercer University will offer additional educational opportunities for our citizens," Drake said.

At those ceremonies, Underwood described Drake as “the strongest advocate I've ever met” for a Mercer presence in Newnan.



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