Former USM President Fleming Returning To Georgia

Former University of Southern Mississippi president Horace Fleming is returning to Mercer University in Macon, Ga., as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Fleming begins his new job in July.

He served five years at Mercer, a Baptist-affiliated institution, as executive vice president and provost before coming to USM in 2001. Since resigning as USM president last July, Fleming has been an educational consultant based in Washington, D.C.

"I feel real comfortable about this,'' he said. "I had other options, but I'm going to do what makes me feel good and motivated personally. This makes me feel good.''

Fleming resigned as USM president when the state College Board voted 11-1 to offer him a one-year contract renewal rather than the standard four-year contract. The board then hired him as a consultant for $150,000 through June 30.

As a consultant, Fleming worked on USM's fund-raising campaign and worked on federal grants for Mississippi universities, said College Board spokeswoman Pam Smith said.

At Mercer, Fleming will oversee all academic and administration programs as well as coordinate planning, program development and budget development. He will also assist President R. Kirby Godsey with executive responsibilities.

"We had a wonderful five years at Mercer before we went to Southern Miss,'' Fleming said. "This relationship goes back now 10 years or more. I know all the board members and the administration. President Godsey and I have been close for many years.''

Mercer has more than 7,300 students and 400 faculty members on campuses in Macon and Atlanta and four other centers.