Pomp, circumstance and rock and roll are in store this weekend for graduates of historically Baptist Mercer University in Macon, Ga., set to hear an address by former President Jimmy Carter and a performance by musician Gregg Allman, who will receive an honorary degree.
Carter, the 39th president of the United States and a Mercer trustee, is scheduled to address 602 graduates at a commencement ceremony beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Arena in the University Center in Macon. Tickets are required for admission, but the university website provides a link to the live webcast.
The university will confer honorary degrees on State Rep. Larry J. (Butch) Parrish and Allman, a founder of the Allman Brothers Band and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Allman, who is currently working on a new studio album, is expected to perform during the ceremony.
Allman, 68, lived in Macon while the band produced hits across the nation, many of them recorded at Capricorn Records, the recording label for many Southern rock bands popular in the 1970s founded by Mercer alumnus Phil Walden.
Allman’s brother, Duane, a legendary guitarist despite a brief career, died in Macon in a motorcycle wreck at age 24 and is buried in the city’s Rose Hill Cemetery alongside Berry Oakley, the band’s original bassist killed in a separate motorcycle wreck also in Macon.
The Allman Brothers Band campaigned for Carter when he ran for president in 1976, and an inside joke among the music industry that year was that Gregg Allman was in line to head up the Food and Drug Administration.