Annual Report

Supporting the Advancement of Education, Research, and Patient
Care at the Medical College of Georgia.

President's Report
Ian S. Mercier

Ian S. Mercier, MBA, MPA
President & CEO

Report of the President & CEO

A New Beginning

It was eight years ago, in 2008, that my wife and I welcomed the news of a child on the way – a girl – and we knew she would change our lives forever. A fetal Doppler turned my hope into a feeling of helplessness as our as yet-to-be-born baby had an irregular heartbeat – a trait that I have as an adult, and one I felt I had unfairly passed on. Yet a visit to a pediatric cardiologist at the Medical College of Georgia very quickly restored our hope as he described the issue as both idiopathic and transient, and that the irregularity had a good prognosis to disappear spontaneously just after delivery, which it did.

Although I find myself listening to her heartbeat frequently still, our eight-year-old daughter is fine in every way. Even a broken arm – surgically repaired here at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia – has not slowed her down, and I can’t help but look back gratefully to those who have cared for us and her, and the profound impact they have made on us.

As an old-timer at this institution but newcomer in the role of President of the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, I have the honor of serving with many leaders in medicine and in health sciences - and I can’t help but to be wide-eyed at the wonder of the accomplishments of this great school. The joy of witnessing your child receive life-changing treatment, watching hearts grow outside of the body from stem cells, or the privilege of watching a student receive an education that is unparalleled in its value – these are gifts to all of us who serve here. But it is through your graciousness and your loyalty that many of these miracles are made possible, and I urge you to experience them for yourself – not necessarily as a patient, but as a part of this great family.

As the MCG Foundation stewards the legacies left in its charge, we implore you to help us build new ones. Our students, our children, our parents, our state, and our country need you and your support through the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University.

Ian S. Mercier, MBA, MPA
President & CEO

Chairman's Statement

Chairman's Statement

Fellow Alumni and Friends:

2018 has been an exciting year for the Medical College of Georgia Foundation! We are so glad that each of you has been on this journey with us and I appreciate every one of you for your support of this institution that holds so much of our past, present and future.

This university also meant a lot to Dr Harold Harrison and the generosity of his family back in 2012 continues to have an impact on MCG. This year, five Harrison scholars received their diplomas and continued their journey to become physicians. We are so proud of each of them for their commitment and know they will achieve great success in their careers.

In June, the MCG Foundation moved into our new space on St Sebastian Way in the old Sutherland Mill textile building. RW Allen Construction completed the 6,000 square foot space that features natural lighting in the offices and conference rooms including a spacious board room with state-of-the-art technology. Every effort was made to maintain the natural features of this building.

We continue to make strides on the 15th Street development project. We have engaged Daniel Communities and have been working with Doug Neil to develop plans and strategies regarding the 15th street development. Our plans for a mixed-use development will both enrich our students’ educational experience and provide meaningful change to surrounding neighborhoods.

This year, we also welcomed Paceline, a 2-day event that will welcome bike riders from all over the country to participate in a fundraiser for the Georgia Cancer Center. Paceline is based on the successful Pelotonia race in Ohio that has been successful in raising money for the Cancer Research Center at Ohio State. Paceline Weekend will be held in Augusta May 10-11, 2019.

Finally, it has been my personal pleasure to serve the Foundation in a new era of cooperation and growth. Without your support and care none of these things would be possible. It is my hope and belief that the Medical College of Georgia will always have a premier place in our university. With your help we will.

J. Ben Deal, DMD
MCG School of Dentistry Class of 1974
MCG Foundation
Chairman of the Board

Executive Committee

J. Ben Deal, DMD, Chair
Paul G. Turk, MD, Vice-Chair
Sandra N. Freedman, MD
Ellen S. Goodrich, BSN, MN
J. Daniel Hanks Jr., MD**
Brooks A. Keel, PhD***
Christopher J. Mann, MD
Sam Richwine Jr., MD
Lloyd B. Schnuck Jr., MD

Finance Committee*

Ellen S. Goodrich, BSN, MN, Chair
Charles G. Green Jr., MD
J. Daniel Hanks Jr., MD**
Christopher J. Mann, MD
Tat Thompson
Paul G. Turk, MD

Investment Committee*

Paul G. Turk, MD, Chair
Ellen S. Goodrich, BSN, MN
J. Daniel Hanks Jr., MD**
Christopher J. Mann, MD
Tat Thompson
Cecil F. Whitaker Jr., MD**

Scholarship & Stewardship Subcommittees

Sandra N. Freedman, MD, Chair
Ellen S. Goodrich, BSN, MN
Charles G. Green Jr., MD
Judith V. Hodnett, RN, MSN
Alva L. Mayes Jr., MD**
D. Ronald Spearman, MD

Real Estate Committee*

J. Ben Deal, DMD, Chair
James M. Hull, LHD
Joshua A. Lane, MD
Ellen S. Goodrich, BSN, MN
Judith V. Hodnett, RN, MSN
Tat Thompson
Don Grantham

**Emeritus Member

The chairman of the board resides on all committees

Full Board List

Medical College of Georgia Alumni Association Regional Committees and Chairs

State Chairman: David Gose, M.D. (Atlanta)
Columbus: George McClusky, M.D.- Chair
Albany: Price Corr, M.D.- Chair
Valdosta: David Retterbush, M.D.- Chair
Savannah: Dan DeLoach, M.D.- Chair
Macon: Bill Brooks, M.D. - Chair
Gainesville: Sam Richwine, M.D.-Chair
Athens: Mark Ellison, M.D.- Chair
Atlanta: Tommy Dopson, M.D.-Co-Chair
Kelley Dopson, M.D.- Co-Chair
Dalton: P. Bates Bailey, M.D.
Rome: Joe Burch, M.D.- Chair
Augusta: Betty Wray, M.D.
Waycross: Wayne Rentz, M.D.- Chair
Alumni Association
Chairman's Statement


Endowment Value

The Medical College of Georgia Foundation’s (the “Foundation”) Total Fund returned 13.1% in fiscal year 2017. In fiscal year 2017, the total fund grew to $230.6 million, including approximately $27.0 million in investment gains and $4.6 million in negative cash flow. Over the past 10 fiscal years, the Foundation has grown approximately $112.0 million from its $118.7 million market value at June 30, 2007. With annual net investment returns of 5.2% since July 1998, the Foundation has performed in line with its stated Policy Index.

Audited Financial Statements

Gifts to MCG Foundation for Fiscal Year 2017


Total Donors


Total # of Gifts


Total Value of Gifts

Total Support Provided to the University







Asset Allocation

Equity bull markets—particularly extended ones—tend to increase the risk appetite of investors on both the retail and institutional sides. This is not a new phenomenon; as markets cycle, investors’ position on risk tends to cycle in tandem. Market cycles can be long or short, and the associated change in risk appetite can vary from slow and steady to sharp and dramatic. One constant is that the market will always cycle, and investor behavior will always cycle with it.

Show Return History For Major Asset Classes

Alternative Strategies

Domestic Equity

Global Equities

Performance Over Time

Volatile markets can be uncomfortable and we anticipate there could be further periods of steep declines in the coming year, as well as rapidly rising markets. However, we do not believe increased volatility will lead to dramatic changes within investment programs. Rather, it should reinforce the importance of a long-term plan and the discipline to avoid overreaction.

Maintaining a long-term perspective, rebalancing the program when the opportunity arises, and avoiding mistakes are always top priorities that become even more acute in volatile periods. Investors with a long-term investment horizon and the discipline to remain diversified—even during periods of high volatility—significantly increase the probability of achieving their investment goals, which is a goal we all share.



Researcher Uncovering Wealth of Potential in Immune System

It’s not uncommon for Medical College of Georgia faculty to collaborate with a colleague from a different discipline on a research project, capitalizing on their separate yet complementary areas of expertise to tackle a vexing biomedical problem.

Indeed, two, three or even more such collaborations are somewhat routine.

But 24?

One researcher’s knowledge base is so vast and so pivotal to various disease processes that his collaboration has been in hot demand throughout his 17-year tenure at Augusta University. And yes, 24 is the current total of Dr. Babak Baban’s joint research projects.

“The Greek foundation of medicine is healing and balance, which is actually the foundation of life itself,” says Baban, who joined the faculty in 2005 after earning his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of London and serving on its faculty for 10 years. “When you have balance in everything, you are healed.”

And nothing is as crucial to balance, Baban posits, as the immune system — a finely calibrated defense mechanism to oust harmful foreign substances from the body while leaving harmless, or even helpful, ones undisturbed.

Problems arise when the system goes awry — for instance, giving a pass to cancer cells, or declaring war on the body’s own tissues. The implications are so immense that Baban is hard at work exploring strategies to trouble-shoot the immune system in areas as diverse as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, autism, Parkinson’s disease and vision.

He is particularly interested in dendritic cells, those charged with training cells to activate a defense against invaders that the immune system fails to innately recognize as harmful.

“The immune system has two defense mechanisms: innate, or natural, which is fixed at birth, and adaptive, or acquired, which is learned,” Baban says. “Some cells require training, getting dispatched from the body’s military bases (the lymph nodes) to danger zones. Dendritic cells are among the most important in training those cells.”

Dendritic cells, for instance, will travel to a tumor site and gather cancer cells, then return to the lymph nodes and present them to T cells, those charged with mounting a defense. Armed with information that the cancer cells are harmful, the T cells spring into action. “T cells are like special forces,” Baban says. “They know exactly what they are looking for when they go on attack.”

This is what happens in a perfectly calibrated immune system.

But some cancer cells find ways to prevail — for instance, by overwhelming their attackers or convincing dendritic cells they are harmless — and sometimes the immune system simply miscalculates, or is flawed in some way that prevents it from optimally doing its job.

Baban’s quest — which he shares with neurologists, cardiologists, oral biologists, ophthalmologists and many other specialists at AU — is to correct these imperfections. He uses animal models and human cancer cells to study the process under various circumstances — for instance, by deleting or increasing dendritic cells — to try to prevent, cure or better treat cancers and other diseases.

For example, he is working with Dr. Krishnan Dhandapani in the MCG Department of Neurosurgery to elucidate the function of neutrophils in traumatic brain injury, and with MCG Dean David Hess to better understand the role of the immune system in stroke. He also is working with Dr. Jack Yu, MCG chief of pediatric plastic surgery, and Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, chief of the Section of Neonatology, to explore — and ideally exploit — the role of innate lymphoid cells in human breast milk to protect newborns from infection. And he recently obtained a patent with Drs. Rafik Abdelsayed and Mahmood Mozaffari in the Dental College of Georgia Department of Oral Biology to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease, based on biomarkers identifiable in a mere pinprick of blood.

As awed as Baban is by the potential of manipulating the immune system to treat disease, he acknowledges that a strong defense is not the whole ballgame. “Immunotherapy by itself is not enough,” he says. “For instance, just because T cells attack doesn’t mean they will defeat cancer cells. That’s why treatments like surgery (to reduce the size of a tumor and improve the odds of a successful attack) and chemotherapy (to weaken cancer cells) continue to be vital facets of treatment. But there is definitely increasing evidence that the immune system has a big role in treating cancer and many other disease processes.”

To help advance the efforts of Baban and his colleagues, please visit www.mcgfoundation.org and click “Ways to Give” to learn how to optimize the impact of a tax-deductible donation.

A Legacy of Love

It was a July day in 2007 when Vera Nolfe Anderson’s husband, Andy, helped her prepare for the arrival of a guest, the family pastor.

Preparation was no small matter. Vera was in the late stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a devastating and incurable form of nerve cell degeneration that causes gradual paralysis. At this point in the disease progression, Vera was almost totally paralyzed and relied on her husband for everything — eating, bathing, grooming, even changing positions in bed.

“I was completely devoted to her, and everything I did for her was a privilege,” says Andy, who met his wife in 1982 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where she was a colonel in the Army and he was a captain.

At the time they met, Vera had already made an indelible mark on the Army Nurse Corps, including treating President Dwight D. Eisenhower and many other VIPs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She was a few years Andy’s senior, but he was dazzled by her warmth, independence and lively personality.

Their relationship was nothing short of idyllic. Andy, thrilled to have found his soul mate, brought her flowers every Friday and exchanged thousands of “just because” love notes during their 23-year marriage. They traveled, gardened, golfed, cooked gourmet meals and indulged in other mutual hobbies, living life to the fullest.

When she was diagnosed with ALS in September 2006, they faced the news with courage, stoicism and an unflagging devotion to their marriage vows. “Vera wasn’t bitter or angry,” Andy said. “She had not a single regret and was grateful for the good health she’d enjoyed up to that point. We had our share of tears, but her last months were mostly spent in reflection and appreciation for a life well-lived.”

That July morning, after dressing Vera, styling her hair and propping her up to await their visitor, he left the room for a quick cup of coffee — then returned to find she had peacefully passed away.

Andy was heartbroken, yet determined that his wife’s legacy would live on. Shortly after her death, he established a scholarship in her name: the Col. Vera Nolfe Anderson Memorial Scholarship Endowment, a means of easing the financial burdens of select high-achieving Augusta University nursing students pursuing an Army career.

This year — the 11th year a scholarship has been awarded — the endowment exceeded $100,000, over $10,000 of which was donated in 2017. “I am just so thrilled,” Andy said. “Additionally, we’ve given $42,000 in scholarships so far. It is extremely gratifying that so many of Vera’s friends and loved ones have made contributions, and I’ve had the honor of learning how she touched their lives. For instance, those who served with her in the military talk about what a great mentor she was. Vera also traveled the country during her career recruiting people to the Army Nurse Corps. It meant so much to her, and she clearly made a big impression on those who crossed her path.”

Even people Vera never met have stepped up. For instance, when Andy met and began dating a member of the Augusta University College of Nursing faculty a year or so after Vera’s death, his new love found herself deeply touched by his widow’s legacy. “She has been a big contributor to the scholarship ever since,” said Andy of the woman he married in 2011, Dr. Lori Schumacher Anderson.

Lori, who recently accepted a position as dean and assistant vice president of Tusculum University in Greeneville, Tennessee, “has been very accepting and loving of my need to continue to honor Vera’s life,” Andy said. “I feel so lucky I found someone like her.”

He notes that “as the years have passed, I still occasionally shed a tear for Vera. But now, instead of grieving, I concentrate on my memories and am so thankful for what we had in our life.”

Knowing that her legacy lives on, he said, is one of his greatest sources of comfort. “She would be very happy,” Andy said, “that others are benefiting from the generosity of those who loved her.”

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Col. Vera Nolfe Anderson Memorial Scholarship Endowment (fund #6004P), contact Kim McNeely at the MCG Foundation, 706-823-5500.

MCG Foundation


Thank You