AN ENDURING LEGACY
A new endowed chair celebrates the life and work of Michael Mescon, a beloved Andrew Young School faculty member.
BY TAMMIE W. GREEN (M.P.A. ’20) AND JENNIFER GIARRATANO
A professor, advocate and entrepreneur, Michael Mescon (1931–2017) gave everything he had to his teaching and business. He was passionate about helping his students develop the skills they would need to succeed — whether in business, government or nonprofit institutions — and many loved him dearly.
He also held his students accountable. At the start of each class, he would lock the door and remind those present, “The easiest thing you can do is be on time.”
At home, Mescon was a devout family man. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, he married his sweetheart Enid, whom he’d met at a B’nai B’rith Youth Convention when they were 12. Their family grew to include children Nance Lu, Tim and Jed.
Early in his career, Mescon pursued professional weightlifting, served two years in the Army and earned a doctorate in human relations at New York University. In 1956, he joined the faculty in Georgia State’s College of Business Administration, now called the J. Mack Robinson College of Business (RCB).
Mescon’s belief in entrepreneurship, private enterprise and generosity guided him in his life, and he worked to instill an appreciation for these ideals in his students. They helped define his distinguished career as an academic and as the founder of the Mescon Group, a private consulting firm. They also drove his campaign to create the nation’s first chair of private enterprise at Georgia State in 1963, the same year he established the Center for Business & Economic Education to train Georgia teachers.
In 1996, Mescon supported the founding of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, where he taught part-time upon retiring from the RCB. He later served on the school’s advisory board and co-developed a popular policy leadership class.
After his death in November 2017, his wife Enid told the school she felt compelled to give something significant to Georgia State in her husband’s honor. In 2014, she and Mescon had funded the Nance Lu Mescon Scholarship to honor their daughter after her death.
In Enid’s estimation, an endowed faculty chair would serve as a lasting tribute to Mescon and his contributions while honoring the educator’s work to fund the Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise decades earlier.
Partnering with family, neighbors and friends, Enid began fundraising. To her surprise, she raised $85,000 from people all over the country. She then made a personal contribution that increased the endowment to $500,000.
Amanda Puche, Andrew Young School Director of Development
Not long afterwards, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the Michael & Enid Mescon Endowed Chair to support faculty recruitment and new policy research.
“Faculty endowments are a precious commodity,” said Amanda Puche, director of development at the Andrew Young School. “This gift is a huge honor for Georgia State and the Andrew Young School.”