School of Music Dean Dr. David Keith announces his retirement


The provost appoints a search committee

MACON – Dr. C. David Keith, Dean of the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University since 2013, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis appointed a seven-member search committee to help recruit Dr. Keith’s successor.

Prior to being appointed Dean in 2013, Dr. Keith served as Acting Dean, Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies at Mercer. He joined the faculty of the School of Music in 2010 as Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies in Church Music after serving for 27 years as Professor of Conducting and Religious Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

He has also served as director of music and worship at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Nashville, assistant professor of music at Belmont University, choir director for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and director of choral activities at the Howard Payne University, as well as acting minister of music in several congregations.

“I have enjoyed working with David Keith very much over the past decade,” said Dr. Davis. “He is a thoughtful leader and a strong advocate for students. His contributions to Mercer extend far beyond the School of Music. His many gifts and positive influence will be missed, but we wish him the best for a well-deserved retirement. “

Dr Keith received a Masters of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Southwestern Seminary and a Bachelor of Science from William Jewell College. He did post-doctoral work at the Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, University of California Los Angeles, and Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Stuttgart, where he studied with Dieter Kurz. He also studied with Frieder Bernius (Kammerchor Stuttgart); Roger Wagner, director of the Roger Wagner Choir; Sir David Willcocks, director of the London Bach Choir; and Donald Neuen, director of choral activities at UCLA.

“It was a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to be at Mercer University and the Townsend School of Music,” said Dr Keith. “The support from administration, faculty and the community has been exceptional. The incredibly talented students of the School of Music have been a constant source of inspiration and are committed to helping transform the world through music. I will be eternally grateful to have spent the last chapter of my career at an institution like Mercer.

The Dean’s Research Committee will be chaired by Dr. Christopher Schmitz, professor of music theory at the School of Music. Other members include Creston Groover, chairman of the Alumni Board of the Townsend School of Music and Music Director of the First Baptist Church of Jesup; Carolyn McAfee Bruner, Mercer Life Trustee; Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer and the Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings; Dr Nathan Myrick, Assistant Professor of Religious Music; Dr Julie Petherbridge, Dean of Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business; and Dr. Stanley Roberts, Associate Dean of the School of Music and Arthur Lowndes Rich Professor of Choral Conducting.

“David Keith has been a very effective dean of the Townsend School of Music and a valued colleague,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “He has been instrumental in dramatically expanding the school’s endowment, recruiting the world’s most talented music students and building a faculty fully invested in the best possible outcomes for our students.”

About the School of Music

The Townsend School of Music at Mercer University, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer professional undergraduate and graduate music studies in a comprehensive academic environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its exceptional faculty, award-winning students, state-of-the-art performance ensembles and facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute of the Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America’s most renowned string musicians, receive conservatory-quality music education, while obtaining a well-rounded academic education from a comprehensive and nationally recognized university. For more information and a full list of concerts this season, visit, or call (478) 301-2748.

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