William Underwood

William D. Underwood

President, Mercer University

William D. Underwood has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. He was selected as the 18th President of Mercer University in 2006. Under his leadership, the University has grown more than 20 percent in nine years. Prior to joining Mercer, Underwood was the Interim President of Baylor University and held the prestigious Leon Jaworski Chair at the Baylor School of Law. Underwood is an accomplished educator and scholar, designated a Master Teacher at Baylor in recognition of his extraordinary classroom teaching, and named an Outstanding University Professor in 2005. He joined the faculty in 1990 after practicing law with a large firm in Dallas. He is an elected member of both the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation. Underwood graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law, which awarded him the Juris Doctor degree. He graduated as class salutatorian and was an editor of the University of Illinois Law Review.

Board Governance

  • Chair, Compensation Committee
  • Independent Directors Committee

Community Involvement

  • Board of Directors, Macon Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Directors, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
  • Chairman, NewTown Macon
  • Board of Directors, Hills & Heights Development Corporation
  • Steering Committee, College Hill Alliance

Professional License

  • Licensed to practice law, Texas


  • Bachelor of Arts, Oklahoma Baptist University
  • Juris Doctor, College of Law, University of Illinois