First-class facilities, centers for integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, enhancements to the Work Experience Program, generous scholarships, and new student mentoring initiatives are the focus of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity.

Together, these campaign priorities will build on Berry’s historic mission of educating the head, heart and hands and further strengthen opportunities for students to discover their gifts and realize their potential. The result will be graduates who leave Berry even better prepared to improve their homes, workplaces and communities.

“Opportunity long has been Berry’s pledge to hardworking students,” said Barry Griswell (71C), retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and campaign co-chair with fellow college trustee Randy Berry. “The experience of a Berry education has changed my own life and others, while the character of a Berry education has changed communities for the better. We want to continue this important work.”

The campaign launch was accompanied by news that more than $73 million in gifts and pledges were already in hand. These early commitments – made during the four years preceding the May 17 kickoff event – include $24 million to support an eventual total of 130 innovative, mission-based Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. Funding also has been completed for the McAllister Hall endowment supporting science education and science-based scholarships.

Future commitments will make possible major facilities enhancements for Berry’s growing animal science program and much-needed renovations for the college’s primary performing arts venues, Ford Auditorium and Blackstone Hall. Other brick-and-mortar projects include a campus welcome center and entry enhancements; the Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field; and the recently completed renovation of Roy Richards Memorial Gymnasium.

Learning experiences will be enriched through centers focused on integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, while work experiences – long a hallmark of a Berry education – will be enhanced through gifts supporting Berry Student Enterprises and other high-level student work positions. New mentoring programs will help students maximize the opportunities afforded by their Berry experience.

Details about each campaign priority can be found at www.berry.edu/lifeready. The site also includes information about giving options alumni and friends can use to help make these projects a reality. Gifts of any size through June 2020 count toward the campaign total.

“We could not be where we are today without your support, and we will not achieve the goals of this campaign without your help going forward,” President Steve Briggs said in an email message to alumni. “We have the opportunity to have a profound impact on Berry and the lives of future students.”

Campaign launch.

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New Site for Valhalla Stadium

Tentative rendering for new Valhalla stadium site. Cage Center is top center.

Berry’s eagles were back in the news in late spring thanks to a decision by college officials to preserve the natural buffer around the famous nest by changing the site for the new Valhalla stadium.

Already shifted once as part of an eagle buffering plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Valhalla will be constructed south of the original site in the field bordered by Maple Drive (the service entrance), Martha Berry Highway and Memory Lane.

The relocation announcement was met with widespread support on Berry’s social media channels, especially among nature enthusiasts who have helped to make the college’s Eagle Cam an international sensation.

“The eagles are mesmerizing, better than any reality television show,” said President Steve Briggs. “And the truth is we are entranced by them as well.”

Fundraising for Valhalla – which will provide a home for intercollegiate football, lacrosse, and track and field in addition to intramural sports and other campus events – is more than 80 percent complete. Construction is expected to begin later this year. As part of the project, Maple Drive will be widened and a grassy field for track-and-field throwing events will be added.

The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2015 football season. Home games this fall will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome.

Support Valhalla.

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Impressive achievements in nuclear radiation safety and off-site emergency preparedness following the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident helped earn Rayford H. Boyett (58C) praise as the 2014 recipient of the Berry’s Alumni Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Other winners this year included John Shahan (64A, 69C), Distinguished Service Award; Andreas Economopoulos (97C), Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; and Heather Henderson-Keller (03C), Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Click the names and watch the accompanying video for more on these impressive individuals.

Nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards are now being accepted. If you know of a classmate who is worthy of consideration, please complete the online nomination form and submit prior to Oct. 31. Winners will be honored at Alumni Weekend 2015 and enshrined in the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

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Honorary AlumniTwo beloved members of the Berry faculty have been granted honorary membership in the Berry Alumni Association. Provost Kathy Richardson and Dana Professor of Government Peter Lawler were recognized at the gala celebration held during Alumni Weekend. Richardson has served on the communication faculty since 1986; Lawler first came to Berry in 1979. Both have won the respect of countless alumni while earning acclaim as teachers and scholars during their distinguished careers.

Richardson recently made headlines as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Lawler, meanwhile, is in the early stages of a two-year appointment to the Georgia State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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Spring CommencementThe largest class in Berry history – 425 strong – celebrated the past and looked to the future during spring commencement exercises in the Cage Center. Roxanne Spillett, former president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and newly appointed member of the Berry College Board of Trustees, addressed the graduates and their families, who gathered indoors due to inclement weather in the area. The student speaker was Josh Hughes, a chemistry major and aspiring professional soccer player who graduated with a 4.0 GPA. The ceremony featured the presentation of two faculty honors, the Mary S. and Samuel Poe Carden Award for Outstanding Teaching, Scholarship and Service to Associate Professor of History Matthew Stanard and the Dave and Lu Garrett Award for Meritorious Teaching to Associate Professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry Alice Suroviec. Commencement video.

Among the many notable graduates was Madison Chandler, a biochemistry major who gained acceptance into five different biomedical engineering programs before choosing Auburn University, where she will have the opportunity to conduct genetics research related to breast cancer. Read story.

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Dr. David McKenzie

Dr. David McKenzie

Jonathan Bopp (05C)

Jonathan Bopp (05C)

Excellence among Berry’s faculty and staff was on display during the 2014 presentation of the Martindale Awards of Distinction. Faculty honors went to retiring Professor of Philosophy David McKenzie, who was lauded for his strong commitment to student interests and academic integrity as well as his contributions to fostering a campus community that is Christian in spirit but welcoming of all. The staff award was claimed by Jonathan Bopp (05C), a valued member of the physical plant team whose innovative ideas have helped to streamline setups for special events and keep the campus running smoothly.

These special awards were endowed by Susan Byrd Martindale (73C) and her husband, Larry, to reward those who promote continuous improvement, implement innovative approaches to problem solving and inspire others to extraordinary achievement.

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Alumni WeekendThe memories came flooding back May 30 to June 6 as hundreds of alumni returned home for three of the biggest events on the Berry calendar – Alumni Weekend, Young Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week.

Alumni Weekend highlights included Golden Guard induction for the college and academy classes of 1964, presentation of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards and recognition of longtime faculty members Peter Lawler and Kathy Richardson as honorary members of the Berry Alumni Association. Also of note were chapel services led by Walter Copeland (64A, 71C) and Alumni Association Chaplain Valerie Loner (91C), as well as special praise for the following individuals:

Bob Williams (62H), Lifetime membership on the Berry Alumni Council
John Shahan (64A, 69C) and Bill Thornton (68C), Berry High Schools/Berry Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Awards
Lewis Copeland (60C), Virginia R. Webb Exceptional Service Award
Jennifer Beard (93C, 00G, FS), Berry Alumni Association President’s Award

Alumni Work WeekReunions were held for eleven different college, high school and academy classes, three of which earned awards for participation and giving:

Class of 1959C: Viking Cup (highest giving percentage)
Class of 1964C: Ford Cup (highest total amount given), Heritage Cup (greatest increase in Berry Heritage Society membership) and Martha Cup (greatest percentage increase in gifts)
Class of 1964A: Reunion Cup (highest percentage attendance)

In addition to their financial generosity – the reunion classes contributed approximately $1.02 million in gifts to Berry – alumni also gave of their time and energy through the Young Alumni Weekend service project and Alumni Work Week. The latter drew nearly 200 participants for a week of work and fellowship featuring an ambitious list of projects. One crew led by Al Christopher (61c) and Stewart Fuqua (80A) constructed an enclosed shed for the Season’s Harvest student-operated enterprise, while another led by Jimmy Bell (60C) and Sid Wheeler (60C) completed a dairy cattle barn at the Rollins Ruminant Research Center. More coverage.

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Deer Outside Morgan Hall

Morgan and Deerfield halls made history in 2010 as the first structures on the Berry campus to earn LEED accreditation for green building practices.

The Princeton Review once again has ranked Berry among the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges. This is the fourth year in a row Berry has made the list, produced in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition singles out 330 schools in the U.S. and two in Canada that demonstrate exemplary commitments to sustainability in their academics, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

“Being named to Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for the fourth year in a row is a testament that Berry’s commitment to sustainability is being recognized on a national level,” said Director of Sustainability Eddie Elsberry.

The publication is available for free download. Berry’s is profiled on page 31.

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Facing Hope Premiere

From left, Juliana Osvald Breithaupt (99C, 06G), Laurie Hattaway Chandler (95C) and Paul Carter at the premiere for the "Facing Hope" magazine. Photo by student Jennifer Fortnash.

A local collaboration inspired by the national Facing Project provided seven Berry English and communication majors with the unique opportunity to gain valuable writing experience while also getting a first-person look at the difficulties faced by those who are poor, homeless or have other needs being addressed by community nonprofits.

Rome’s Facing Hope initiative brought together students, faculty and administrators from three area colleges – Berry, Georgia Highlands and Georgia Northwestern Technical College – and 23 nonprofits, including the Free Clinic of Rome, William S. Davies Homeless Shelter and the Rome chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“All of these nonprofits have one thing in common: giving hope to the people of Floyd County,” explained Laurie Hattaway Chandler (95C), director of Berry’s Bonner Center for Community Engagement and a Facing Hope coordinator along with project lead Juliana Osvald Breithaupt (99C, 06G) of Georgia Highlands and Paul Carter of Georgia Northwestern.

Students and mentors from each of the participating institutions were paired with social workers and clients from the various nonprofits with the goal of developing personal narratives that would help to put a face on those being served.

“Service and engagement have always been priorities for our three institutions,” Breithaupt stated. “This was the perfect opportunity for us to come together and support the work of our local nonprofits. At the same time, we gave our students the opportunity to witness firsthand the challenging issues people face in their everyday lives and how these organizations play a significant role in the viability and sustainability of our community.”

When completed, the articles were compiled in a print magazine and shared online. The students walked away with a publishing credit and a greater understanding of the world around them.

“This project really opened my eyes to another point-of-view,” said Matt Pulford (14C), a Gate of Opportunity Scholar who graduated in May. “It has changed the way I view the unfortunate; it gave people a face for me.”

 By Maxine Donnelly, philanthropic communications student writer

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Tommy McClosky at Nationals

Photo of Berry All-American Tommy McCloskey by John Bell of Touch A Life Photography.

Honorable mention All-American Tommy McCloskey paced a No. 8 national finish for men’s golf in Berry’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Golf Championships. Women’s tennis also made history this spring – capping a sparkling 18-3 season with a first-round NCAA Division III national tournament victory over Methodist University – while the equestrian team closed out another successful campaign with a fourth-place finish at western nationals.

Proving equally impressive in the classroom, 98 Berry student-athletes made the Southern Athletic Association’s spring honor roll. In addition, women’s lacrosse player Kristan Dziurzynski (14C) was honored as a third-team Capital One Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

 

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SOAR 2014In the May issue of the Alumni Accent, we attempted to quantify “eagle mania” among our readers by asking the question, How often do you find yourself watching Berry’s Eagle Cam? Not surprisingly, the most popular response – with 38% of the vote – was multiple times each day. Close behind was once or twice a week (35%), followed by once or twice a day (15%), never (8%) and every waking moment (4%).

This month, we turn our attention to SOAR – an annual rite of passage for incoming students. Scroll to the bottom of this page to share your memories of summer orientation.

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