Berry FootballIt’s been a busy summer for the workers responsible for bringing Berry’s new Valhalla stadium to life. With construction entering its final stages, thoughts are turning to the Sept. 12 grand-opening football game against LaGrange College. Alumni tickets are now available for those who want to share in the exhilaration as the Vikings rush onto OUR field for the first time.

Five games will be played at Valhalla this fall, including the Sept. 12 opener and an Oct. 3 Mountain Day rematch with Washington University of St. Louis. Last year’s Mountain Day game at Barron Stadium in Rome proved unforgettable, producing Berry’s first-ever varsity win (in overtime, no less) and the GEICO National Play of the Year.

Here’s the complete home schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 12
LaGrange College, 6 p.m. (ribbon cutting at 4 p.m.)

Valhalla StadiumSaturday, Sept. 19
Rhodes College, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3, Mountain Day
Washington University of St. Louis, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17
Hendrix College, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14
Centre College, 1 p.m.

Alumni wishing to purchase single-game tickets can do so in person for $5 each at the Krannert Center information desk the week proceeding each home game or at the stadium gate on game day (pending availability). If you’d rather buy your tickets online (for $6 each) go to BerryGameDay.com, a new website featuring a wealth of game-day information (parking, tailgating, etc.). Season tickets good for all five games can be purchased for $25 at the Krannert Center information desk or online for $30. All seating is general admission.

Free tickets for students, faculty and staff will be available at the information desk in Krannert Center the week preceding each home game. Faculty and staff members are eligible for two free tickets per game. Students receive one. More details will be available soon.

If you can’t wait for the opener, click here to view updated pictures of Valhalla, which includes Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field. Thanks to all who have made gifts through Berry’s LifeReady Campaign supporting this new home for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track and field. Fundraising is now more than 90 percent complete and will continue until the goal is reached.

We hope you will join us Sept. 12 as we celebrate the stadium’s completion – and cheer our Vikings to victory!

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Old MillBerry’s reputation for campus beauty received further affirmation this summer with a No. 2 national ranking on Great Value Colleges’  list of “30 Great Small Colleges for Nature Lovers.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and Chattanooga Times-Free Press were among those sharing news of this latest distinction, which highlighted outdoor recreation on Berry’s 27,000-acre campus as well as learning and research opportunities for students and faculty.

Berry was one of only two institutions in the Southeast to make the top 10, joining Sewanee: The University of the South (which checked in at No. 4). Topping the list was California’s Humboldt State University.

 View full list.

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Tennis Center Site PlanA vision years in the making came into sharp focus with the June groundbreaking for the Rome Tennis Center of Georgia at Berry College. Upon completion in 2016, the 51-court facility will become a key economic development tool for the Rome community and a source of fresh opportunities for Berry students.

Funded by a voter-approved SPLOST (local sales tax for a special purpose), the center represents a public-private partnership involving Berry, the City of Rome, the Coosa Valley Tennis Association, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be located northeast of Mount Berry Square Mall on 35 acres of Berry-donated property orphaned by the 2012 completion of the Armuchee Connector linking Martha Berry Highway and Veterans Memorial Parkway (Georgia Loop 1).

Tennis Center Club HouseDesigned to tap into Rome’s strong tennis tradition, the center will have room for up to 60 regulation courts – more than sufficient to host large tournaments. Notable features include six NCAA regulation courts and three main-event courts overlooked by a 3,846-square-foot lodge-like clubhouse (pictured at left). Twelve of the regular courts will be painted with “quick-start” lines to introduce the sport to children. There’s also space for an indoor facility, a possible future addition.

In the summer issue of Berry magazine, President Steve Briggs discussed the college’s strategic emphasis on partnerships that support the surrounding community while providing students with practical firsthand experiences. Read his column.

Site plan and club house rendering courtesy of Cevian Design Lab.

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Berry College Nursing GraduatesMomentum is building for Berry’s Division of Nursing, which this year produced its first class of 17 graduates (pictured). In recent months, representatives of the new bachelor’s degree program earned invitations to prestigious national meetings for students and faculty, even as Berry surpassed the $500,000 LifeReady Campaign goal for the state-of-the-art nursing laboratory in Evans Hall.

News that the program had been granted full five-year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education was heralded by the Rome News-Tribune, which noted that Berry’s entry into nursing is “most timely” in helping to meet a growing national need.

The paper also spotlighted the future plans of spring graduate Will Howell, whose Berry experience helped him obtain a position as a registered nurse in the thoracic and cardiovascular intensive care unit at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

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Dr. Brad BushnellThe Berry College Board of Trustees recently welcomed noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brad Bushnell as its newest member. A Rome resident since 2009, Bushnell is vice chairman of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at Harbin Clinic. His numerous professional affiliations include service as team physician for the Rome Braves and as a consulting physician for both the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies. He holds an undergraduate degree in religious studies from Vanderbilt University, an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, and an MBA from Auburn University.

Prior to being named to the Board of Trustees, Bushnell served on Berry’s Board of Visitors. He is also a team physician for Berry athletics and has taught Introduction to Healthcare Sciences on an adjunct basis. His wife, Kimberly, is a CPA and Berry adjunct instructor of accounting and finance. The couple’s two children attend Berry Elementary School.

Public Relations Student Supervisor Elizabeth Bradford contributed to this story

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Todd BrooksTodd Brooks has returned to Berry as athletic director after two years at Virginia’s Christopher Newport University. He succeeds Dr. Tom Hart, who stepped down in May.

“Todd Brooks’ return to Berry is our good fortune,” said Debbie Heida, vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “Todd helped build our current athletic program, and his experience at Christopher Newport enhances the work he will do in leading our program to greater heights. I am pleased to welcome Todd back to Berry and to Rome.”

Brooks’ previous tenure as Berry athletic director (1998 to 2013) was highlighted by significant growth for the program, including the addition of numerous sports, completion of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center, transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III, and creation of the Southern Athletic Association. Twice during that time he was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Southern States Athletic Conference. He is also a past recipient of Berry’s Martindale Award of Distinction, one of the college’s most prestigious faculty/staff honors.

Read more.

Photo by student Lauren Neumann

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Lisa Slavovsky VideoLisa Slavovsky (01C) is taking a stand and changing the world, one child at a time. As an aftercare specialist for the International Justice Mission focusing on child trafficking issues, Slavovsky has traveled all over the world to help create better environments for children. (Click image for more on her story.)

The former WinShape Program participant gave her passport a short break this spring when she returned to Berry to share her experiences working with children who have been rescued from child labor and sex trafficking.

“My passion for social justice took shape at Berry,” she explained, “particularly the strong emphasis on putting learning into action with the goal of impacting the world for the better.”

By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student assistant

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Martha BerryBerry long has been a destination of choice for television and movie crews seeking a one-of-a-kind setting for their productions, but the most compelling story on campus – that of Martha Berry herself – remains largely untold. Not since the 1952 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of “Forgotten Children” – featuring Cloris Leachman as Martha Berry with James Dean in a supporting role – has the Berry story been the subject of a commercial film or television show.

Jessica Clay Smith (00C) hopes to change that with The Sunday Lady, a proposed film about Martha’s life. The Atlanta-based actress and producer is currently working to build awareness in advance of a fall Kickstarter campaign to support the project.

“During the preparation period, I have become only more fascinated by the remarkable Martha Berry,” Smith said. “Her personal motto, ‘Prayer changes things,’ has become more than just the theme of the movie; it is also the theme of the production. I am eager to share the exciting news of this journey with the Berry community and pray each current and former student will become a part of this story as well.”

Berry Chief of Staff Whit Whitaker (81C) commended Smith on her efforts.

“We are excited about Jessica’s commitment to her project and certainly wish her well as she moves forward,” he stated. “Every alumnus and friend of Berry would be thrilled to see a high quality movie tell the Martha Berry story.”

Follow The Sunday Lady on Twitter and Facebook.

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Gary Jones IIGary Jones II (98C, 03G) almost didn’t go to college. His students at Rome’s East Central Elementary School are glad he did. Earlier this year, Jones was honored as one of 10 finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year. At the time of his selection, he shared his story with Kris Wilder of the Rome News-Tribune, including the critical role Berry played in shaping his path. Read more.

Photo courtesy of Rome News-Tribune

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Berry MagazineIn the last issue of the Alumni Accent, we asked you to name the actor or actress you’d most like to see shoot another movie or TV show at Berry. Perhaps not surprisingly, the “Titans” won again, with Denzel Washington receiving 46% of all votes cast. Next with 30% was Reese Witherspoon, followed by Sweet Home Alabama co-star Patrick Dempsey (10%). Among the remaining choices, only Kevin Bacon (9%) received more than 2% of the vote.

This month, we take our cue from our sister publication, Berry magazine. Hopefully, you’ve already received the summer issue (if not, click the accompanying image to thumb through it online). Once you’re done, scroll to the blog footer and let us know what you like best about Berry’s award-winning publication!

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