The 2Class of 2018014-15 academic year is only a few weeks old, but Berry’s newest students – more than 600 in all – have already made themselves right at home.

The fun began in late August with move-in day and Viking Venture, followed closely by First-Year Service Day and the usual flurry of athletic competitions, arts events and other student activities that dot the calendar each September. (Check out this crowd at a recent concert!)

Full-time undergraduate enrollment for fall is 2,060. There are also 92 graduate students. The new arrivals – 568 first-year students and 36 transfers – fit perfectly among their returning classmates, reflecting the standard of excellence we expect of Berry students. Here’s a quick snapshot of the Class of 2018:

  • 28 states represented (including Georgia)
  • 8 countries (including the U.S.)
  • 7 high school valedictorians
  • 7 salutatorians
  • 21% finished in the top 10% of their high school class
  • 47% have been recognized for outstanding academic achievement
  • 39% were members of the National Honor Society and/or Beta Club
  • 57% boast leadership experience
  • 69% were involved in community service as high school students
  • 25% gained work experience during high school
  • 31 have family members who attended Berry

If their prior accomplishments are any indication, you can expect to read a lot more about this group in the years to come. Stay tuned!

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Truett Cathy

Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy (center) receives his honorary doctorate during Berry's 2008 spring commencement ceremony.

“If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; if you wish to enrich years, plant trees; if you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.”  – S. Truett Cathy 

The Berry community paused recently to honor the memory of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, who passed away Sept. 8 at the age of 93. John Pierce (78C) wrote this touching tribute for Baptists Today, the publication he serves as executive editor. Others offered words of gratitude and praise on the college’s social media channels.

Cathy was a loyal friend and benefactor whose vision and leadership made possible the WinShape Foundation and its longtime partnership with Berry. Hundreds of students, scattered across three decades, have directly benefited from his generosity as recipients of the WinShape Scholarship. He was an honorary member of the Berry Alumni Association and a 2008 recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate. His son, Dan, serves on the Berry College Board of Trustees.

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Mountain Day LogoAs Berry alumni, we all have memories of the Grand March of Students on Mountain Day and the penny basket at the bottom of the hill that symbolizes the spirit of giving at the heart of this cherished celebration. As we approach this year’s centennial, students in Berry’s Firsthand4You program are honoring that heritage with the 1914 Challenge, an ambitious effort to collect 1,914 gifts in recognition of the first Mountain Day a century ago. The challenge begins online Sept. 29 and concludes Oct. 4 at the Mountain Day picnic. An old-fashioned scoreboard on the slopes of Lavender Mountain will track our progress.

Participants will feel t1914 Challengehe satisfaction that comes from helping Berry students AND receive a 10% discount at local restaurants in the hours preceding the 6 p.m. kickoff for Berry’s Mountain Day football game. Pregame partners include Johnny’s Pizza, Mellow Mushroom, Brewhouse, Jefferson’s, Schroeder’s on Broad Street, Harvest Moon and O’Charley’s, with others joining by the day.

“We’re excited to do something special this year to mark the 100th anniversary of Mountain Day,” said Ashley Swanson, student chair and senior class representative for Firsthand4You. “Our goal is to bring students, faculty, staff, alumni and family together to celebrate Berry and our legacy of giving. We’re a little nervous to see if we can collect all the 1,914 gifts – but we’re going to definitely give it our best shot!”

Reunion Brunch: Those planning to attend the Mountain Day reunion brunch have until Sept. 26 to complete the online registration form. The cost is $12 (children 5 and under eat free). Participating classes include 1974A, 1974C, 1979A, 1979C, 1984C, 1989C, 1994C, 1999C, 2004C and 2009C.

Football: Alumni wishing to obtain single-game tickets for Mountain Day can make their purchase online (available now) or in person at the Krannert Center information desk beginning Sept. 24. Tickets also can be purchased at the stadium gate (pending availability) on game day. There are three price levels ranging from $5 to $25 per seat.

A full schedule of Mountain Day events is available online.

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Ford BuildingsBest College Reviews and Thrilllist.com have joined the growing number of publications and websites that have recognized Berry’s rightful place among the nation’s most beautiful college campuses. Best College Reviews ranked Berry ninth (we are still holding out for No. 1) on a diverse list of 100 institutions stretching from the Eastern Seaboard all the way to Hawaii. Joining Berry in the top 10 were the University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr College, the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Notre Dame, Sewanee: The University of the South, Mount Holyoke College, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and Amherst College. Interestingly, only six of those schools (Berry among them) made Thrilllist’s alphabetical listing of the 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America, proving once again that while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, everybody seems to love Berry! (Photo by student Lauren Neumann.)

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Jamie PoissantOne of Berry’s own returned home Sept. 2 to inaugurate a reading series named in his honor. English alumnus Jamie Poissant (01C) addressed a lively crowd in the Berry College Chapel as the first speaker in the David James Poissant Endowed Creative Prose Reading Series, the debut of which coincides with the launch of Berry’s new creative writing major. While on campus, he talked with student writers in three classes, Introduction to Creative Writing; Advanced Creative Writing, Fiction; and Writing and Community.

Poissant is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, Playboy, One Story, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and two anthologies, New Stories from the South and Best New American Voices. He is the author of a recently published collection of short stories, The Heaven of Animals, and is currently working on a novel. He also teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Central Florida.

Look for more on Poissant’s journey from “flailing” college student to successful writer in the next issue of Berry magazine.

Student editorial assistant Maxine Donnelly contributed to this story.

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John ColemanJohn Coleman (04C) knows a little something about public speaking, so it should come as no surprise that the former Berry national champion recently shared his expertise on the subject in two blog posts for the Harvard Business Review. In addition to being a regular contributor for HBR.org, Coleman serves as head of strategy for Invesco Ltd. and is a recent appointee to the Berry College Board of Visitors. The 2012 winner of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award holds both an MBA and MPA from Harvard and is the author of two books, Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders and How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. Follow him on Twitter at @Johnwcoleman. (Photo by Tony Deifel.)

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Constantine

Screen capture of Mary Hall from NBC's official trailer.

Alumni tuning in to NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine (premiering Oct. 24) should keep an eye out for two of Berry’s most iconic structures, the Ford Buildings and Old Mill. Scenes for the pilot were shot last spring. The production crew returned in August to shoot additional scenes for later episodes.

Recent theatre grads (and fans of The Walking Dead) will be excited to hear that Keith Brooks (08C) has a role in the series. As Dr. John Countryman joked in an email to campus, “They’ll kill him off, of course, as producers are wont to do, but he’ll have a few things to say first!”

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Fall 2014 Berry MagazineThe next time you find yourself sharing exciting news with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, take a moment to let us know about it as well. Simply copy the status update you’ve already typed into an email, add your class year and send to alumni@berry.edu for publication as a class note in Berry magazine. If you’ve got a cool picture, feel free to share that as well. We can’t promise the image will wind up in print, but if it’s interesting enough – Katie Landry Branham (08C) showing her Berry pride at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi comes to mind – you might just see it again! Class note submissions for Spring 2015 will be accepted through Oct. 31, so send us yours today.

If you’ve yet to read our Fall 2014 issue with Dr. Guadalupe Sanchez (74C) on the cover, click the image at left and check it out online. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Berry College Football

A crowd of more than 6,700 jammed Barron Stadium for the 2013 season opener.

Berry’s first home football game of the 2014 season is just a few days away, and tickets are going fast! The Vikings will welcome five opponents to Rome’s Barron Stadium this fall, beginning Sept. 27 with Rhodes College. Other home dates include:

Mountain Day, Oct. 4
Washington University in St. Louis

Saturday, Oct. 18
Hendrix College

Friday, Oct. 31
Millsaps College

Saturday, Nov. 15
Southeastern University

Season tickets (good for all five games) can be secured by calling 706-236-2260. There are three options available: reserved seats with chair backs; $100; reserved bench seating, $50; and general admission, $25.

Alumni wishing to obtain single-game tickets for Mountain Day have the option of making their purchase online (available now) or in person at the Krannert Center information desk beginning Sept. 24. Tickets also can be purchased at the stadium gate (pending availability) on game day. There are three price levels ranging from $5 to $25 per seat.

Single-game tickets (reserved and general admission) for all other dates can be purchased by phone at 706-236-2260 or in person at the stadium gate (pending availability) on game day.

Campus community: Each member of the Berry College faculty/staff is eligible for two general admission season tickets, free of charge. These tickets are available for pickup at the Cage Center information desk. Each student is eligible for one ticket per game, free of charge. Student tickets for all games except Mountain Day can be picked up at the Cage Center information desk Monday through Friday of each game week. Student tickets for Mountain Day will be available at the information desk in Krannert Center beginning Sept. 24.

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Harrison Daniels

Berry's 3-D printing lab was just one stop on Harrison Daniels' path to LifeReady. Click the image to learn more.

In the August issue of the Alumni Accent, the release of Zane Cochran’s new book, The Beauty of Berry College, inspired us to poll the popularity of various Berry “gifts.” The No. 1 response was a weekend stay in the Guest Cottages with 41% of the vote. Next with 29% was one more year as a student on the world’s largest campus (My pick for sure!). Cheese made from Berry milk was third with 11%, followed by season tickets for football (8%), DVDs of movies shot on campus (7%) and corn mill ground at the Old Mill (4%).

This month, we turn our attention to the concept of LifeReady, the result of an education of the “head, heart and hands” and the theme of Berry’s fundraising campaign. Think back on your Berry experience. What most prepared you for life beyond the Gate of Opportunity? Scroll to the blog footer to give us your answer.

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