Julie Bumpus and Alexi Bell

PEOPLE WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Above, student Alexi Bell interviews Associate Dean of Students Emeritus Julie Bumpus during this year’s Scholarship Night program. Below, senior Danielle Bowling, left, poses with her mentor, Director of Student Activities Cecily Crow (94C), during Always Berry Week. Photos by students Matthew McConnell and Bailey Albertson.

Always Berry Week

What does it mean to be “Always Berry?”

That question inspired a series of videos produced this spring in which alumni of all ages (and President Briggs!) have reflected on the things that make Berry special. Hopefully, you’ve seen and enjoyed these videos in your inbox or on social media. If not, click here to see what we’re talking about.

Earlier this month, students joined the conversation as part of a week-long campus celebration known as “Always Berry Week.” The alumni engagement office hosted the event in partnership with Athletes Bettering the Community, the Student Government Association, Krannert Center Activities Board, Berry resident assistants and the Student Philanthropy team. Together, they provided students with the opportunity to honor their Berry mentors while simultaneously supporting the Save a Student Scholarship. More than 400 students, faculty and staff took part, filling a display in Krannert Center with Polaroid selfies honoring the people at Berry who have made a difference in their lives.

The week concluded with Berry’s annual Scholarship Night celebration pairing donors with their scholarship recipients in the Cage Center. More than 100 student volunteers welcomed participants by lining the drive as candleholders, honoring a tradition that dates back to the “Berry Pilgrims” of Martha Berry’s day. Students Mahmood Abdellatif and Alexi Bell acted as hosts for the program, which was planned by students and featured remarks by a number of donors and scholarship recipients in attendance.

Always Berry Week is over now, but there is more fun yet to come. Click here to learn more about what it means to be “Always Berry,” and keep an eye out later this week for a new video featuring an unforgettable rendition of Berry’s Alma Mater that you don’t want to miss.

By Jennifer Wright

Bookmark and Share

New BOV members

Clockwise from top left, Steve Wherry (80C), Jason McMillan (98C), Seth Turner (06C) and Robert Swarthout (04C) have joined the Board of Visitors along with Gretchen Corbin (not pictured). Photo by student Matthew McConnell.

The Berry College Board of Visitors welcomed five new members at its April meeting. They include:

Gretchen Corbin: President and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Corp., and former commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia.

Jason McMillan (98C): Senior vice president and regional corporate banker for the State of Georgia for BB&T.

Robert Swarthout (04C): Co-founder of ShootProof, a company established in 2010 to assist photographers with services such as online photo proofing, studio branding and gallery security.

Seth Turner (06C): Washington, D.C., real estate professional who formerly worked in Manhattan; named 2008 “Rookie of the Year” at Keller Williams Capital Properties.

Steve Wherry (80C): Senior vice president and CFO for The Goldfield Corp., a provider of electrical construction and maintenance services in the energy infrastructure industry primarily in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and Texas.

The Board of Visitors is an advisory group consisting of alumni and other friends of Berry. Leadership is provided by Chair Wanda Riggs Mack, who represents the BOV on the Board of Trustees, and Vice Chair Brian Brodrick (97C). The group meets annually on the Berry campus.

Bookmark and Share

Haley Brown Celebrates in the PoolAngel Mason

MAKING A SPLASH: Angel Mason, at right, takes over a Berry athletic program that has had much to celebrate in recent years. Highlights in 2018-19 include a return trip to the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving National Championships for senior Haley Brown (seen above in this photo by student Leigh Hadaway).

A former college athlete with 14 years of experience as a coach, administrator and NCAA Division III advocate has been chosen to lead Berry’s high-performing athletic department. Angel Mason will officially begin her service as director of athletics June 1, concluding a successful national search.

“Building on her experience as a player and coach, Angel has established a strong national reputation through administrative positions at top colleges across the country and in her leadership work with the NCAA,” President Steve Briggs said. “She is well-poised to help our program flourish.”

Mason currently serves as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Pomona-Pitzer in California. At Berry, she will provide leadership for a program that has enjoyed tremendous success in the Southern Athletic Association and NCAA Division III. In 2017-18, Viking athletes won eight SAA team titles and qualified for nationals in 10 different sports. This academic year has produced additional SAA team championships in volleyball and football, six individual SAA crowns in swimming, seven conference wins in track and field, and national qualifiers in five sports (with more possible).

“I am excited to join a team of professionals that are focused on serving students first,” Mason said. “There is a bright future ahead for Vikings athletics, and I am honored to have the opportunity to grow with the athletic and greater campus community.”

Click here to learn more about Berry’s new director of athletics.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Alumni Weekend Brochure

Whit Whitaker

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include Whit Whitaker (81C), former Berry chief of staff and U.S. Navy officer, now president of King University.

The end of another academic year is fast approaching, meaning Alumni Weekend can’t be far behind. Hundreds of alumni will return home to Berry on May 17-19 for reunions honoring the high school, college and academy classes of 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969. A dinner for the college class of 1961 will also be held.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 17, with reunion dinners and continues through Sunday. Highlights include the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards and Golden Guard dinner on Saturday night.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement: Alexander “Whit” Whitaker (81C, FFS)
  • Service: Rebekah “Bekah” Fortney Baxter (18C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Timothy Brian Lusby (84C)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Adam Douglas Newton (07C)

Winners will be honored alongside the academy and college classes of 1969, which will be inducted into the Golden Guard in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Berry.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services and a closing reception for the Oak Hill exhibit, From Tree to Treasure: Woodturnings by Al Christopher (61c). The scene then shifts to Alumni Work Week, another grand Berry tradition, which continues through May 24.

Click the links below for online registration.

Alumni Weekend

Alumni Work Week

Bookmark and Share

Students Playing Frisbee at Ford
IN THE SHADOW OF AN ICON: The Ford Buildings have been a center of student life on the Berry campus since their construction in the 1920s. The English Gothic design of these gifts from Henry and Clara Ford have helped Berry earn wide acclaim as one of the most beautiful college campuses in America. Photo by student Alex Killingsworth.

The Ford Buildings have been drawing audible gasps from prospective students and other campus visitors since the days of Martha Berry herself, so it should come as no surprise that these breathtaking structures turned up on USA Today’s list of America’s “51 most amazing university and college buildings.” The list features one campus building from all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia), and wouldn’t you know it, the Ford Buildings were chosen to represent Georgia.

Click here to view the entire list, which also includes buildings on the campuses of Stanford University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Princeton, Duke and Yale, among others.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Berry Alumni LogoThank you to everyone who shared feedback with us through participation in our recent online alumni engagement survey! Your responses – logged March 25 to April 8 – have provided great insight as we continue to assess the types of events, resources and digital content alumni find most valuable.

Nearly 2,000 alumni took part, representing the classes of 1951, 2018 and almost every year in between. We are still in the process of sorting through your responses and will reach out soon to all who have expressed an interest in getting more involved.

As part of the survey, respondents had a chance to vote on a new Berry Alumni logo, and here is the one you chose! You will see this symbol – featuring our historic alumni shield – on alumni office mailings, brochures, t-shirts and more in the coming months.

Thanks again to everyone who voted on the logo and took part in our survey! If you missed the survey but have feedback you wish to share, drop us an email at alumni@berry.edu. We’re always excited to hear from you!

Bookmark and Share

Hannah Green in front of Captain Marvel marquee

Working in the costuming department for blockbusters such as Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and most recently Captain Marvel, Hannah Greene (06C) has played a big role in creating the costumes for some of our favorite superheroes.

The bright lights of Hollywood are a long way from the Berry campus, but the threads of her career tie directly to her work in the costume shop of the Berry College Theatre Company, where she fell in love with that particular aspect of production.

As a student, the visual communication major designed costumes for theatre and dance troupe productions. Upon graduation, her Berry experience helped her gain admission to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in costume design. She then used connections made in Los Angeles to begin her career in film, working her way up to Marvel Entertainment.

In her current role, Greene is responsible for sourcing all the fabrics used to create the characters’ costumes and coordinating between the fabric vendors, costume designer and sewers to make sure the final product matches the creative vision. When working on a Marvel movie, she has to create as many as five costumes for each actor and stunt double, depending on the action required and how well fabrics hold up in the elements.

“It’s been a lot of fun working on the superheroes, because you’re figuring out something that doesn’t exist,” Greene said. “You’re trying to create something that’s high tech and no one has ever seen before.”

Greene was deeply influenced by her Berry professors and is grateful for the mentoring provided by Associate Professor of Theatre Alice Bristow.

“Honestly I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without her,” she said. “She is amazing and such a great professor. She was the one who encouraged me to take costuming classes.”

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Parisa Khosravi and Buster Wright

Berry Trustee Buster Wright (73C), right, greets Parisa Khosravi, the latest speaker in the lecture series that bears his name.

Parisa Khosravi may not have literally moved mountains, but she has rerouted a commercial airline, covered the Iraq wars and Tiananmen Square, and promoted equality and acceptance as a leader at CNN. Earlier this spring, she shared her experience and insight with Berry students through the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture.

As an immigrant who lived through the 1979 Iranian revolution, a religious minority and a woman whose first language was not English, Khosravi had to overcome doubters who didn’t believe she was good enough to be a journalist. She refused to let them limit her potential, ultimately serving as CNN’s senior vice president of international news gathering, national news gathering, global relations and the first-ever ambassador for CNN Worldwide.

“Why would we ever allow someone else to tell us what we’re capable of?” she asked.

In her remarks, Khosravi emphasized how important it is to take care of your people and to treat them all with respect. She noted that she always made sure her employees kept tabs on their physical and mental health, especially when covering stories in war zones and other serious situations.

“As a leader, people need to know you are as good as your word and you will have their back,” she said. “And they will have your back too.”

Khosravi said that anyone can become a leader, but they have to be willing to work at it.

“People are not born leaders,” she stated. “We become leaders by how we handle ourselves in the valleys of life.”

The Cecil B. Wright III Lecture Series is an initiative of the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership, a major priority of Berry’s LifeReady Campaign.

While on campus, Khosravi sat for a brief interview focusing on integrity and other leadership-related issues. Click the video player above to view.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Always Berry Magnets

Barnwell Chapel

The renovation of Barnwell Chapel is one of many crowdfunding projects you can support this spring.

Support a crowdfunding project, snag a magnet!

Are you looking for a way to show your school spirit that’s absolutely unique to Berry? We’ve got the perfect thing – an “Always Berry” deer magnet. For a limited time only, you can get your own outdoor magnet with a gift of $5 or more to any of our spring crowdfunding projects. Make your gift at Berry Funder, and we’ll mail you a magnet for your car or fridge. Support two or more projects, and you get BOTH the doe and the buck!

Crowdfunding options range from the renovation of Barnwell Chapel to scholarships honoring Rufus Massey (75C) and Dr. Chaitram Singh. You can also make gifts supporting student entrepreneurship, study abroad, the Longleaf Pine Project and the David Shankles Student Emergency Relief Fund, among other options.

Visit Berry Funder today to make your gift and “join the herd.” Once you get your magnet, be sure to snap a photo and share on social media using the hashtag #AlwaysBerry.

Bookmark and Share

Alumni working in Berry College Archives

PRESERVING BERRY HISTORY: From left, Tom Butler (65A), Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C, FFS) and Claudette West Bearden (68C) organize documents in the Berry College Archives during a previous Alumni Work Week. This spring, Dr. Dickey’s daughter, Jennifer, will lead a new effort to collect oral histories from alumni in video form.

Jennifer Dickey

Jennifer Dickey

Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C) has spent much of her professional life studying the history of her high school and college alma mater. Now, in her role as Alumni Council vice president for Berry culture and heritage, she is spearheading a new project meant to further enrich our understanding of that history by incorporating the voices of alumni who have lived it.

Dickey, who serves as Berry’s history consultant in addition to her work as a professor of history at Kennesaw State University, will be working with the Alumni Council’s Heritage Committee to capture these memories in video form through oral histories that will be housed in the Berry College Archives and eventually could be made available online.

“There has never been a systematic, sustained effort to capture the experiences and memories of Berry alumni,” Dickey explained, noting that previous initiatives have been more narrowly focused. “We really want to try to go after everybody.”

The project will launch this May, with initial interviews taking place at Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week. After that, it will become an ongoing effort.

“This is not just a ‘Berry is great’ tale,” Dickey stated. “We want them to talk about all of their experiences here – the good and the bad.

“I think it’s going to be a really interesting project,” she added. “Everyone’s experience here is different, but there are a lot of commonalities too.”

Current Berry students will be helping with the project. If you’d like to be involved, email Dickey at jdickey2@kennesaw.edu.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share