Animal Science Rendering

GREAT SPACES: Above is an architectural rendering of the new animal science building to be constructed adjacent to McAllister Hall (seen in background). Below you can see the results of the soon-to-be-completed renovation of Ford Auditorium.

Momentum is growing behind the final capital priority in LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity, and we have YOU to thank for it! Significant alumni support of previous projects – accounting for 39% of all campaign gifts received to date – has inspired a $4 million grant from an Atlanta-based foundation supporting construction of a new teaching and research facility for animal science. That grant propelled fundraising for the project to nearly 90% of the $15.7 million goal, increasing the likelihood that construction will begin in 2020.

Alumni support throughout the campaign has been impressive, helping to fund new and renovated facilities, programmatic enhancements, and generous scholarships. Here is a quick glimpse of the advances you have made possible for Berry students. Thank you!

Ford Auditorium Renovation

This image provides a dramatic view of the beautiful new ceiling in Ford Auditorium’s Betty Anne Rouse Bell Recital Hall.

One example of the power of your collective generosity is the $6.3 million Ford Auditorium renovation. To date, gifts have been made by more than 500 donors, many of them alumni. Work on that project has been ongoing throughout the summer and fall, with completion expected in a few weeks’ time. Already, students and faculty are marveling at the breathtaking beauty of the newly installed wooden ceiling, which will significantly enhance the acoustical experience in the 91-year-old structure for performers and audience members alike.

In that same way, the new animal science building will enhance experiences for students in Berry’s largest major. The 23,000-square-foot structure will be located adjacent to McAllister Hall, encouraging new opportunities for research collaboration across the sciences even as it provides much-needed classroom and laboratory space for one of Berry’s most distinctive majors. Visit the project website to learn more about the promise and potential of this exciting new facility.

Bookmark and Share

Tennis Center with Rendering of Indoor Courts

COURTING SUCCESS: An aerial view of the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. A rendering of the new indoor courts now under construction can be seen at the top of the photo.

In the winter issue of Berry magazine, we reported that a best-in-class branded hotel would soon rise on Berry-owned property adjacent to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. College leaders and Marriott International have now confirmed that construction on a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott will begin next fall, with completion expected in 2021. The 100-room hotel will be managed by Atlanta-based Hotel Equities.

“Based upon our market analysis of room demand in Rome, plus the demand of tennis center and college events, there is a clear need for a hotel in this area,” said President Steve Briggs. “And in keeping with Berry’s mission, there will be numerous job opportunities for students, from front desk and reception to the service areas.”

Read more about the planned hotel.

This news comes on the heels of the City of Rome’s decision earlier this year to move forward with plans for six indoor courts at the center, which is already one of the largest facilities of its type in the United States. The availability of indoor courts will make the facility even more competitive when bidding for major national events such as the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s and Women’s Championships, which will return to Rome in 2020 and 2021.

The center, a public-private partnership between Berry and other entities, has hosted thousands of players and spectators for local, state, regional, national and international events since opening in 2016 as a 60-court facility on 30 acres of Berry-donated property adjacent to Mount Berry Mall. It is also home to Berry’s intercollegiate tennis teams and has played host to Georgia High School Association state championship matches.

This fall, it was one of the few complexes nationally to earn United States Tennis Association recognition as an “Outstanding Tennis Facility.”

Bookmark and Share

Berry Trailblazers

Dr. Beverly Smith (front left) and Evelyn Hamilton are all smiles at the gala celebrating the anniversary of their historic graduation from Berry.

Two distinguished alumnae – Evelyn Hamilton (69C) and Dr. Beverly Philpot Smith (69C, FFS) – shared the spotlight at a November gala marking the 50th anniversary of Berry’s first African-American graduates.

A crowd of 150 students, alumni, community leaders and friends took part in the Trailblazer Gala, hosted by the Berry African American Alumni Chapter in collaboration with the alumni office. Noted television personality Judge Glenda A. Hatchett delivered keynote remarks at the event, held in Oak Hill’s Christopher Browning Pavilion. In attendance were many students and alumni who have benefitted from a donor-funded scholarship named for the history-making graduates. Facebook photo gallery

Hamilton, who earned a B.S. in home economics from Berry, is retired from the Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services.

“I can remember my first day at Berry because it was the beginning of something that had never happened in Rome or Floyd County before,” Hamilton recalled of Berry’s integration, which began in 1964 under the leadership of then-President John R. Bertrand. “The atmosphere was not what I thought it was going to be from watching other states and colleges that had integrated. You saw the violence, the water, the dogs and that kind of stuff, but we had none of that when we entered on the first day here at Berry.”

Smith, who graduated from Berry with a B.A. in English, is a retired educator.

“Berry has made it possible for me not only to be an asset for the community, but for myself and for the family that I have now,” she said. “I have 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. My children are very productive; they’re supervisors and managers. I used to take them to classes with me and they had to sit across the hall in empty classrooms because I told them education is extremely important and you don’t ever stop learning.”

Watch the video above for more from these incredible women. If you would like to honor their courage with a gift to the Hamilton/Smith Scholarship, visit

We are pleased to acknowledge the following Gala Committee members for their passion and hard work in bringing this event to fruition: Brenda Thompson (88C), Darcel Ivey (90C), Terri Colson Earls (85C), Chrystal Murray Robinson (90C), Jackie Lawrence Echols (90c), Lee-Anda Hutchens Uter (92C), Hester Parks (95C) and Lisa Fraley Rasheed (90C).

Bookmark and Share

Junior pre-med major Justus Edwards became a social-media sensation this fall when he returned to Centre College – site of a serious injury suffered last year – and walked to the very spot on the field where he went down. A video clip shared by Centre was quickly picked up by ESPN, ABC World News Tonight and others, highlighting the courage and determination Edwards’ teammates, coaches and fellow students know so well. Watch the video above for more on his story, courtesy of 11 Alive News in Atlanta.

Edwards’ teammates on the Berry football team continue to draw inspiration from his example, winning a fourth consecutive Southern Athletic Association championship and returning to the NCAA Division III national playoffs for the third straight year. Many players earned individual recognition as a result, led by record-setting wide receiver Mason Kinsey, an All-Region selection who on Jan. 18 will join some of the top performers from all divisions at the prestigious East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Volleyball All-Americans

From left, Emily Hancock, Carson VanKampen and Laura Beier earned All-America recognition for their contributions on the volleyball court this season.

Berry volleyball also enjoyed another standout season, winning the SAA Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA playoffs for the third year in a row behind the All-American trio of Carson VanCampen (first team), Laura Beier (third team) and Emily Hancock (honorable mention).

Other fall standouts included Meredith Herman, a national cross-country qualifier for the second consecutive year, and men’s soccer player Jake Williamson, who earned All-Region honors after setting a school record for goals in the NCAA era with 18 for the season and 41 in his career.

Visit for complete coverage of Berry athletics.

Bookmark and Share

Trejohn Skinner and InToneNationTrejohn Skinner

WINNING ENSEMBLE: Trejohn Skinner (top left) and InToneNation.

Trejohn Skinner is no stranger to beautiful music, having competed with one of the nation’s top a cappella groups as a student at New Manchester High School in Douglasville, Ga.

In October, the Berry freshman and InToneNation soared once again, claiming runner-up honors at the international Varsity Vocals AcaOpen in New York City. Impressively, they were the only high school group in the competition.

Because he was still in high school at the time of qualification, Skinner was able to join his old friends for the competition. He said it was a little intimidating to be the only high school group in contention, but they knew they deserved to be there.

The group began competing Skinner’s sophomore year, drawing inspiration from the movie Pitch Perfect. By his senior year, they were national high school champions.

“When we started out it was really scary, because a lot of the groups had been doing it for a while and had won championships, but once we did it, it was really fun,” he said.

Skinner, who also performed in Six Flags Over Georgia’s summer production, Rhythm & Grooves, is excited to be pursuing his dream of a career in music education at Berry. Drawn by the welcoming nature of the campus and the quality of the music department, he is already lending his voice to such ensembles as the Berry Singers, Berry Men’s Choir and Berry Voices. His goal is to one day educate and encourage young performers, just as his teachers have done for him.

“I saw the impact my high school choral director had on his students’ lives,” he said. “And I wanted to be able to do that too.”

You can see InToneNation in action in this YouTube video. The group also has an album, The Beginning, available on all music platforms.

 Read more: Singers from New Manchester High School win title as best in U.S.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Eric McDowell and Hannah Avery in "Proof"FAMILY DYNAMICS: Professor of Mathematics Dr. Eric McDowell performs with on-stage daughter Hannah Avery during the Berry College Theatre Company’s recent production, “Proof.”

Eric McDowell in "Proof"Anyone who has ever studied mathematics with Dr. Eric McDowell will tell you he brings a theatrical flair to his teaching. He has even gone so far as to collaborate with students on ingeniously creative (and award-winning!) videos that educate as they entertain.

In November, the longtime Berry faculty member stepped out of the classroom and onto the Sisters Theatre stage in a role seemingly created just for him. Acting alongside students Hannah Avery, Andy Sphar and Katie Cooley, McDowell infused elements of his own personality into “Robert,” a recently deceased mathematician beset by mental illness in his final years whose relationship with his daughter is the crux of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof.

“I could just have easily been playing a history professor or a writing teacher, I don’t think it would have really mattered,” McDowell said. “The personality I put into Robert is very much my own. I see a lot of me in him anyway. How much of that is the mathematician I don’t know.”

McDowell’s fascination with acting dates to a childhood role in The Sound of Music. A 30-year hiatus followed high school, but recent years have found him performing in such local productions as Spamalot, Into the Woods and Almost, Maine. His Berry College Theatre Company debut came about as the result of a request by guest director Jon Royal, who sought an obvious age difference between “Robert” and the student performers.

The experience left McDowell profoundly impressed by all aspects of Berry theatre.

“My favorite part of the process was watching the other three actors perform and being so impressed with how talented they are,” he reflected. “It was my first look inside Berry theatre, and everybody is so professional in their work.”

Student media: Actors display “raw” emotions in Proof

Reporting by student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Gift of Berry

WHAT A SELECTION! This body scrub is one of many gifts available through Berry Student Enterprises.

You can give the gift of Berry this holiday season with handcrafted items made by Berry Student Enterprises. The online store managed by the students has many products including cheeses, beef rubs, beeswax lotion and candles, body scrubs, beard oil, and much more.

For the holiday season, the Student Enterprises are happy to include a greeting card with a personalized message with any online order. They are selling limited-edition Christmas body scrubs and soaps, all handmade and festively scented.

“It’s almost like Santa’s workshop, with an assembly line at the enterprises every year, shipping gifts to alumni,” said Ben Lord, student director of the Berry Enterprises.

They are willing to create specially made baskets, perfect for client gifts or to show off your alma mater to non-Berry friends. Just call 706-378-2932 to talk with the students about what special requests you have in mind.

“It’s cool for people to be able to show off gifts from their school, so we are going to give them that opportunity,” Lord said.

Christmas delivery is guaranteed for any orders placed before Monday, Dec. 16.

Shop now: Visit the online store

Bookmark and Share