Issues by Date: May 2015

Berry College Welcome CenterA changing of the guard took place at the college entrance this spring as Berry’s newly minted Welcome Center greeted its first guests and the familiar 1960s era gatehouse enjoyed one last moment in the sun.

Funded through gifts to the LifeReady Campaign, the Welcome Center is designed to make the campus both more welcoming and more secure. Student hosts stand ready to provide information and assistance as visitors check in under a covered portico, while a sophisticated security system using Radio Frequency Identification technology (to be activated later this summer) will allow student, faculty and staff vehicles to pass through. Berry police also maintain an active presence in the facility, which houses the central campus fire alarm, emergency call center and weather warning system.

You Name It -- GatehouseWith the new Welcome Center now in place, the gatehouse was demolished in early May, but not before getting one last hurrah. Spring graduate Ashley Rene Swanson (15C) won the right to name the venerable structure before its demise with a gift to “You Name It,” a program offering off-the-wall naming opportunities to those making a minimum $5 donation to the Annual Fund. She is seen here accepting the gatehouse “key” from Berry President Steve Briggs.

Visit You Name it for information on other naming opportunities. Harry Musselwhite’s iconic beard and Ouida Dickey’s immortal red pen already have been claimed, but several others remain.

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Gordon CarperThe late Dr. Gordon Carper spent the better part of his life guiding Berry students, so it’s only fitting that the new mentoring program within the college’s budding Integrity in Leadership Center bear his name.

“Nothing gave Dr. Carper more pleasure than to see his students do well,” said Dr. Keith Parsons (74C), professor of philosophy at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, capturing the essence of a man who positively influenced the lives of countless students during his 38 years teaching history and political science at Berry.

The Gordon and Joyce Carper Integrity in Leadership Mentoring Program honors that legacy by providing opportunities for students to gather regularly in small groups with community mentors for in-depth discussion, case studies and other activities. In 2014-15, a total of 60 students met with 15 mentors; the eventual goal of the program – just completing its second year – is to increase those numbers to 200 and 40, respectively, with students from all Berry majors participating. More than 70 students already have been accepted for 2015-16.

“Leadership is one of the most overused words in our culture today, yet most of the living examples we see in the media represent leadership that is bad, unethical, self-serving, and at best, ineffective,” said mentor and Berry trustee Cecil “Buster” Wright (73C). “The mentor program was created to expose Berry students to intellectual and experiential learning about what ethical leadership really is.”

Wright, a retired regional president for Wells Fargo Advisors, has been a force behind the Integrity in Leadership Center, believing strongly in the college’s unique ability to foster both qualities in young people. He also has played a significant role in the development of the mentoring program, recruiting the community leaders who serve as mentors and helping to shape its curriculum and procedures.

Look for more in the summer issue of Berry magazine. Gifts to the program in memory of Dr. Carper can be made at

Media coverage: Mentoring program connects students, community leaders

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Hundreds of alumni and friends made their way “home” May 15-17 for Alumni Weekend, with many remaining on campus in the days that followed for the 30th annual observance of Alumni Work Week.

Eight different classes celebrated reunions, with two – 1965A and 1965C – joining the ranks of Berry’s Golden Guard (a distinction reserved for alumni who have been out at least 50 years). Excellence was rewarded with presentation of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s winners included:

David Grindle (93C), Distinguished Achievement
Joy Padgett Johnson (73C), Distinguished Service
Jeff Jahn (07C), Entrepreneurial Spirit
Brin Enterkin (12C), Outstanding Young Alumni

Alumni WeekendOther individuals singled out for special recognition included retiring Director of Choral Activities Harry Musselwhite and longtime baseball coach David Beasley, Berry’s newest honorary alumni. Bettyann O’Neill and Joni Kenyon were honored with the Alumni Association President’s Award, while Tom Raulerson (66C) received the Berry High Schools/Berry Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award.

The big winner among the reunion classes was the college class of 1965, which claimed the Viking Cup (highest giving percentage), Ford Cup (highest total amount given) and Heritage Cup (greatest increase in Berry Heritage Society membership). The Reunion Cup (highest percentage attendance) went to the academy class of 1965, while the college class of 1955 won the Martha Cup (greatest percentage increase in gifts). The total amount of reunion gifts contributed by all classes was an impressive $1.16 million.

Photos: Alumni Weekend

Media coverage: Berry alumni return for Work Week

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Berry Equestrian ChampionsBerry’s equestrian program is once again tops in the nation, winning the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s western nationals for the second time in five years with help from individual championships by Amanda Petersen (intermediate horsemanship) and Mariel Wrench (novice horsemanship). The team championship was the seventh overall for Berry student-athletes.

Other spring highlights included a No. 4 national finish in men’s golf and a first-ever NCAA Division III national tournament appearance in women’s softball. Both teams won Southern Athletic Association tournament championships, with women’s softball setting a new benchmark for wins with 34 after placing second in the NCAA’s Atlanta Regional.

Visit for complete coverage of Berry athletics.

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Christy Snider

Dr. Christy Snider

Zach Sherwin

Zach Sherwin

A longtime member of Berry’s history faculty and an innovative young alumnus found themselves in the spotlight this spring as recipients of the 2015 Martindale Awards of Distinction. These special awards were endowed by Susan Byrd Martindale (73C) and her husband, Larry, to reward faculty/staff members who promote continuous improvement, implement innovative approaches to problem solving and inspire others to extraordinary achievement.

In winning the Martindale Award for faculty, Associate Professor of History Christy Snider was praised for leading by example, encouraging students and bringing about positive changes to Berry’s history curriculum. Staff Martindale recipient Zach Sherwin (10C) was lauded as a behind-the-scenes innovator with an “unsurpassed sense of logic” who excels as assistant director of enterprise systems.

Other spring honorees included:

  • Dr. Christopher Diller, professor of English, rhetoric and writing, Vulcan Teach Excellence Award
  • Dr. Bob Frank, associate professor of communication, Eleana M. Garrett Award for Meritorious Advising and Caring
  • Dr. Sandy Meek, Dana professor of English, rhetoric and writing, Mary S. and Samuel Poe Carden Award
  • Dr. Chris Hall, associate professor of biology, Dave and Lu Garrett Award for Meritorious Teaching
  • Julie Bumpus, associate dean of students, Outstanding Staff Member (as selected by SGA)
  • Dr. Peter Yoder, visiting assistant professor of Christian studies, Outstanding Faculty Member (as selected by SGA)
  • Starr Boylan (93C), senior admissions counselor, John R. Bertrand Superior Student Work Supervisor Award

Additionally, Frank and Bumpus joined fellow retirees Jere Lykins and Harry Musselwhite in being granted emeritus recognition by the Berry College Board of Trustees.

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MS Walk

Berry football coach Tony Kunczewski with Associate Dean of Students and MS Walk co-captain Julie Bumpus.

Berry football coach Tony Kunczewski took aim at a very different kind of opponent this spring, sharing his family’s fight against multiple sclerosis to help raise awareness of the disease. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Georgia chapter spotlighted the Berry coach on its website, relating his late mother’s experience with MS in a story by Georgiann Caruso.

“Sports were a huge part of my life growing up, and I think a big reason why they’re still a major part of my life is that I never took being able to walk, run, throw or do anything athletic for granted – because I saw my mom in a wheelchair all those years,” said Kunczewski, who also puts foot to pavement through active involvement in the annual on-campus MS Walk. “One of my goals is to pass on her legacy, and that’s why it’s important for me to volunteer and try to find help for others who are battling this disease.”

By Maxine Donnelly, Philanthropic Communications Editorial Assistant

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Oak Hill Director Tim BrownThe Garden Club of Georgia recently honored the gardens of Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum with the Landscape Design Award, its top annual distinction. Selected by the independent Landscape Design Consultants Council of Georgia, the award recognizes the most outstanding example of landscape design in the state. In choosing the winner, consideration is given to the garden’s benefit to the community, year-round beauty and the work required to maintain its beauty.

Oak Hill Director Tim Brown (pictured) received an individual award, the club’s Seal of Honor, in recognition of his contributions to the overall success of gardens in Georgia.

If you’re planning to visit Oak Hill this summer, be sure to include time for Menaboni’s Birds: Georgia’s Own Artist as Naturalist, an exhibition of 37 paintings by artist Athos Menaboni currently on display in The Martha Berry Museum.


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Taylor Moore

Taylor Moore, Viking Creations' student CEO

Students working for the Viking Creations on-campus enterprise have restored an age-old handicraft to Berry, weaving scarves, blankets, towels, rugs and ties that would make any fashion connoisseur or interior decorator jealous. This summer, they get to showcase their handiwork – and celebrate Berry’s century-old weaving tradition – in “Continuous Threads: 200 Years of Georgia Textiles,” an exhibit at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford, Ga. Joy Padgett Johnson (73C), a mentor, business plan advisor and product marketing coach for the student weavers, helped arrange Berry’s participation in the exhibit, which is scheduled for June 15 to Aug. 30.

Viking Creations was established in 2011 with help from the “Sunshine Room,” a local group of volunteer weavers who graduated from Berry. Click here to purchase student-woven products online.

By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student assistant

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Nepal Earthquake AftermathAlyssa Nobles (12C) knew Nepal was on the itinerary when she first set out for Adventure in Missions’ yearlong World Race, but her visit took on a very different tone after an April earthquake rocked the mountainous region – killing thousands – just two days before she was set to arrive. When she finally set foot in the disaster zone more than a week later, it was in the role of relief worker. She got quite a scare of her own when a second major quake struck. Through her service, Nobles’ faith was affirmed by the resiliency of the people she encountered.Alyssa Nobles in Nepal

Reflecting on a church service she attended, she wrote in her blog:  “As I look around, I see the group of children gathered on several rugs spread out just for them. Their hands are lifted high and they are singing praises to the God of the universe that literally made the ground shake beneath their feet just two weeks ago. And I am absolutely amazed at the faith and the joy and the peace of these people.”

Nobles left Nepal in late May bound for Malaysia. She is the daughter of Randy (80C, 85G) and Kathryn Dugger Nobles (82C, FS).

Media coverage: “We are aiding in relief in whatever way we can”

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Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten shared this stunning view of the Ford Buildings on Twitter.

The most recent Alumni Accent poll drew a record number of responses to the question, “Which famous Berry visitor would you most like to have met? The winner was the Rough Rider himself, Teddy Roosevelt, with 29 percent of the vote. Next, with 19 percent, was Amelia Earhart, followed closely by Maria Von Trapp of Sound of Music fame with 16 percent. Henry Ford and Helen Keller tied for fourth, each with 14 percent, followed by Ty Cobb (6 percent) and Tony Dungy (2 percent).

This month, we keep the focus on campus visitors – this time of the Hollywood variety. Taking our cue from Berry’s latest foray into show business as the setting for a new ABC/Disney television pilot, Kingmakers, we want to know which actor or actress with a Berry connection you’d most like to see make a return engagement. Scroll to the blog footer to cast your vote.

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