Issues by Date: October 2015

Theatre Rendering: Interior

Architectural rendering of planned Berry theatre.

Plans to build a new theatre on campus have a champion in Berry Board of Visitors member Audrey Morgan. She has made a challenge commitment to match the first $1 million in gifts to the project dollar for dollar – if the $3.3 million needed for the new theatre is raised by June 30. Her goal is to put fundraising on the fast track so that construction can begin next summer.

Audrey Morgan Portrait

Audrey Morgan

“We learn so much about who we are as individuals and as a community through the arts,” Morgan said. “I am honored to help bring facilities to Berry that will give such wonderful, talented students new opportunity to grow artistically and personally. These improvements in support of the arts are important for the students and community at Berry and need to happen soon.”

News of Morgan’s challenge was met with excitement on social media and rousing applause during Mountain Day performances of The Nerd, the first production of Berry’s 2015-16 theatre season.

The planned theatre, an addition to Blackstone Hall, will provide a comfortable setting for an audience of 312. A modified thrust stage will be supported by state-of-the-art lighting, sound and curtain systems. A $1.9 million renovation of the main floor of Blackstone Hall will follow, providing a large acting studio/classroom, updated scene shop with paint booth, costume shop with dye area, dressing areas, meeting space, and offices.

Gifts (which literally will be doubled by the match – up to the first $1 million received) can be made online or by contacting Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at Be sure to direct your gift to the theatre/Blackstone Hall project.

Visit the LifeReady website for project details.

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Berry’s first season in Valhalla – the new on-campus stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field – has been memorable, to say the least, with a perfect 4-0 record at home propelling the Viking football team to first place in the Southern Athletic Association.

The tone was set in the inaugural game against LaGrange College – a 16-13 overtime thriller won by Berry on Mitchell Blanchard’s 38-yard field goal in overtime. That kick capped an impressive comeback by the Vikings, who forced overtime with a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute of play. Afterward, many in the standing-room only crowd of 4,500 joined players in singing the Alma Mater before fireworks brought a fitting end to the day.

Before kickoff, hundreds gathered for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and the first-ever “Viking Walk” of players through the Valhalla gate. Trustee Steve Cage (74C), whose lead gift through the LifeReady Campaign initiated fundraising for the venue, addressed the crowd.

“The students are the heart of this project,” he said. “Martha Berry provided us all a wonderful educational opportunity. We have great faculty and terrific leadership. Valhalla will give students great experiences, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Since the opener, Berry has defeated Rhodes College, Washington University of St. Louis and Hendrix College on the Williams Field turf. The final home game of the regular season will be played Saturday, Nov. 14, against Centre College. Purchase tickets online at

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Barry Griswell Portrait

Barry Griswell

A life lived at the “intersection of business achievement and community/social change with an emphasis on how ethical leadership and hard work cultivate and benefit both” has helped Berry Trustee J. Barry Griswell (71C) earn placement on a worldwide list of 100 influential leaders honored by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The former Berry basketball player who later served as chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group was nominated by Dr. John Grout, dean of Berry’s Campbell School of Business, to join the distinguished group, which represents 21 countries and more than 20 different business sectors.

“Everybody’s Berry degree becomes more valuable when they perform in the workplace, and no one has done that better than Barry Griswell,” Grout praised. “He has raised the stock of everyone who has graduated from Berry and continues to do so.”

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It takes more than torrential rains to put a damper on Mountain Day. Despite cancellations, rescheduling and mud – lots of mud – the annual celebration of Martha Berry’s birthday was a successful and enjoyable event.

More than 200 alumni representing 12 classes took part in Saturday morning’s Mega Reunion Brunch – held in Ford Dining Hall due to the rain – while approximately 1,600 turned out for the traditional Saturday afternoon picnic, which were relocated to Krannert Center from the mountain campus (the Grand March was postponed until spring).

A break in the rain allowed attendees to enjoy the Marthapalooza carnival rides in Clara Bowl for several hours late Saturday afternoon. That night, a crowd of nearly 3,700 braved the damp conditions at Valhalla stadium to cheer the Berry football team to a 20-13 victory over Washington University of St. Louis.

Other weekend highlights included a lively convocation presentation by Tony Brown (79C), an acclaimed actor, Southern Baptist minister, and Berry speech and theatre alumnus. Mountain Day Photo Gallery

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Collin McHugh PitchingBrad Bohannon Portrait

Two Berry baseball alumni found themselves in the national spotlight this month, one as a player and the other as a coach.

Collin McHugh (09c), left, became the first former Viking to reach Major League Baseball’s postseason, pitching two games for the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series after tallying 19 wins in the regular season, third best in the majors. Read more.

Brad Bohannon (98C), meanwhile, was named National Assistant Coach of the Year by Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association for his work at the University of Kentucky. Read more.

Photos courtesy of the Houston Astros and the University of Kentucky

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Charlie MorganCharlie Morgan never imagined when he chose Berry that his “head, heart and hands” experience would involve a flock of 200 Red Star hens. As general manager of Blue Hen Eggs, the senior history major is responsible for the day-to-day operations of an innovative free-range, grass-fed egg enterprise based in a mobile chicken coop on The Berry Farms property across from main campus. In its first year, the new student enterprise has already developed a strong following among the general public and local restaurants.

“It’s been a blast,” Morgan said. “There was a learning curve, as I’d never been around poultry before, but it felt good to learn something I didn’t know before and make money at it. I found out I like the business side of things and can run a business if I have someone to show me the basics.”

Through involvement with Blue Hen Eggs, Morgan discovered an interest in business management he hopes to cultivate after graduation. A summer internship further narrowed his focus to digital marketing. He credits Berry for helping him to find his niche.

“I’m studying history, I have a job in agriculture, and I’ve learned how to work in conventional business settings,” he said. “I’ve gotten the whole package.”

Click here to read more about the growing presence of Berry’s student enterprises in the local marketplace.

Story by Maxine Donnelly, senior student writer, philanthropic communications; image by student photographer Sara Leimbach

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Do you know someone who is worthy of recognition through the Berry Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards? If so, stop reading NOW and complete the online nomination form. The deadline for consideration is Oct. 31.

Nominations may be submitted in any of the following categories:

  • Distinguished Achievement
  • Distinguished Service
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Outstanding Young Alumni

Past winners

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Brin Enterkin PhotoThe Huffington Post recently published a first-person blog by Brin Enterkin (12C), the 2015 recipient of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Enterkin (at left in photo) shared her experiences – and the lessons she’s learned – as cofounder of The African SOUP, a nonprofit started while she was a student at Berry to aid the people of Uganda. Read more.

Photo courtesy of The African SOUP

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Mary Hall as seen in NBC's ConstantineThere’s nothing like a fall day on the world’s largest campus – but be sure to pack your boots! That’s the takeaway from our most recent Alumni Accent poll, in which more than half of all respondents (53 percent, to be exact) said hiking to the reservoir was the ideal way to spend a fall day at Berry. Exploring the campus was a distant second with 19 percent, followed by relaxing in an Adirondack chair or hammock (after class, of course) with 14 percent.

This month, we take our cue from the “spirit” of the season. We’ve all heard the story of the Green Lady and other Berry specters. It’s time for something new. If you were writing your own Berry ghost story, what campus location would provide the perfect setting? Scroll to the blog footer to let us know.

If you need inspiration, check out the accompanying image of Mary Hall standing in as “Ravenscar: Psychiatric Facility for the Mentally Deranged” in a 2014 NBC pilot. Now THAT’S creepy!

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