Issues by Date: May 2016

Equestrian Champions

Berry riders (from left) AnnaLee Cooley, Emily Lambert, Elizabeth Poczobut, Sarah Cooper and Allie Robertson.

The Berry equestrian team is closing in on “dynasty” status after claiming its second national championship in a row – and third in five years – at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Western Nationals. Berry also competed nationally in softball and men’s golf this spring, with the softball team finishing with the best record in its history, 39-8, and hosting an NCAA Division III regional for the first time.

This year’s equestrian title was shared with St. Andrews University after the two teams finished the four-day competition tied with 19 total points. Five other teams finished within four points of the leaders, including Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Oregon State University.

“Winning the national championship for the third time in five years is such an honor,” said Berry coach Margaret Knight. “I’m so proud of my team this year and how hard everyone worked to defend the title. We are truly blessed!”

Four riders scored points for Berry in the team competition: sophomore AnnaLee Cooley (first, Advanced Western Horsemanship), freshman Sarah Cooper (second, Novice Western Horsemanship), junior Elizabeth Poczobut (second, Open Western Horsemanship) and freshman Allie Robertson (fifth, Intermediate Western Horsemanship). Poczobut also competed in Open Reining, finishing eighth, while freshman Emily Lambert matched that placement in Beginner Western Horsemanship.

Individually, Poczobut claimed a No. 5 national finish in the High Point Western Rider competition, while Berry’s lone hunt-seat competitor – senior Mallory Hammer – was ninth in Open Equitation on the Flat.

Visit for complete coverage of all Berry athletics.

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Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert.

Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert

Berry’s strong history of executive leadership continued with the election of J. Barry Griswell (71C) as chair and Rick Gilbert (77c) as vice chair of the college’s Board of Trustees. They succeed Karen Holley Horrell (74C) and Cecil B. “Buster” Wright (73C), who continue active service as trustees after completing their second terms as chair and vice chair, respectively.

Griswell, a trustee since 2003, is the retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and a past winner of the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Award, among his many honors. Gilbert, who has served on the board since 2008, is an entrepreneurial investor in several businesses and co-founder of Atlanticus Holdings Corp. Both are married to Berry alumna, Griswell to the former Michele Irwin (70C) and Gilbert to the former Debra Bourne (76C).

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The Berry Alumni Association recently honored some of the best and brightest in our alumni family with Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s winners include:

Distinguished Achievement
Roger Lusby III (79C)

Distinguished Service
Joy Bernice Ogle Whaley (53H)

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Tricia Steele (09C)

Outstanding Young Alumni
Chris R. Hayes (04C)

Watch the accompanying video to hear from our winners. More will be featured in the fall issue of Berry magazine.

Nominations for the 2017 awards are now being accepted. Click here for details.

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Scott Colley PortraitA voice from Berry’s past offered insight for the future during the largest spring commencement ceremony in college history. Addressing approximately 470 graduates and a huge crowd of family and friends gathered on the Evans Hall lawn, former president and honorary alumnus J. Scott Colley praised Berry’s current leadership and stressed the continuing relevance of the college’s “head, heart and hands” approach to education in today’s uncertain times.

Harking back to his own upbringing in the shadow of World War II, the Cold War and segregation in his native Virginia, Colley noted, “The world was wobbling in those days, and you know what? It wobbles still. Moments of crisis and threat are the very times to use our brains and to employ our learning. Such times are hardly occasions for us to take leave of our senses. … My hope is that our graduates will employ what they’ve already learned at Berry in both the near and long terms as they respond to the obligations of citizenship.”

During his visit, Berry’s seventh president was honored with the unveiling of a portrait of him standing in the Ford Archway that will hang in Memorial Library. He also learned that a scholarship has been endowed in his name by three Berry vice presidents he mentored during his presidency – Debbie Heida, Bettyann O’Neill and Dr. Kathy Richardson.

Additional coverage: Commencement photo gallery

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Associate Professor Ron Taylor has earned some of Berry’s most notable awards for his interactive teaching approach and willingness to use outside-the-box methods to inspire his students to get creative – literally – in developing solutions to difficult mathematical concepts. Now the local media is joining the chorus of praise. Recently, reporters at Atlanta’s NBC affiliate marveled at his latest teaching tool – origami. Click the video to learn more about how he’s helping students view mathematics in an entirely new way.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Kirsten Taylor, left, and Ginger Swann

Kirsten Taylor, left, and Ginger Swann

A respected leader among the faculty and a comforting presence for Berry’s student-athletes earned well-deserved recognition as the 2016 recipients of the Martindale Awards of Distinction. Associate Professor and Department Chair of Government and International Studies Kirsten Taylor won praise as the faculty Martindale recipient for her efforts to help foster consensus among colleagues on such controversial topics as general education reform. Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine Ginger Swann (93C) was lauded as the staff winner for her impressive ability to maximize resources and maintain high standards while providing innovative and personal care to more than 400 student-athletes each year.

Other faculty/staff award recipients included:

  • Dr. Martin Goldberg, retiring senior lecturer of animal science and college veterinarian, Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award
  • Dr. Nancy Edwards, assistant professor of teacher education, Eleana M. Garrett Award for Meritorious Advising
  • Dr. Kevin Hoke, associate professor of chemistry, Mary S. and Samuel Poe Carden Award
  • Dr. Michael Bailey, associate professor of government and international studies, Dave and Lu Garrett Award in Teaching
  • Alan Storey, retiring director of photographic services and community relations, SGA Staff Member of the Year
  • Dr. Randy Richardson, communication lecturer and forensics director, SGA Faculty Member of the Year
  • Kevin Ellis, barn manager for Gunby Equine Center, John R. Bertrand Superior Student Work Supervisor Award
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Lunar LemonIn our last issue, we shared the story of the “Lunar Lemon,” a 1986 Chevy Astro van transformed into an endurance racer by creative technologies students and faculty working out of Berry’s HackBerry Lab. After earning  “Eternal Optimist” recognition for its debut performance in the “24 Hours of LeMons” racing series (limited to vehicles valued at $500 or less), the space-themed Lemon soared to even greater heights in its second outing. This time, the Berry entry claimed the prestigious “Index of Effluency” award for accomplishing “the most with the least” after completing 217 laps – approximately 500 miles – at a track in South Carolina. The student-led team earned a cash prize for its efforts and automatic entry into the next race in September.

Related Content: President’s Essay – Just imagine!

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Sidney Elston coxing Kate Allen, Emma Dusseau, Maddy Jarvis and Jordan Senn during the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association spring regatta.

Sidney Elston, Rachel Muehlfeld, Emily Melchior and Elizabeth Blakely.

Sidney Elston, Rachel Muehlfeld, Emily Melchior and Elizabeth Blakely.

Two boats representing Berry’s Viking Crew qualified for final-round competition in the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association spring regatta, an annual event attracting more than 300 entries for two days of racing in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

In women’s varsity action, seniors Elizabeth Blakely and Emily Melchior teamed with juniors Rachel Muehlfeld and Sidney Elston for a first-place finish in the “C” finals, beating Texas A&M, N.C. State, Liberty, Texas and Samford. The all-freshman crew of Kate Allen, Emma Dusseau, Maddy Jarvis and Jordan Senn (pictured above) placed fifth in the women’s novice “B” finals ahead of the likes of Murray State, Clemson, Auburn, Tulane and N.C. State.

“We are very proud of all of our rowers,” said Blakely, a graduating senior who this year served as co-president of the student-run team with Melchior. “The majority of the schools we raced have multiple coaches and new, faster racing shells. Our successes at SIRA showed the hard work and dedication of the Berry Viking Crew team; we are very proud to call ourselves Vikings!”

Photos courtesy of student Kyle Rubin.

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Berry MagazineThe results are in, and Berry magazine once again ranks among the best alumni publications in the Southeast according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). This year, Berry topped all entries from institutions with enrollments under 5,000 to win the Grand Award in nine-state District III. To celebrate, we did what we always do – put out another issue! If you haven’t received your copy, it should be hitting your mailbox soon. If you can’t wait that long, click the accompanying cover image to view the publication online.

While the creative team behind Berry magazine would love to take ALL the credit for the publication’s success, the truth is you make it easy. From Hollywood production designer Julie Walker (98C) to Silicon Valley “whiz kids” Kyle Henderson (05C) and Derek Carter (05C) to servant-leader extraordinaire Cheryl Holt Naja (78C), our alumni have amazing stories, and it’s our privilege to share them.

As you’re thumbing through the current issue, don’t forget to send us a “status update” of your own for future publication. Just email your news (with class year) to

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Then-President John Bertrand (center) and other members of the campus community celebrate Berry's first national championship.

Then-President John Bertrand (center) and other members of the campus community celebrate Berry’s first national championship.

Jason Sweatt (88C) is on a roll, winning our trivia challenge for the second issue in a row by correctly noting that Berry’s 1976 national championship – the first in school history came in women’s basketball. Those special alumnae made history not just for their school but for their state, becoming the first four-year women’s program to claim a national basketball title. Read more.

For this month’s question, we take inspiration from the upcoming anniversary of the 1996 Centennial Olympics. Surely, someone out there can stop Jason from making it three-for-three by tweeting the name (with hashtag #berrycollegetrivia) of the alumna and (now) longtime staff member who bore the famous flame through campus on its way to the Opening Ceremonies in Atlanta. (Hint: Her picture can be found on Page 6 of the new issue of Berry magazine.)

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