Issues by Date: October 2016

A turn of the shovel signaled a new era for Berry’s fine arts program as ground was broken Sept. 27 for a new campus theatre adjacent to Blackstone Hall. Adding to the excitement was news of a surprise $1 million gift from the foundation of project champion Audrey Morgan’s late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“Over the years I’ve volunteered and supported a lot of great causes, and standing right by my side and supporting me in all of my endeavors was my sister and business partner, Bobbie Bailey,” said Morgan, an honorary Berry alumna and member of the Board of Visitors. “The Berry project was no different.”

Thanks to the Bailey Foundation gift, fundraising for the new theatre and associated improvements to Blackstone has now exceeded $6 million, leaving the project just $600,000 short of completion. Morgan played a key role in that success with her fall 2015 challenge gift of $1 million, which was contingent on construction beginning in 2016.

“This is not a ‘build it and hope they will come’ project, because they are already here,” Morgan said, praising the quality of the students, faculty and staff in the Berry College Theatre Company. “They deserve a first-class facility.”

Construction of the 250-seat theatre is expected to be completed in time for the 2017-18 academic year. Click here to help complete funding for the project.

Additional Coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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The man credited with launching the famed Aflac Duck advertising campaign visited Berry on Sept. 29 to share his passion for ethical leadership. Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos addressed the campus community as the second speaker in the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series. Afterward, he conducted a brief interview on the topic of ethics in leadership, during which he praised the unique combination of real-world mentoring and academic preparation available to students through the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership. Click the video to hear more.

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Rome Tennis Center at Berry CollegeThe Rome Tennis Center at Berry College has been open just three months, but already the country’s largest single-surface tennis facility has attracted its first major collegiate tournament. It was announced in early October that the Atlantic Coast Conference will hold its 2017 men’s and women’s championships at the 60-court facility, prompting the local media to hail the foresight of those responsible for the project, a public-private partnership located on Berry-donated land adjacent to Mount Berry Mall. More coverage.

Image courtesy of Greater Rome CVB

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A year after torrential rain forced some of Berry’s most beloved traditions to be moved indoors or cancelled all together, Mountain Day returned in all of its glory in 2016. Sunny skies and beautiful fall weather were the order of the day as 6,000 students, alumni, parents, faculty/staff members and friends turned out for the annual celebration of Martha Berry’s birthday. While students enjoyed the revelry of Friday afternoon’s Mountain Day Olympics and Saturday night’s Marthapalooza carnival, alumni swapped stories and renewed friendships during the annual picnic and other events, among them a special “milestone” reception at Oak Hill for classes marking their 10th, 25th and 40th reunion years.

Other highlights included convocation remarks by Michael Maney (98C), senior director of communications for Target, and the birth of a new giving tradition rooted in a shared Mountain Day experience, Pennies for Martha. Click the links for coverage of each.

Additional coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery

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Pennies for Martha CollageThere are few more recognizable symbols of Mountain Day than the basket at the foot of Lavender Mountain into which generations of students have tossed gifts of pennies. This year, alumni, faculty, staff and friends got into the act through Berry’s new day-of-giving program, Pennies for Martha. Volunteers donned unmistakable red t-shirts on campus and in photos shared via social media to help promote the effort, and the community responded with 2,316 in-person or online gifts totaling more than $20,000 for student work and scholarships. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun!

To see more photos, simply click the link above and use the scroll bar in the left-hand column.


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With a resume that includes career stops at Target, Sony Pictures Television and The Walt Disney Company, it’s safe to say Michael Maney (98C) has strong “street cred” in the world of corporate communications. Few who know him through his current role as senior director of communications for Target would guess that this year’s Mountain Day Convocation speaker got his start as a student working in the Berry Archives and producing video packages for the communication department. Maney reflected on these experiences and how they shaped his future path while on campus for Mountain Day.

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Jeff JahnJeff Jahn (07C) has done it again, earning recognition as a finalist for the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Small Business Person of the Year in the “experienced entrepreneur” category for his success as founder and “chief nerd” for DynamiX Web Design in Kennesaw, Ga.  This comes on the heels of many other national and international honors for the business.

“My team and clients truly make work rewarding, and I am so fortunate they allow me to do what I love every day,” said Jahn, the 2015 recipient of Berry’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. “I am humbled to be recognized with other great business leaders in the Atlanta business community.”

Jahn recently shared his entrepreneurial insight in an article published by Inc. Magazine. Read it here.

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The Berry football team is making news on and off the field as it chases a conference championship in only its fourth year of existence. Players in the spotlight include receiver Trey Ciresi, who was featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after helping propel the Vikings to the best start in their history, and fellow senior Chris Lilly, whose one-handed touchdown catch against LaGrange (see video) has been nominated for GEICO National Play of the Year. The team also earned a preseason shout-out from Atlanta NBC affiliate 11 Alive News for having three sets of brothers on the roster.

The Vikings carry a 6-1 overall record into their final three regular-season games. Win all three, and the team has an opportunity to claim its first Southern Athletic Association championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III national playoffs. Two of those games will be played at Valhalla, where Berry is 3-0 this season and 7-1 since the stadium opened in 2015. Visit for schedule and ticket information.

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Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs discuss vintage photos and letters documenting Henry Ford's relationship with Berry.

Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs view vintage photos documenting Henry and Clara Ford’s relationship with Berry.

In the last edition of our Alumni Accent trivia challenge, we asked readers to name the Fortune 500 company Berry Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) once served as CEO. The answer: Principal Financial Group. As a bonus, we asked you what sport he played at Berry. The obvious answer, given his 6-foot-9 frame, was basketball.

This month, we take our cue from a recent campus visit by Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of famed Berry benefactor Henry Ford. On campus for a short video shoot, the younger Ford had the opportunity to tour the campus – including the iconic buildings that bear his family name – and learn more about the historic connection between his great-grandparents and Martha Berry.

Scroll to the blog footer for this month’s question about those famous English Gothic buildings. Share your answers on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia to earn a shout-out in our next issue.

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