Issues by Date: December 2016

With their traditional home temporarily unavailable due to ongoing construction of Berry’s new theatre and associated work in Blackstone Hall, the Berry College Theatre Company took its show on the road in early December — spreading a little Christmas cheer in the process.

Following up on an impressive outdoor production of Peter and the Starcatcher staged at the BOLD ropes course in early fall, the troupe decked the halls of Krannert Center the first week in December for A Charlie Brown Christmas, doing one matinee for local schoolchildren and four others for the campus community and general audiences.

Student director AnnaBeth Crittenden enjoyed bringing the Charles Schulz classic to Berry, noting, “Even after watching the Christmas special upwards of 100 times, I still get chills. There is so much humanity and light in the show that I’ve loved to bring out onto the stage.”

According to Director of Theatre Dr. Anna Filippo, the students are making the most of their temporary displacement from Blackstone (the new theatre will be completed in time for fall semester). She stated, “While not having a conventional stage has posed several challenges for the students, they have gained experience in mobile set building and outdoor performance.”

The Berry troupe will continue its “road tour” April 4-9, performing Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Kilpatrick Commons.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Berry parents Rick and Barbara Gaby have committed $300,000 in matching funds to encourage gifts supporting the renovation of Ford Auditorium into a first-class recital hall. These funds will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for new commitments by others, doubling the impact of such gifts. Similar matching programs have been successful in generating support for Gate of Opportunity Scholarships, Clark Track and, most recently, the new theatre under construction at Blackstone Hall.

The $4.9 million renovation of Ford Auditorium will breathe new life into Berry’s signature venue for music performance. Planned enhancements include an enlarged stage; 366 seats in an arched configuration; a redesigned balcony; high-performance acoustics; digital lighting and sound systems; climate-controlled instrument storage; a renovated foyer and lobby; and restoration of historic architectural elements.

Contact Scott Breithaupt at 706-238-5897 or for more information on the matching program. Many naming opportunities are available. To make an online gift, click and select “Ford Auditorium renovation” from the “Campaign Priorities” menu.

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Conference championships in football and women’s cross country highlighted another successful fall for Berry’s student-athletes.

The football team posted a best-ever 9-1 record in its fourth season of competition, closing with a five-game winning streak to share the Southern Athletic Association crown with Washington University in St. Louis. Highlights for Berry included road wins over SAA rivals Hendrix and Centre and a perfect 5-0 record at Valhalla. Also notable was a thrilling 22-19 overtime win over Millsaps made possible by a play you simply have to see to believe. Click the video and you’ll know why it was named National Play of the Week.

In women’s cross country, senior captain Danielle Patterson paced Berry to first place in the SAA meet and sixth in the NCAA Division III regional (held in the Clara Bowl). Her time of 22:32.30 in the latter race qualified her for NCAA nationals, a first for Berry.

Fittingly, both of Berry’s SAA-winning coaches, Tony Kunczewski and Paul Deaton (91C), earned conference Coach-of-the-Year recognition. Student-athletes in a number of sports also claimed individual honors this fall. Visit for complete coverage.

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A banner year for Viking Fusion ended with recognition as “Four-Year TV Station of the Year” in the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards competition. The CMA also recognized staff member Steven Hames as an “Honor Roll Broadcast Adviser” for his work shepherding the student-run multimedia hub. All together, Viking Fusion claimed seven awards and 20 nominations in state, regional and national competition in 2016.

“The awards mean that we’re doing the right things, and they encourage us to grow and branch out into areas we haven’t even dreamed of,” said student executive director Deanna Cunningham.

Click the accompanying video for one example of the students’ award-winning work, a parody of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that earned national recognition in two different contests as well as a Southeast Regional Emmy nomination.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Andy Johns Blog ImageAndy Johns (06C) has spent his whole career telling other people’s stories as a journalist and public relations professional. Now he’s set out on a 506-day odyssey to tell his own.

In May, he began a journey across the continental United States with wife Jessica Rabun Johns (04C) and 4-year-old son Braden with the goal of seeing as much of the country as possible before Braden starts kindergarten. Johns is blogging all along the way, documenting how (and why) he and his family decided to embark on this “Big Idea.” Click the image to follow along.

Story by Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer; photo by Kathleen Greeson

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Berry College Tree TeamWhen a 2011 storm felled more than 1,200 trees across the Berry campus, students immediately stepped up to become stewards of nature. Recently, physical plant’s Student Tree Care Team earned a Grand Award from the Georgia Urban Forest Council for its role in caring for and managing the campus canopy. Working alongside contractors, the students have helped plant more than 1,000 trees in the years since the storm. They are also fully involved in growing trees for future plantings, gathering nuts and cuttings from current trees on campus to propagate new seedlings in the greenhouse and nursery (300 in 2016 alone!).

“Berry College is to be commended for involving their students in the care of their tree canopy,” said Lynne Beckley, executive director of the forest council. “Combining practical work experience with the students’ learning of sound arboricultural practices provides an excellent opportunity for the students and excellent care for the campus trees.”

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Santa Claus may get all the attention this time of year, but he’s not the only generous soul Berry students are thankful for this holiday season. Their gratitude extends to the many alumni and friends who have made gifts to Berry on their behalf. Students can exclaim “We’re ready!” in the accompanying video because others have chosen to invest in their success.

We’re pleased to highlight the names of all those who made a gift to Berry in 2015-16 in this year’s Online Honor Roll of Donors. Echoing the students featured in the video and so many others, thank you for your support!

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Valkyrie MagazineA new student-produced magazine debuted in November, marking the end of one era in Berry student publications and the beginning of another. Valkyrie, a 60-page publication currently hosted online, takes the place of Berry’s traditional Cabin Log yearbook. More than 20 students contributed to the inaugural issue, which features stories on a wide variety of topics.

“We really want to cover stuff that’s unique and wouldn’t necessarily be found elsewhere,” said student Sarah Casagrande, assistant PR and marketing director for the new publication. “It’s kind of a time capsule in the sense that people will be able to look at our magazine years later and see what was going on at Berry.”

Two more issues are planned for the current academic year. Click the cover image to take a look.

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Ford BuildingsJessica Clay Smith (00C) is the winner of our latest Alumni Accent trivia challenge, correctly noting that the architect chosen by Henry Ford to design the iconic buildings that now bear his name was Harry Carlson of Boston, Mass. Carlson, who also designed the Berry College Chapel, produced three sets of plans for the Ford Buildings before the famed industrialist was satisfied.

For our last question of 2016, we draw inspiration from a recent newspaper profile of Dr. Peter Lawler written by Michelle Williamson Wilson (93C). Scroll to the blog footer for a question testing your knowledge of one of Berry’s most legendary faculty members. Earn a shout-out in our next issue by being the first to share your answer on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia.


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