Issues by Date: April 2018

Sophia Veser Portrait

Sophia Veser

No one has to tell Sophia Veser (16C) about the power of giving. She has experienced it firsthand as a beneficiary of Berry’s Save a Student Scholarship, a lifeline funded by students that provides vital assistance for classmates in financial distress. Sophia shared her powerful story during Be Berry Week, a special celebration of gratitude and giving capped by the largest Scholarship Night dinner in Berry history.

Sophia spoke at a “thank you” event for students, faculty and staff who have made a gift to Berry over the past year, relating how her student-funded scholarship made all the difference when family issues threatened to derail her Berry dreams.

Accounting Major Allison Bernstein shows off her cup-stacking prowess at the senior pep rally.

Accounting major Allison Bernstein shows off her cup-stacking prowess at the senior pep rally.

“It’s very humbling to know my success in life is a direct result of getting the scholarship,” she stated. “It’s like the butterfly effect. Because students gave, they changed my life’s path.”

Other events held during Be Berry Week included a senior pep rally kicking off a weeklong giving challenge between Berry’s four schools. As part of this challenge, students were encouraged to buy Berry socks (available NOW to alumni!), with proceeds supporting the Save a Student Scholarship. The Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences won the competition thanks to a 49-percent giving rate among seniors so far this fiscal year.

Scholarship Night provided the perfect climax to the week, bringing together approximately 470 donors and scholarship recipients for a night of fellowship in the Cage Center. Photo gallery.

Bookmark and Share

2018 Alumni Award Winners

Above: Winners of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards include, from left, Aitana Vargas (03C), Outstanding Young Alumni; Al  Christopher (61c), Entrepreneurial Spirit; Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C), Service; Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C), Achievement.

Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards (winners pictured above) is one of many highlights planned for Alumni Weekend 2018. Others include dedication of the Oak Hill Pavilion, a new 5,760-square-foot event space on the grounds of Martha Berry’s famed estate, and reunions for the high school, academy and college classes of 1953, 1958, 1963 and 1968.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 18, with the annual Alumni Golf Scramble and continues through the weekend. The pavilion dedication and Alumni Awards presentation will take place Saturday, May 19, with reunion gatherings scheduled across both days. Complementing the milestone reunions will be a dinner for the class of 1961C and a breakfast gathering for the college classes of 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services May 20, just in time for another grand Berry tradition – Alumni Work Week – to begin.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement:Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C)
  • Service: Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Al Christopher (61c)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Aitana Vargas (03C)

They will be honored Saturday night along with the academy and college classes of 1968, which will join the ranks of Berry’s Golden Guard.

Schedule and online registration: Alumni Weekend, Alumni Work Week

Bookmark and Share

Spires Balcony

Above: The view of Lavender Mountain and Eagle Lake as envisioned from a balcony at The Spires. The new continuing care retirement community will be located on leased Berry property not far from the main campus.

Spires Lobby

Rendering of The Spires’ lobby.

The first shovel of dirt has yet to be turned for The Spires at Berry College, but excitement is rising among those who plan to make their home in the new continuing care retirement community to be built on the shores of Eagle Lake in view of Lavender Mountain.

To date, deposits have been made on 91 of the planned 174 residences, which will include free-standing cottages as well as apartment-style homes. A number of those making deposits are Berry alumni or have other connections to the institution.

The community will be located on leased Berry property and operate as a financially independent, self-sustaining nonprofit. It will offer a full slate of housekeeping, maintenance and leisure services, as well as a comprehensive on-site wellness center, all in close proximity to the Berry campus and Rome’s medical centers. It also will provide significant work and learning opportunities for Berry students, with as many as 50 to 100 work positions expected to be created. Construction will begin once deposits have been made on 70 percent of all residences. Completion is expected in 2020.

Visit retireatberry.com for project plans and videos featuring some of the people who will call The Spires home. Click here to read President Steve Briggs’ 2015 Berry magazine essay detailing the vision for this and other strategic partnerships.

 

Bookmark and Share

Group Photo of Forensics Team at Novice Nationals

Goldwater Scholar Sarah Cooper.

Pictured above: Members of the Berry College Forensics Union display their awards after claiming top honors at Novice Nationals.

Junior biochemistry major Sarah Cooper led a parade of high-achieving Berry students this spring as a recipient of the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship. Cooper, pictured at right, is one of only 211 students nationally chosen for the prestigious award, established by Congress in honor of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater to provide support for U.S. college students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering or mathematics.

Also notable this spring was the performance of first-year speakers who claimed top honors for the Berry College Forensics Union at Novice Nationals. Berry had an unprecedented 27 national finalists in the competition, with freshman Shelby Newland winning individual honors in dramatic interpretation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Berry student achievement in 2018. Visit the following links for highlights in areas as varied as theatre, filmmaking, creative writing, student media and animal science.

Bookmark and Share

Men's Basketball Team Celebrates Championship

Above: Members of the Berry men’s basketball team celebrate at midcourt after winning the Southern Athletic Association tournament championship. The Vikings became the first No. 8 seed in SAA history to accomplish the feat.

Genesis Leggett Qualifies for Indoor Nationals

Sophomore Genesis Leggett made history in March as Berry’s first NCAA qualifier in track and field. She competed in the weight throw at indoor nationals.

Basketball, equestrian, swimming and diving, track and field, softball, and golf – regardless of the sport, Berry student-athletes can’t get enough of national competition this semester, and more is yet to come!

In the last week alone, Berry has locked up NCAA Division III national tournament invitations – and conference championships – in softball and women’s golf.  The baseball team can join them by winning this weekend’s SAA championship series in the friendly confines of Bowdoin Field. The men’s 4×100 relay team may also get a crack at nationals after blazing to victory at the SAA track and field championships.

Earlier this semester, senior Haley Brown earned honorable mention All-America recognition as one of four national qualifiers from the women’s swimming and diving team. Sophomore Genesis Leggett, meanwhile, became the first Berry track athlete, male or female, to compete nationally in the NCAA era, qualifying for indoor nationals in the weight throw. Not to be outdone, six members of the equestrian team have punched their tickets to nationals in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

Fittingly, all of this success got started with a bit of madness – February Madness, in this case – courtesy of the men’s basketball team. After finishing eighth in the regular season, the Vikings made history with three wins in three days to claim Berry’s first conference championship in men’s basketball since 1992. Read more about their magical run in this oral history by student Noah Syverson.

Follow the action in all sports at www.berryvikings.com.

Bookmark and Share

Viking Connections-Employers Event in AtlantaAbove: The Atlanta skyline provides the perfect backdrop for a January Viking Connections-Employers event hosted by the firm of Nelson Mullins.

Berry students preparing to enter the workforce had four opportunities this academic year to network with alumni through the Viking Connections-Employers program.

Now in its fifth year, Viking Connections-Employers is a great way for students to tap into Berry’s alumni network as they interact with graduates on every rung of the career ladder, from young professionals to executives.

“We hear over and over again that our alumni really enjoy working with our students,” said Mark Kozera (79C), director of employer development for Berry’s Student Work Experience Program. “We’ve had a lot of success with students getting internships and jobs as a result of these events.”

This year’s events had four specific areas of focus: business, the humanities, nonprofits and Northwest Georgia. Alumni in attendance hailed from companies as diverse as Habitat for Humanity, the Centers for Disease Control, Jackson Spalding, Georgia Power and Turner Broadcasting.

David Nuckolls (10C), who attended one of the events as a representative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, praised the quality of the students he met, noting, “I’m encouraged by the level of talent, aptitude, and work readiness these students possess and feel very confident that their participation in this program will guide them on their path to success.”

Alumni wishing to participate in future Viking Connections-Employers events should email mkozera@berry.edu.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Berry Singers in Europe

Berry Singers Sightseeing in Europe

Above and right: The Berry Singers during their European tour.

The Berry Singers took their talents on the road during spring break, performing in the Czech Republic and Austria as part of their first European tour in several years.

Preparations for the trip began in the fall. Gifts from alumni, faculty and friends of Berry’s music program helped to fund the experience.

Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Dr. Paul Neal said he hopes to take a large trip like this every three to four years so that each class of students has the opportunity to perform abroad at least once during their time at Berry.

“Music is the universal language,” Neal said. “It’s an opportunity for them to experience emotions and the fine arts through music and share that connection with people in other countries.”

The students performed at many different churches, schools and theaters during their European adventure. Selections ranged from songs by European composers such as Mozart and Dvorák to American standards including Georgia On My Mind and Shenandoah.

At each stop, students had the opportunity to broaden their own horizons by exploring the cities in which they were performing.

“I really enjoyed bonding with the rest of the choir and getting to experience some super cool stuff with a super cool group of people,” said sophomore Jameson Filston, who was making his first trip to Europe. “It was a really amazing experience.”

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Bob Ryan with Student Broadcasters

Above: Famed Boston Globe columnist and ESPN personality Bob Ryan, right, holds court with Berry student broadcasters Townsend Stewart, left, and Adekale Ande during a basketball game in the Cage Center.

Berry athletics got the “ESPN” treatment earlier this semester when sports reporting legend Bob Ryan joined students Adekale Ande and Townsend Stewart for the livestream of a men’s basketball game against Rhodes College.

Ryan, who visited campus at the request of Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Daniel Sipocz, took to Twitter afterward to praise the experience, noting, “There’s so much more fun basketball beyond D1. Saw Berry’s Caleb Johnson and Elijah Hirsh put on a show vs. Rhodes tonight.”

The Berry students who shared the broadcast with Ryan were similarly impressed.

“I learned a lot from him in just the short amount of time he was here,” Ande said. “They were definitely some moments I’ll never forget.”

While on campus, Ryan engaged students in Berry’s sports communication concentration, sharing his own experiences, answering questions, signing autographs and even taking selfies with the aspiring sports journalists. A key theme of his presentation – stay true to your values, even as times change.

“For someone like Bob Ryan to speak publicly, visit classes, interact with our students and work with them on a broadcast is beyond measure in value,” Sipocz said.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

Frank Stephenson Portrait

Dr. Frank Stephenson

Gund Professor of Economics Dr. Frank Stephenson was a featured voice in a recent New York Times article on the economics of the Super Bowl. Stephenson’s insights were born out of a long-running research agenda rooted in his analysis of hotel occupancy data for cities hosting major events. He has worked with several co-authors during that time, including Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Lauren Heller. She wrote a 2016 op-ed for the Cleveland Plain Dealer questioning the economic impact of political conventions based on that same body of research. Berry students, including Richards Scholar Clay Collins (16C), also have been involved in the work.

 

Bookmark and Share