Issues by Date: September 2018

First-Year Book Discussion

Dr. Chris Mingone, clinical assistant professor of health professions and pre-health advisor, leads BCC 100 students in a discussion of Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work. The 2018 first-year reading selection was authored by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, who spoke at Berry on Sept. 6.

Recognition from the likes of The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Princeton Review, Forbes and Conde Naste Traveler greeted the 2,014 undergraduate and graduate students who flowed through the Gate of Opportunity for the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. Among those reporting for fall classes were 509 first-year students and 46 transfers. All began their Berry journeys safe in the knowledge that they are attending one of the best – and most beautiful – colleges in the nation.

Recent Berry accolades include:

Click here for coverage of “opening of school” activities for Berry’s newest students. Photos of First-Year Service Day can be viewed here.

Related: Local media coverage of First-Year Service Day

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Mountain Day BannerThere’s no denying that the very best Berry experiences are those that bring us together. That’s certainly true of Mountain Day! From the Mountain Day Olympics to the Grand March to the gifts of pennies students drop in the basket at the foot of Lavender Mountain, everything about this grand Berry tradition revolves around our powerful sense of togetherness.

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the things we have planned for this year’s celebration, which is just a few weeks away. Visit for a complete schedule (be sure to note special dedications honoring legendary faculty members Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C) and the late Dr. Peter Lawler).

As you make your plans, we hope you’ll symbolically join our students in the Mountain Day tradition of giving – it is Martha’s birthday, after all – by supporting crowdfunding projects and other special initiatives. Watch for more information as the event date draws closer.

Reunion BrunchClass Reunions and Related Activities

High School/Academy Reunion Brunch (10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Hill Dining Hall): Classes of 1973, 1978 and 1983. Registration is $15 for individuals, $25 for couples and $5 for children 6 to 16; cost covers brunch, Mountain Day T-shirt and admission to Saturday night football game. Coffee will be served at 9:30, brunch at 10:30. Register.

College Reunion Brunch (10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, WinShape Hub): Classes of 19731978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. Registration details are same as above. Register.

Berry football team takes field at Valhalla. 2013C Reunion (Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Schroeder’s Deli on Broad St.): Dutch treat; couple and individual price packages available for Mountain Day T-shirts and football tickets. Register.

Milestone Class Reunion Tailgate (3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Dickey Field adjacent to Valhalla stadium) and Football Game (6 p.m. kickoff vs. Sewanee): Mountain Day football is back! While all alumni are invited to the game, members of our milestone reunion classes (1978, 1993 and 2008) also have the option of attending a free pregame tailgate. Game tickets can be obtained by registering for reunion events above or purchased separately for $6 apiece at A huge crowd is expected, so get your tickets early! RSVP.

Other Notable Events

Mountain Day Golf Scramble (Noon, Friday, Oct. 5, Stonebridge Golf Club): Registration is $95 per person. Contact Brian Farrer (02C) at 706-238-5904 for details. Register.

Carl Tallent

Carl Tallent (01C)

Berry College Theatre Company Presents Neil Simons’ Rumors (showtimes all three days at Sisters Theatre): Features scenic designs by Carl Tallent (01C). Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for seniors and $6 for students. Call 706-236-2263 or visit

Examples of Al Christopher's Berry-inspired woodturnings.

Examples of Al Christopher’s Berry-inspired woodturnings.

From Tree to Treasure (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum): Don’t miss this exhibit showcasing the woodturning artistry of Al Christopher (61c). Admission is free.

Alumni Choir Concert (2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, Ford Auditorium): Alumni under the direction of guest conductors Ross Magoulas (FFS) and Harry Musselwhite (FFS) will lift their voices in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Berry Singers, founded by Magoulas in 1958. A reunion lunch will be held at noon ($30 registration; $15 for each additional participant). Contact Dr. Paul Neal for more information. Register for lunch.

Special thanks to Plainville Brick Company for providing support for this year’s Mountain Day celebration. These longtime friends of Berry provided bricks for several campus buildings, so it’s only fitting that they now step forward as Mountain Day’s first community sponsor.

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Berry Alumni Council

LOOKING COOL: Members of the Berry Alumni Council take a break from their August meeting to grab a quick group photo in the Ford Archway. They’re sporting sunglasses purchased as part of a fundraiser for Berry women’s soccer.

Jonathan PurserThis summer brought new leadership to the Berry Alumni Association as Frances Richey (83A, 87C) completed her second term as president and handed the reigns to her elected successor, Jonathan Purser (85C). The husband, father, business owner and volunteer immediately got to work, sharing good news about Berry with fellow alumni via periodic e-blasts (look for more in the future!). He also provided leadership for the first Alumni Council meeting of the 2018-19 academic year.

Forty-four Alumni Council members – representing nearly 80 years of Berry history – gathered in August to begin working on specific projects related to alumni engagement, financial support, Berry heritage and culture, and alumni awards. Leading those teams are elected vice presidents Chris Hayes (04C), Jason McMillan (98C), Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C) and Pat Tutterow Jackson (82C), respectively. Joining them on the Executive Committee are Richey, who now serves as past president, and appointed members Tim Howard (82C), parliamentarian, Emmett Long (98C), chaplain, and Chad Nash (13C), secretary.

Purser is excited about the work ahead, as well as the opportunity he has to serve as a voice on Berry’s behalf.

“Those of us who were privileged to attend Berry were given a precious gift,” he said. “Serving as Alumni Council president is an honor and a small way of giving back to the institution and community that have meant so much to me.”

Watch for more coverage of Alumni Council activities in the year ahead. Click here for a list of current members.

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Ouida Dickey Birthday CelebrationHAPPY BIRTHDAY! Smiles were in abundance at the 90th birthday celebration for Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C). The Ford Living Room will be named in her honor at Mountain Day in October.

Gifts honoring the 90th birthday of Berry icon Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C) have propelled fundraising for the planned renovation of Ford Auditorium past the halfway mark to $3 million. The goal is to complete funding for the $5.3 million project during the next year so that work can begin in 2019.

Ford Auditorium RenderingAlumni and friends committed more than $570,000 to the “Ouida Dickey Birthday Challenge,” earning double credit for their generosity thanks to matching funds from an anonymous lead gift. Donors joined Dr. Dickey in July for a special birthday celebration in the Ford Living Room. A second ceremony is planned for Mountain Day Weekend, at which time that space – located at the heart of the Berry Alumni Center – will be named in her honor.

Dr. Dickey is beloved for her many years of distinguished service to Berry as a student, faculty member, administrator and volunteer. Her family is also deeply rooted at the institution. Late husband Garland (42C) pioneered Berry’s intercollegiate athletic program along with his brother, Ed (41C), while daughters Angela (75A, 79C) and Jennifer (77A, 80C) are “double alumna” (high school and college) who have forged exemplary careers in government and higher education, respectively.

It was fitting that gifts honoring Dr. Dickey’s birthday supported the Ford renovation, as the auditorium also turns 90 this year. Click here to learn more about plans to renew the facility as a first-class performance home for Berry music students. You can support the project at

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Debbie Heida, Lindsey Taylor

Debbie Heida, left, and Lindsey Taylor

The new academic year brought new responsibilities for longtime administrators Debbie Heida and Lindsey Taylor. Heida is Berry’s new chief of staff, succeeding the retired Dr. Gary Waters (80C, 89G), while Taylor has moved into Heida’s former role as vice president of student affairs and dean of students. Both women have served Berry students with distinction for more than a decade, Heida since 2004 and Taylor since 2005.

Among other duties, Heida is responsibile for facilitating development of a new Center for Personal and Professional Success, a project central to Berry’s goal of enhancing the intentionality of each student’s Berry experience. She also continues to oversee athletics, hospitality and events, Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum, and Historic Berry. Taylor’s new responsibilities include residence life, student activities, wellness and counseling, and recreation; she is also the college’s Title IX coordinator. Read more.

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Berry Lacrosse Brothers in IsraelFormer Vikings Andy (14C) and Jim Kurila (17C) had the opportunity to showcase their lacrosse skills on a global stage this summer as participants in the World Lacrosse Championships. The brothers spent two weeks in Israel as representatives of Slovakia, birthplace of their grandparents. Both credited their Berry experience with helping them to represent their family heritage in such a high-profile way.

“If it wasn’t for the path I took in my lacrosse career, both high school and Berry, I would never have had this chance to go over there and play,” said Andy (left in photo), an aspiring paramedic who currently serves as a firefighter/EMT in Port Orange, Fla.

Jim is also in the Sunshine State, working as an aquarist at Discovery Cove Orlando. He has plans to pursue a master’s degree in marine biology focusing on shark research.

Read more about their experience in Israel.

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Student Sheep TourSenior animal science majors Briana CarmonMeredith Robinson, Emily Stenman and Miranda Vega joined Professor and Department Chair Dr. Jay Daniel on an eight-day cross-country odyssey this summer, covering 12 states and 4,127 miles as part of the ANS 492 “sheep tour.” While the itinerary sounds like something out of National Lampoon’s Vacation, the experience was invaluable for the students, who got an up-close-and-personal look at the sheep industry while visiting 16 different farms, businesses and research centers. They also channeled their inner Chevy Chase by doing a little sightseeing, visiting such notable destinations as Mount Rushmore, Custer National Park and the Badlands of South Dakota.

“I appreciate the hard work of Dr. Daniel not only for scheduling the trip, but also taking on the responsibility of four college students and driving us over 4,000 miles, all for the sake of learning more about one of many branches of the agricultural industry,” Carmon said. “At every stop along the way, I observed and learned new sheep handling and processing techniques; as well as built memories that will last a lifetime.”

This is one of many ways Berry students took their college experience “on the road” this summer. Click here to read about another group of students who assisted with the restoration of a coral reef in Roatan, Honduras, with assistance from crowdfunding gifts by alumni and friends.

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all from Berry wildlife, something new comes along. Such was the case this summer when student Hannah Atsma’s video of “boxing deer” went viral on social media, garnering 138,000 Facebook views. In her post, Atsma echoed the thoughts of many with her statement, “This is definitely one of the stranger things I’ve seen the deer of Berry College do.” In search of an explanation, we went to Berry’s resident deer expert, Dana Professor of Animal Science Dr. George Gallagher, and he did not disappoint.

“This type of ‘boxing’ behavior is not uncommon among deer, particularly does,” he explained. “Deer, like many animals, express a hierarchy or dominance behavior. I tend to see these aggressive displays more frequently in late fall and winter when feed resources become more limited. Most of these events are much shorter and less dramatic compared to this video clip. It is a real classic!”

There you have it! Now back to your regularly scheduled eagle watching.

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