Issues by Date: August 2012

Times may change, but SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) remains a summer rite of passage for Berry’s newest students.

Throughout the month of June, upperclass SOAR leaders welcomed new students (more than 650 in all) for two days of orientation activities designed to help them make a successful transition to college life. As many alumni no doubt recall, there were forms to sign, class schedules to finalize and job assignments to receive. In the process, connections were made and the first bonds of lifelong friendships formed.

“I was really nervous about meeting people,” said incoming freshman Garrett Miller of Duluth, Ga., “but SOAR was so fun and informative that I am now confident in my decision to come here.”

One more group of students will complete the SOAR process Aug. 22, after which one of the largest incoming classes in Berry history will gather together for the second half of summer orientation, Viking Venture. Classes start Aug. 27.

More coverage.

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Katie Landry BranhamWhat does Katie Landry Branham (08C) have in common with U.S. gold medalists Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Jordyn Wieber? All made SI.com’s list of “50 Twitter feeds you need to follow during the London Olympics.”

A former student-athlete at Berry, Branham now serves as marketing and communications coordinator for USA Track and Field. Tweeting under the USA Track feed, Branham was referred to as a great source “for real-time event standings, results and noteworthy achievements.” Click here to read her updates.

More about Katie.

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Past Alumni DirectoriesEven in this digital age, there’s still something to be said for print. That’s certainly the message from those who routinely ask for a new printed directory of Berry alumni. You asked, and we’re answering! The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to announce a new partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI) to develop a new directory that will be published in 2013.

Be on the lookout for postcards, emails and phone calls from PCI in the coming months as we work to ensure that your information is correct. We hope that you will take the time to respond, safe in the knowledge that PCI is under contract with Berry and that any data you supply will be protected.

Important note: In order to complete this project as efficiently as possible, only pre-ordered directories will be printed. Additional directories will not be available after the initial printing, so please place your order at the time you are contacted by PCI.

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Student Worker at Hermann HallAlumni and friends continued to make Berry students a priority during the recently completed 2011-12 fiscal year, with gifts totaling an amazing $13.7 million.

Highlights include the February announcement of the Donor Opportunity Fund, created by an anonymous friend of Berry to encourage support for students willing to work hard for their education through the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program. By providing a $1.25-for-$1 match, the fund makes it possible for donors or groups of donors to establish $225,000 scholarship endowments with gifts of just $100,000. The match also can be used for enhancing an existing endowed scholarship into Gate of Opportunity status. One-half of the fund’s seed money was received in 2011-12, and 23 new scholarships were stimulated (including three from reunion classes).

Also of the note is the successful alumni-driven campaign to name the science building for Dr. Lawrence E. McAllister, father of Berry’s physics program, as well as a record $2.4 million in annual gifts to Berry’s Firsthand Fund, which provides immediate support for work and scholarships. Look for more giving highlights in the fall issue of Berry magazine and the online Honor Roll of Donors. In the meantime, please accept our heartfelt thanks for all you do in support of Berry students.

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Harry WiseHaron “Harry” W. Wise (57H) is the new president of the Berry Alumni Association. The Alabama native and U.S. Air Force veteran succeeded Barbara Pickle McCollum (79C), who will continue to serve as immediate past president on the Executive Committee.

As retired partner and corporate vice president of a steel and fibre drum manufacturing company in Mason, Ohio, and former mayor of Montgomery, Ohio, Harry brings considerable experience to his new role. He and wife Virginia have lived in Rome since 2008.

Joining Harry in new positions of leadership for the Alumni Association are Ruth K. Martin (65C), vice president, alumni events; Laura A. Sutton (09C), vice president, young alumni and student relations; Kimberly A. Terrell (04C, 06G, FS), vice president, Berry Heritage; Giles M. Chapman Jr. (66C), parliamentarian; Nelda P. Ragsdale (64C), secretary; and Dr. David F. Slade (97C, FS), historian.

More about alumni leadership.

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Who's Who in Education

Image courtesy of the Atlanta Business Chronicle

Berry President Steve Briggs and Georgia State School Superintendent John D. Barge (88C) found themselves listed alongside other “key leaders of metro Atlanta and Georgia educational institutions and programs” in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2012 guide to Who’s Who in Education. According to the editors, this special edition offers “a look at some of the top leaders in the education field – from those vested with government responsibility for our education system to the leaders of public and private primary and secondary schools, and the heads of our top colleges and universities.”

Read story.

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Faculty Share ExpertiseAssociate Professor of Government and International Studies John Hickman (at left) was a featured voice on NPR this summer as he discussed Chinese moon ambitions detailed in his article, “Red Moon Rising,” originally published in Foreign Policy magazine. He also conducted an interview with Raymond Furlong of the BBC on the subject of space as a frontier. Read Hickman’s story.

Another Berry faculty member, Associate Professor and Chair of Biology Chris Mowry (right), discussed the issue of “in-town” coyotes with Atlanta’s WABE radio. The story included news of a planned collaboration between Mowry, Fernbank Science Center and Zoo Atlanta to study coyote activity and numbers in Metro Atlanta. Hear Mowry’s interview.

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Martin Cipollini

Photo courtesy of Lauren Jones and the Rome News-Tribune

Berry’s ongoing commitment to responsible stewardship practices has once again earned acclaim in the annual guide to green colleges published by The Princeton Review. The online publication, produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, profiles 320 colleges and universities in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. Download publication.

One of the on-campus initiatives referenced by The Princeton Review – Dana Professor of Biology Martin Cipollini’s effort to restore the American chestnut tree – recently generated headlines from Atlanta to Sacramento. Read more.

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Isabel WilkersonPulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson (pictured) is one of many talented writers scheduled to speak at the 2012 Southern Women Writers Conference, Sept. 20-23. This is the ninth and final conference to be held since the event’s inception in 1994. Fittingly, the theme for this year’s event is “Beginnings and Endings.” The program will feature a strong lineup of speakers and presenters who explore these concepts in various ways. Joining Wilkerson as featured participants are Dorothy Allison, Stacey Lynn Brown, Marshall Chapman, Barbara Hamby, Melissa Delbridge, Josephine Humphreys, Kathryn McKee, Melody Moezzi, Hermine Pinson, Melanie Sumner and Priscilla Wilson.

More information (including online registration).

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Ethan PurserGate of Opportunity Scholar Ethan Purser loves baseball so much that one of his on-campus jobs involves keeping stats for the Berry team each spring. Now the junior economics major has an outlet to share his passion – and his knowledge – with other fans as an invited contributor to the Capitol Avenue Club, the official ESPN Sweetspot Network blog for the Atlanta Braves. In his new role, Ethan writes about prospects and scouting and also takes part in the occasional podcast. If you are a baseball fan (particularly of the Braves), click here and read some of his work.

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Save the Date for Mountain DayJust in time for the “dog days” of summer, the Alumni Accent poll is back! Before getting to this month’s question, let’s take a look back at the June poll, which sought insight from alumni who were unable to attend Alumni Weekend, Alumni Work Week or Young Alumni Weekend. Forty-eight percent of all respondents indicated that a scheduling conflict kept them away. Another 34 percent cited personal or family obligations. All are good reasons, so we’ll let you off the hook – this time (but we’d better see you next year!).

This month’s question flashes ahead to the next big highlight on the alumni calendar – Mountain Day! Scroll to the bottom of the page to weigh in on your favorite tradition. Once you’ve finished, click here to see what we have on tap for 2012!

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