Issues by Date: June 2013

A decorated diplomat, two longtime friends with a shared passion for helping children, a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” and a young alumna who has found success in the corporate world recently joined the ranks of Berry’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. They were honored at Alumni Weekend 2013. This year’s inductees – Angela R. Dickey (75A, 79C), F. Mack Gay (59C), the late Walter O. Maine (59C), Sheryle J. Bolton (68c) and Beth Collins Earnst (93C) – span four decades of Berry history.

Angela, recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, was recognized for her globe-spanning career with the U.S. Department of State. Mack and Walter shared the Distinguished Service Award for their work with Florida foster children (chronicled in Berry magazine). Sheryle, recently appointed CEO of Sally Ride Science and a member of the Berry College Board of Trustees, was presented with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. And Beth, a communications manager for BASF Corp., and new member of the Berry College Board of Visitors, was named Outstanding Young Alumna.

A number of other alumni and friends were also honored during Alumni Weekend, including the husband and wife tandem of J. Ray and Marilyn Scott (65C) Allen, recipients of the 2013 High School/Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Awards. Alumni in attendance also had a presentation for Berry – a combined gift of $3 million from the reunion classes.

Click here for more coverage of Alumni Weekend, and don’t forget to visit the photo galleries below. You might just see someone you know!

Photo galleries: Distinguished Alumni Awards and Golden Guard Gala, Golf Scramble, High School/Academy Breakfast, Weekend Worship Services

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The largest graduating class in Berry history – 381 strong – welcomed longtime friend and college supporter Audrey Morgan as an honorary member at spring commencement. She joins Martha Berry among the 17 notable individuals who have been presented with an honorary doctorate from Berry since 1933.

Audrey, whose name graces one of the college’s newest residence halls, has demonstrated her commitment to Berry as a member of the Board of Visitors and through her tremendous generosity (more than $6.6 million in lifetime gifts). She helped launch the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship in 2009 and has continued her enthusiastic support of the program in subsequent years. Details of her latest “gift of opportunity” were reported in a recent Berry magazine article.

In his introduction, President Steve Briggs stated, “Audrey’s Gate of Opportunity Scholarships have already changed the lives of dozens of students – and those students, in turn, are becoming agents of improvement. Audrey’s vision is also inspiring others to participate in this remarkable program. Her own gifts will soon fund more than 35 Gate of Opportunity Scholars each year. Her commitment to this program prompted another longtime friend of the college to establish a $10 million dollar matching fund that will result in a total goal of 130 fully endowed Gate of Opportunity Scholarships in the years to come.

“The end result of her carefully targeted philanthropy is, quite simply, lives and communities that have been changed for the better. In that way, as in many others, she reminds us of our founder, who saw education as a way of transforming not just individual lives, but families and whole communities.”

Audrey took great pride in the honor, noting that “after today, not only can I say, ‘I chose Berry,’ but I can say, ‘Berry chose me!'” She also offered encouragement to the newly minted graduates, telling them, “There are so many needs or opportunities waiting for your help, and all of you, I know, have so much to offer.”

More commencement coverage.

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Changing Lives in UgandaThe impressive quality of Berry students and alumni has caught the attention of one of the nation’s most recognizable news organizations. Three times this spring, CNN has featured stories with a Berry connection, the most recent focusing on a group of refugee students whose pathway to future success passed through the Gate of Opportunity. Full story.

An earlier feature (click accompanying image to see video) chronicled the work Brin Enterkin (12C) has done on behalf of Ugandan orphans through the African SOUP, a nonprofit she founded as a student. The network also shared the inspirational journey of Ryan Boyle, a current student who has recovered from a near-fatal childhood accident to become a published author and Paralympic hopeful in para-cycling. Ryan’s story.

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It’s been more than a half-century since Steve Tankersley (56H) and Ron Edwards (56H) graduated from the Mount Berry School for Boys, but for a few days each spring they relive those “good old days” as participants in Alumni Work Week.

Ron and Steve were just two of the approximately 200 alumni and friends who returned to campus May 19-24 for this annual celebration of Berry’s work heritage. Jobs completed by the 25 work crews included a new cooling unit for the Season’s Harvest student enterprise, a walkway and wall at Frances Cottage, and construction projects at the beef cattle and Emery barns.

Steve and Ron were team leaders for the kitchen crew, responsible for providing meals to other Work Week participants. As the longtime friends complete their daily tasks, they were able to enjoy each other’s company and that of other classmates. The same was true of Joy Johnson (73C), who spent her week working alongside former roommates as team leader for the weaving crew.

“We have a lot of fun,” Joy said. “We get a lot of work done, and we work really hard … but there’s a lot of laughter too.”

By Garrett Peace, student editorial assistant

Work Week Photo Gallery

A Tradition of Work, by student Jake Summerlin

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One of Berry’s newest alumni traditions continued May 17-19 as graduates from the last 10 years returned “home” for a special event developed specifically with them in mind. This year’s Young Alumni Weekend celebration featured a Friday night mixer in downtown Rome, intramural competition and a picnic on Saturday afternoon, and a dinner and live auction at Oak Hill. Participants also had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and work up a good sweat while restoring storm-damaged pathways on the grounds of Martha Berry’s estate.

Photo Galleries: Parties, Service Project

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Tamie JovanellyAssociate Professor of Geology Tamie J. Jovanelly (pictured) has earned a Fulbright Research Award and a National Geographic Society Conservation Trust grant to support her yearlong study on the African continent. The pioneering, field-based forest hydrology research is being conducted in association with Makerere University in Uganda. The purpose is to collect baseline water quality data in four forest reserves that are significant to the vitally important Lake Victoria watershed. Accompanying Jovanelly is rising senior Hanna Jackson, recipient of a Berry College International Programs Summer Research Grant. She is assisting with the collection of water quality data and will host several workshops focusing on water preservation strategies for the local community, stakeholders and university students. Read more.

Reporting by public relations student assistant Alyssa Smith

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Paula Englis with StudentsA management professor who ranks among the very best at her craft and an accounting specialist known for her commitment to students are the 2013 recipients of Berry’s Martindale Awards of Distinction. Professor of Management and Department Chair Paula Englis (seen here with a past group of entrepreneurship students) claimed the faculty honor, while Susan Floyd won the award for staff.

Praised for her exemplary teaching, research and service, Paula consistently ranks among the top instructors in the Campbell School of Business, often earning perfect scores on her evaluations. Student satisfaction in her strategy course is especially impressive, helping Berry to rank among the top colleges and universities nationwide in a recent survey. Her expertise is recognized on both sides of the Atlantic – she holds a joint appointment with the University of Twente in the Netherlands – and her prolific research has been cited more than 1,300 times.

Susan, a 14-year veteran of the Berry staff, was lauded for being an “exemplary model for customer service” as she performs duties critical to the operation of the college. Her attitude and influence were summed up by a former student worker who is now a proud colleague: “You could ask Susan the same question a hundred times and she would work you through it as if it was the first time you had asked. She is the reason I decided to come to work at Berry.”

Two other notable awards presented in May were the Mary S. and Samuel Poe Carden Award and the Dave and Lou Garrett Award for Meritorious Teaching. The Carden Award went to Dr. Mary C. Clement, professor of teacher education and director of Berry’s Center for Teaching Excellence. The Garrett Award was presented to Associate Professor of Art Jere Lykins.

Also this spring, the Berry College Board of Trustees approved emeritus status for Dr. Bob Pearson and Dr. Lynnwood Belvin, both of whom are retiring.

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Jeff RogersA busy spring for Berry’s student-athletes ended with two individual conference championships in men’s track, regular-season titles in men’s lacrosse and women’s softball, and a sixth-place national finish in hunt seat equestrian competition. Also making headlines was men’s basketball, which welcomed a new coach in Jeff Rogers (pictured), who comes to Berry after posting a four-year record of 77-34 at Kentucky’s Thomas More College.

Standouts for Berry included junior Ryan James, who raced to victory in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Southern Athletic Association track and field championships. Also excelling were student-athletes competing in men’s lacrosse and women’s softball; both teams set new benchmarks for wins, men’s lacrosse with 13 and women’s softball with 29. The 13-5 finish in men’s lacrosse represented the third-best one-year improvement among 208 teams competing in NCAA Division III in 2013. Women’s tennis and men’s golf added a pair of second-place finishes in SAA tournament play. Success by the various teams resulted in numerous individual awards. Click the link for each sport to read more.

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Alyssa HollingsworthAlyssa Hollingsworth (13C) joined students from Yeshiva University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, John Brown University and Lee University as winners in the 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Contest, a national competition that challenges college students to submit essays focusing on complex ethical issues.

Alyssa’s third-place entry, Naan in the Afghan Village, recounts a 2011 visit to Afghanistan to visit her sister, who works for a nongovernmental agency that specializes in community development and health education for Afghan women. The piece was written as part of a class assignment at Berry and submitted for recognition at the encouragement of Visiting Assistant Professor of English Abigail Greenbaum. The award includes a $1,500 cash prize, as well as an opportunity to  meet Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

A charter participant in Berry’s Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program, Alyssa graduated in May with a degree in English. She will continue to hone her writing skills while pursuing a master’s degree at England’s Bath Spa University.

 Read more.

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Berry Championship RingsChampionship rings were in abundant supply at a spring reunion celebrating the long and storied history of Berry  women’s soccer.

Alumnae – including many former All-Americans – traveled from as far away as Oklahoma, Texas, Long Island and Minnesota  for the gathering. They were joined by two former coaches who helped establish Berry’s championship pedigree, Ray Leone and Becky Burleigh. Ray, now the head coach at Harvard University, led the Berry program to its first national championship in 1987. Becky succeeded him in 1989 and claimed two more titles, in 1990 and 1993, before beginning her highly successful tenure as head coach at the University of Florida.

The reunion afforded alumnae the opportunity to scrimmage against current Lady Vikings. They also got to relive some of their greatest moments (watch video). The event was spearheaded by current head coach Lorenzo Canalis, keeper of Berry’s championship legacy with a program-best 250 wins in 18 seasons, and former player Alyson Simpson Slade (97C).

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With an eye toward our May alumni events, the April poll question focused on the things you look forward to most when attending reunions and other Berry gatherings. Not surprisingly, reconnecting with classmates took top honors with 47 percent of all votes cast. Second was all of the above with 36 percent, while learning more about Berry today (8 percent) was a distant third. Visiting favorite spots on campus (6 percent) and seeing former professors and work supervisors (3 percent) accounted for the rest.

This month, we turn our attention to strategic planning efforts that will shape the next decade on the Berry campus. What do you think the top priorities should be as we endeavor to strengthen and affirm our commitment to educating the head, heart and hands? Scroll to the blog footer to make your voice heard. For this question, you have the option of selecting up to two possible answers (or all of the above).

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