Issues by Date: August 2014

Welcome CenterStudents returning for fall semester will find construction of Berry’s new Welcome Center well under way. Funded through support for LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity, the project is designed to make the campus both more inviting and more secure.

Unlike the existing gatehouse, which occupies the median between Berry’s main entrance and exit, the new facility will be located on the right shoulder of the entrance way. Staffed by campus police and student hosts, the 1,100-square-foot structure will serve a dual function as a safety/security area for the campus and a welcome/information area for guests. Features include an advanced gate system balancing convenience for members of the campus community with enhanced security.

Construction is being fast-tracked to minimize activity during the nesting season for Berry’s bald eagles. Completion is anticipated in early 2015. The Welcome Center is part of an overall plan to enhance the college entrance that includes last summer’s addition of new crosswalks, warning lights and planters for the traffic circle in front of Hermann Hall.

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Tim Goodwin

Tim Goodwin (03C)

Fred Tharpe

Fred Tharpe (68A)

Tim Goodwin (03C) has dreamed of serving on the Berry College Board of Trustees since his student days. Now the newly installed president of the Berry Alumni Association has that opportunity. He is one of five new trustees to join the board this year, among them fellow alumnus Fred Tharpe (68A), recently appointed chairman of the Berry College Board of Visitors. Others include nonprofit leader Roxanne Spillett, banking executive Brad Dinsmore and former Board of Visitors Chairman Pete Capponi. Look for more information on each new trustee in the fall issue of Berry magazine.

Like the Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors also welcomed new members this spring. They are David Asbury (84C), John Beck (71C), John Coleman (04C) and Anne Berry Bonnyman.

Other alumni have joined Goodwin as newly elected and appointed officers for the Alumni Council. They include Dr. David Slade (97C, FS), vice president, Berry Heritage; the Rev. Valerie Loner (91C), chaplain; Patrick Ouzts (03C), parliamentarian; Mandy Tidwell (93C), secretary; Joseph Ragsdale (65C), Work Week coordinator; Nathan Butzen (03C), historian; Mary Chambers (14C), alumni experiential director; and Michael Williams (03C), strategic advisor.

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Mountain Day Football

Rival campus literary societies square off in a Mountain Day football game in the early 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Cabin Log.

Mention the Georgians and the Syrrebs to alumni of a certain vintage, and they’ll no doubt recall the football rivalry between the two campus literary societies that for decades was a Mountain Day staple. The longstanding tradition of Mountain Day football went on hiatus in the 1970s when the Georgians and Syrrebs dissolved, but now it’s back, just in time for the 100th anniversary of Berry’s most cherished celebration. The game, pitting Berry’s second-year varsity team against Washington University of St. Louis, will take place at Rome’s Barron Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 4. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., leaving plenty of time for alumni to attend traditional Mountain Day favorites like the picnic lunch and Grand March before heading off to Broad Street for pregame activities at various local restaurants. Check the Mountain Day website for more information on participating restaurants and planned gatherings.

Advance tickets to the Mountain Day game can be purchased Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 by calling 706-236-2260 or emailing They also will be available at the gate. Don’t forget to wear your Berry blueMountain Day Logo!

The football game is one of many highlights planned for the Mountain Day centennial. Others include the mega reunion brunch for the classes of 1974A, 1974C, 1979A, 1979C, 1984C, 1989C, 1994C, 1999C, 2004C and 2009C, and the Marthapalooza Family Hour on Saturday afternoon in the Clara Bowl. Also on tap for the weekend are the annual Friday afternoon golf scramble, home games for men’s and women’s soccer, performances of The Fantastics by Berry’s acclaimed theatre company, and numerous alumni gatherings. A complete schedule of events and registration information is included in the printed brochure that should be arriving in your mailbox shortly. Information and online registration for the mega reunion brunch can also be found online.

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Aitana VargasAitana Vargas (03C) claimed first prize at the 56th annual Southern California Journalism Awards hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club for her two-part Spanish-language expose revealing the difficult working conditions faced by paid audience members in L.A.’s entertainment industry. Her work bested submissions from The Wall Street Journal and other finalists and piqued the interest of lawyers considering a possible class-action law suit on behalf of the workers. She also was nominated for a Livingston Award, known as the “Pulitzer of the Young,” alongside reporters from The New Yorker, Slate, the Boston Globe and other major media outlets.

A second story by Vargas recently won Argentina’s Ana Maria Aguero Melnyczuk Award for best investigative journalism work. It focused on the refusal of Spanish authorities to allow justice and relief for thousands of victims of crimes committed under the rule of dictator Francisco Franco. Both this story and the investigative series were published in Hoy Los Angeles.

Vargas holds a physics degree from Berry and a journalism degree from Columbia University. She currently works as a freelance journalist in California.

 By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student editorial assistant

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Kathryn NoblesKathryn Dugger Nobles (82C) has been named a Maestro in Outstanding Achievement by Kindermusik International, the world’s leading publisher of music and movement programs for young children. The Maestro Conductor’s Circle represents the top 1 percent of Kindermusik educators worldwide. The longtime Berry faculty member celebrates her 25th anniversary with Kindermusik this fall. As director of Berry’s program, she and her colleagues serve more than 150 families each week with classes for children birth to age 7. They also provide valuable work experience for Berry students, several of whom have made Kindermusik their career.

Nobles’ role as educator extends to her work as adjunct lecturer (piano) in Berry’s fine arts department. Recently, she enjoyed an impromptu reunion with former students and other alumni during a trip to Oregon. Pictured left to right are Rachel Floyd Davis (07C), Michael Smith (04C), Kelly Rusk Smith (06C) and baby Judson, Thomas Clark (05C), Kathryn Nobles, Carrie Nobles (16c), Stephen Williams (86C, 90G), Alyssa Nobles (12C), Beth Dodson Williams (86C, 90G), and Randy Nobles (80C, 85G).

 By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student editorial assistant

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The Beauty of Berry CollegeIf you’re a reader of Berry magazine or a routine visitor to the Berry website, then you know the work of photographer Zane Cochran. His distinctive images of the Ford Buildings, Oak Hill, the Old Mill, Frost Chapel and other Berry landmarks bring the campus to life for those who’ve yet to visit and touch the hearts of alumni and friends alike. Hundreds of these iconic photos are featured in Cochran’s new book, aptly named The Beauty of Berry College. Purchase your soft-cover edition for $25 through the Oak Hill Gift Shop. Better yet, order as a gift and share Berry’s beauty with others. Shop online.

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Stephen Gaylor

Stephen Gaylor (14C), bottom right, shakes hands with Braves scout Brian Bridges after signing a free-agent contract with the team. Also pictured are Berry head baseball coach David Beasley, top left, and assistant Shane West (99C). Photo by student Lauren Neumann.

As Collin McHugh (09c) continues his strong debut season with the Houston Astros, another Berry baseball alumnus is beginning a major-league quest of his own. Stephen Gaylor (14C) signed a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 11 and immediately joined the team’s Orlando-based affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. While at Berry, the speedy center fielder was a two-time All-Southern Athletic Association selection who ended his career as the Vikings’ all-time leader in stolen bases (89). He is the 32nd Berry baseball player to play professionally. Full list.

Alumni are also making news in golf and soccer this summer. Former Berry assistant and NAIA All-American Blake Smart (04C, 06G) has been named head men’s golf coach at the University of Memphis. He previously served as an assistant at the University of Oklahoma and as head coach at Kennesaw State University. Mark Bloom (10C), meanwhile, twice has been named to Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week as a defender for Toronto FC.


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David WarrenLast December, we shared news that music education major David Warren had been named head conductor for the Phantom Regiment, a world-class drum and bugle corps based in Illinois. Earlier this month, Warren closed out his tenure at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, site of Drum Corps International’s World Championship Finals. At the conclusion of the competition, Warren was honored with DCI’s Jim Jones Leadership Award in recognition of his efforts. Click the image for a video narrated by Warren that shows the Phantom Regiment in action.

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Alyssa HollingsworthAlyssa Hollingsworth (13C) put her writing and editing talents to great use this summer as an editorial moderator with Letter to an Unknown Soldier, a project commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The project called for people to write letters to the “unknown soldier” depicted by Charles Sargeant Jagger’s statue on Platform One at London’s Paddington Station, and the results were outstanding; more than 21,000 letters were submitted. Contributors included British Prime Minister David Cameron, actor and comedian Stephen Fry, several Berry alumni recruited by Hollingsworth, and thousands of school children. All are featured in a digital memorial reflecting how people in today’s society remember the “Great War.” A selection of the letters will be published in November by William Collins, an imprint of Harper Collins.

A charter recipient of Berry’s Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, Hollingsworth is currently completing her master’s degree in creative writing for young people at England’s Bath Spa University. As a Berry senior, she won third place in the national Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest.

 By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications editorial assistant.  

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Michael Howard and Whit Whitaker

Michael Howard (14C) and Whit Whitaker (81C)

One of Berry’s newest graduates became a newly minted Marine second lieutenant when Michael Howard (14C) was given the commissioning oath by Berry Chief of Staff and retired Navy Capt. Alexander “Whit” Whitaker (81C) just three days after spring commencement. The ceremony took place at Oak Hill. The international studies major and son of missionary parents spent two summers attending Marine Officer Candidate School during his time at Berry. Next up for the former student supervisor in the Berry president’s office is The Basic School in Quantico, Va., this fall.

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Applewood Smoked Gouda

Cheese made exclusively from milk produced by The Berry Farms Jersey Milk student enterprise is one of the choices in this month's Alumni Accent poll.

In July’s Alumni Accent poll, we asked you to hark back to your earliest days as a Berry student and share your most vivid memory of summer orientation. The No. 1 response was that very first drive onto campus (34% of the vote). The first night spent in the residence halls was a close second (32%). Nineteen percent recalled meeting friends they still have today, while the rest of the votes were split between the heat (in the days before AC) with 8%, getting your first class schedule (5%) and seeing the first of many Berry deer (2%).

This month’s question is inspired by the story about Zane Cochran’s new book, The Beauty of Berry College. It would no doubt make a GREAT GIFT for Berry alumni. Can you think of others? We certainly can. Scroll to the blog footer to vote for your favorite.

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