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What do you get when you mix a gorgeous fall weekend, a steady diet of tradition-rich events, a fantastic finish on the football field and a fireworks display worthy of July 4th? Why, it’s the perfect Mountain Day!

The 100th anniversary of Berry’s one-of-a-kind homecoming celebration exceeded expectations in every way. A stormy forecast threatened to force Friday’s Mountain Day Olympics indoors, but then the skies cleared and a glorious weekend dawned. Saturday got off to an early start with a convocation speech by Board of Visitors member Billy Blanchard (93C) and the new reunion brunch, which drew 330 to the Ford Reflecting Pools. From there, it was on to the Mountain Campus, where 7,500 students, alumni, parents and friends gathered for the annual picnic and Grand March, which this year took place to the strains of a new Mountain Day March composed by longtime faculty member Dr. Stan Pethel.

Victory ScoreboardLater that evening, 4,200 fans at Rome’s Barron Stadium celebrated as Berry’s second-year football team claimed its first-ever varsity win. Students and other Viking supporters poured onto the field after Dale Jackson’s 25-yard pass to Josh Bullock won the overtime thriller. The victory was followed by a spectacular fireworks display. The night ended with a festive crowd of approximately 2,500 filling the Clara Bowl for the 10th annual Marthapalooza student carnival.

Bonny Harper (13C) captured the spirit of Mountain Day in her column for the Barrow County News. As she expressed, “it is truly a pleasure to return and watch the current students taking part in such a time-honored tradition and experiencing the same joy I did.” To that, we can only say amen!

Special thanks to all those who made a gift to the 1914 Challenge in honor of Martha’s birthday. The students set a goal of 1,914 gifts to commemorate the very first Mountain Day; we wound up with 2,014. Great job everybody!

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Mountain Day LogoAs Berry alumni, we all have memories of the Grand March of Students on Mountain Day and the penny basket at the bottom of the hill that symbolizes the spirit of giving at the heart of this cherished celebration. As we approach this year’s centennial, students in Berry’s Firsthand4You program are honoring that heritage with the 1914 Challenge, an ambitious effort to collect 1,914 gifts in recognition of the first Mountain Day a century ago. The challenge begins online Sept. 29 and concludes Oct. 4 at the Mountain Day picnic. An old-fashioned scoreboard on the slopes of Lavender Mountain will track our progress.

Participants will feel t1914 Challengehe satisfaction that comes from helping Berry students AND receive a 10% discount at local restaurants in the hours preceding the 6 p.m. kickoff for Berry’s Mountain Day football game. Pregame partners include Johnny’s Pizza, Mellow Mushroom, Brewhouse, Jefferson’s, Schroeder’s on Broad Street, Harvest Moon and O’Charley’s, with others joining by the day.

“We’re excited to do something special this year to mark the 100th anniversary of Mountain Day,” said Ashley Swanson, student chair and senior class representative for Firsthand4You. “Our goal is to bring students, faculty, staff, alumni and family together to celebrate Berry and our legacy of giving. We’re a little nervous to see if we can collect all the 1,914 gifts – but we’re going to definitely give it our best shot!”

Reunion Brunch: Those planning to attend the Mountain Day reunion brunch have until Sept. 26 to complete the online registration form. The cost is $12 (children 5 and under eat free). Participating classes include 1974A, 1974C, 1979A, 1979C, 1984C, 1989C, 1994C, 1999C, 2004C and 2009C.

Football: Alumni wishing to obtain single-game tickets for Mountain Day can make their purchase online (available now) or in person at the Krannert Center information desk beginning Sept. 24. Tickets also can be purchased at the stadium gate (pending availability) on game day. There are three price levels ranging from $5 to $25 per seat.

A full schedule of Mountain Day events is available online.

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