Tag Archives: Alumni Weekend

The Spires at Berry College

WHAT A SIGHT! The Spires at Berry College continuing care retirement community rises on 50 acres of Berry-leased property adjacent to Eagle Lake.

Ford Auditorium Renovation Work

Workers on scaffolding high above the Ford Auditorium floor are installing a new tongue-and-groove oak ceiling that will significantly enhance acoustics.

Workers tasked with restoring two of Berry’s most beloved campus icons – Ford Auditorium and Barnwell Chapel – have made notable strides this summer. Barnwell is expected to be completed by year’s end, while Ford should be ready in time for spring semester. Work is also progressing on The Spires at Berry College, the new continuing care retirement community rising steadily on the shores of Eagle Lake, not far from main campus.

A “wall-breaking” ceremony during Alumni Weekend served as the kickoff for the $6.3 million Ford Auditorium renovation, which will transform Berry’s signature venue for music performance into a first-class recital hall serving the college and Northwest Georgia communities. Funded by the generosity of more than 400 alumni and friends, the renovation will result in greatly enhanced acoustics, an enlarged stage and a new seating configuration, among many other improvements. Already, workers have completed renovation of adjacent music department spaces. The project, as well as Ford’s unique history, was featured in the July issue of Private University Products and News.

Like Ford, Barnwell has also benefited from the generosity of the Berry community, with 196 donors committing more than $138,000 toward the $600,000 renovation (click here if you’d like to contribute).

Barnwell Window Restoration

Alumni Work Week participants contribute “sweat equity” to the Barnwell Chapel renovation.

The comprehensive project began in March using lumber culled from Berry’s own slow-growth pines and includes replacement of exterior logs, installation of a new roof, foundation repairs, updated electrical wiring and a new handicapped-accessible entrance. In May, Al Christopher (61c) led an Alumni Work Week crew of 13 tasked with the job of restoring the chapel’s windows.

The Spires, meanwhile, continues to be on track for a 2020 opening, with drivers on Redmond Circle enjoying a commanding view of the rapidly developing community. Excitement continues to build around the project, which will operate as a financially independent, self-sustaining nonprofit separate from Berry College. Reservations for the 170 cottage and apartment-style homes now exceed 80 percent, and some residents are already relocating to Rome. The new community is expected to generate significant work and learning opportunities for Berry students.

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Alumni WeekendIf it’s true that home is where the heart is, then participants in Alumni Weekend were no doubt humming Homeward Bound as they returned to campus May 17-19. Highlights this year included reunion events for the classes of 1954, 1959 and 1964; a dinner for the college class of 1961; Golden Guard induction for the academy and college reunion classes of 1969; and recognition of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners.

VIEW: Reunion Class and Event Photos

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS

  • Alexander “Whit” Whyte Whitaker IV (81C, FFS), Distinguished Achievement: Retired Navy captain and former Berry chief of staff now serving as president of King University
  • Rebekah “Bekah” Fortney Baxter (18C), Distinguished Service: Founder of Chosen Vessels, a nonprofit seeking to encourage, equip and empower leaders around the globe; she has served abroad in Ghana and Romania and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in intercultural studies at Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Timothy Brian Lusby (84C), Entrepreneurial Spirit: Army veteran with a 30-year track record of entrepreneurial success; most recently, he was one of three founders of JRL Energy and its wholly owned subsidiary, JRL Coal, which last fall was named Tri-County “Business of the Year” in Harlan, Ky.
  • Adam Douglas Newton (07C), Outstanding Young Alumni: Former Berry cross country and track captain who is now one of the youngest associate partners at Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, his professional home for 11 years

OTHER NOTABLE HONOREESAlumni Weekend

  • Frances Richey (83A, 87C), Virginia R. Webb Service Award, Berry Alumni Association
  • Frank Campbell (posthumous), Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award, Berry High Schools/Berry Academy

CLASS RECOGNITION AND REUNION GIVING

  • 1969A – Reunion Cup (percentage attendance)
  • 1959C – Viking Cup (highest giving percentage)
  • 1964C – Ford Cup (total giving)
  • 1969A – Martha Cup (percentage increase in giving)

Total reunion giving exceeded $634,000.

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Alumni Weekend Brochure

Whit Whitaker

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include Whit Whitaker (81C), former Berry chief of staff and U.S. Navy officer, now president of King University.

The end of another academic year is fast approaching, meaning Alumni Weekend can’t be far behind. Hundreds of alumni will return home to Berry on May 17-19 for reunions honoring the high school, college and academy classes of 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969. A dinner for the college class of 1961 will also be held.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 17, with reunion dinners and continues through Sunday. Highlights include the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards and Golden Guard dinner on Saturday night.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement: Alexander “Whit” Whitaker (81C, FFS)
  • Service: Rebekah “Bekah” Fortney Baxter (18C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Timothy Brian Lusby (84C)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Adam Douglas Newton (07C)

Winners will be honored alongside the academy and college classes of 1969, which will be inducted into the Golden Guard in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Berry.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services and a closing reception for the Oak Hill exhibit, From Tree to Treasure: Woodturnings by Al Christopher (61c). The scene then shifts to Alumni Work Week, another grand Berry tradition, which continues through May 24.

Click the links below for online registration.

Alumni Weekend

Alumni Work Week

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Alumni working in Berry College Archives

PRESERVING BERRY HISTORY: From left, Tom Butler (65A), Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C, FFS) and Claudette West Bearden (68C) organize documents in the Berry College Archives during a previous Alumni Work Week. This spring, Dr. Dickey’s daughter, Jennifer, will lead a new effort to collect oral histories from alumni in video form.

Jennifer Dickey

Jennifer Dickey

Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C) has spent much of her professional life studying the history of her high school and college alma mater. Now, in her role as Alumni Council vice president for Berry culture and heritage, she is spearheading a new project meant to further enrich our understanding of that history by incorporating the voices of alumni who have lived it.

Dickey, who serves as Berry’s history consultant in addition to her work as a professor of history at Kennesaw State University, will be working with the Alumni Council’s Heritage Committee to capture these memories in video form through oral histories that will be housed in the Berry College Archives and eventually could be made available online.

“There has never been a systematic, sustained effort to capture the experiences and memories of Berry alumni,” Dickey explained, noting that previous initiatives have been more narrowly focused. “We really want to try to go after everybody.”

The project will launch this May, with initial interviews taking place at Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week. After that, it will become an ongoing effort.

“This is not just a ‘Berry is great’ tale,” Dickey stated. “We want them to talk about all of their experiences here – the good and the bad.

“I think it’s going to be a really interesting project,” she added. “Everyone’s experience here is different, but there are a lot of commonalities too.”

Current Berry students will be helping with the project. If you’d like to be involved, email Dickey at jdickey2@kennesaw.edu.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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A leader in forensic drug chemistry research, a learned historian and dedicated Berry servant, an award-winning journalist, and a skilled woodworker and successful entrepreneur topped the list of award winners recognized at Alumni Weekend. The 2018 recipients of Berry’s Distinguished Alumni Awards included:

  • Dr. C. Randall Clark (67C), professor of medicinal chemistry at Auburn University, Distinguished Achievement
  • Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C), coordinator of public history program and associate professor at Kennesaw State University, Berry campus preservationist, Distinguished Service
  • Al Christopher (61c), talented craftsman, enterprising founder of several businesses in construction and other fields, Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Aitana Vargas (03C), Spanish-language journalist and broadcaster, holds master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Outstanding Young Alumni
Kay Williams and Tim Howard

Kay Williams, Tim Howard

Other honors presented at Alumni Weekend included the following special distinctions bestowed by the Berry Alumni Association:

  • Tim Howard (82C) – Alumni Council Lifetime Membership
  • Kay Williams – Alumni Association President’s Award

Three classes also earned recognition for reunion giving, including an impressive trifecta by the much-heralded college class of 1958:

  • 1958C – Reunion Cup (percentage attendance), Viking Cup (giving participation) and Ford Cup (dollars given)
  • 1968C –  Martha Cup (percentage increase in giving participation)
  • 1948C – Heritage Cup (increase in planned giving commitments)

Special thanks to the hundreds of alumni and friends who turned out for Alumni Weekend, and congratulations to the classes of 1968A and 1968C, this year’s inductees into Berry’s Golden Guard.

Related Links: Alumni Weekend Class Photos

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2018 Alumni Award Winners

Above: Winners of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards include, from left, Aitana Vargas (03C), Outstanding Young Alumni; Al  Christopher (61c), Entrepreneurial Spirit; Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C), Service; Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C), Achievement.

Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards (winners pictured above) is one of many highlights planned for Alumni Weekend 2018. Others include dedication of the Oak Hill Pavilion, a new 5,760-square-foot event space on the grounds of Martha Berry’s famed estate, and reunions for the high school, academy and college classes of 1953, 1958, 1963 and 1968.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 18, with the annual Alumni Golf Scramble and continues through the weekend. The pavilion dedication and Alumni Awards presentation will take place Saturday, May 19, with reunion gatherings scheduled across both days. Complementing the milestone reunions will be a dinner for the class of 1961C and a breakfast gathering for the college classes of 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services May 20, just in time for another grand Berry tradition – Alumni Work Week – to begin.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement:Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C)
  • Service: Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Al Christopher (61c)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Aitana Vargas (03C)

They will be honored Saturday night along with the academy and college classes of 1968, which will join the ranks of Berry’s Golden Guard.

Schedule and online registration: Alumni Weekend, Alumni Work Week

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What does a nationally recognized forensic scientist, a servant-leader with a passion for integrity, an innovative business owner and a talented creative professional have in common? All are recipients of Berry’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Click the names below to learn more about each of these impressive individuals. Hear their own words in the video at right.

Kelly Fite (68C), Distinguished Achievement

Cecil “Buster” Wright III (73C), Distinguished Service

Jim Johnson Jr. (85C), Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ashley Harp Sheppard (01C), Outstanding Young Alumni

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards. If you have a deserving classmate, let us know today!

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Hundreds of alumni and friends made the pilgrimage home to Berry for Alumni Weekend and Work Week.

This year’s Alumni Weekend celebration featured reunions for the college, high school and academy classes of 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967. Highlights included Golden Guard induction for 1967 alumni and special recognition for reunion classes achieving notable success in participation and giving. The class of 1967C earned two such distinctions, the Viking Cup and Martha Cup, for giving participation and greatest percentage increase in annual giving, respectively. The Class of 1962H claimed the Ford Cup for total gifts, while the class of 1967A won the Reunion Cup for percentage in attendance. Class reunion photos.

Individual recognition went to recent Berry retiree Rose Nix, the institution’s newest honorary alumna; former Alumni Association President Dr. Randy Green (37H, 41C), the 2017 recipient of the Virginia R. Webb Exceptional Service Award; and Al (61c) and Becky (61C) Christopher, winners of the Alumni Association’s President’s Award.

Once the reunion dinners wound down and the various awards had been presented, the focus turned to one of Berry’s most unique traditions, Alumni Work Week, which this year featured approximately 175 participants and 17 different work crews. More coverage.

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Alumni Awards MedallionThe ranks of Berry’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame will grow by four with the May 20 induction of this year’s alumni award winners. Honorees include:

Kelly Fite (68C), Distinguished Achievement

Cecil “Buster” Wright III (73C), Distinguished Service

Jim Johnson (85C), Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ashley Harp Sheppard (01C), Outstanding Young Alumni

The Saturday night “Awards and Golden Guard Dinner” is just one highlight of Berry’s annual Alumni Weekend celebration, slated for May 19-21. Others include reunions for the college, high school and academy classes of 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967. Visit www.berry.edu/alumni for event details and online registration. While you’re on the website, be sure to sign up for Alumni Work Week, which will be held May 21-26. The registration deadline for both is May 12.

Click here to nominate someone for the 2018 Alumni Awards.

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No, we’re not talking about THAT election. We’re referring to the Distinguished Alumni Awards. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 awards, and we need your help identifying the best and brightest in Berry’s alumni community. If you have a friend or classmate who is deserving of recognition, please take a few minutes to complete the online nomination form. Awards are available in four categories:

  • Distinguished Achievement
  • Distinguished Service
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Outstanding Young Alumni

The deadline for consideration  is Oct. 31, so don’t delay! Winners will be honored at Alumni Weekend.

Click here for a list of past winners.

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When Stewart Fuqua (80A) sits down to make his travel plans each summer, sandy beaches and swaying palms are the last thing on his mind. The destinations closest to his heart are Guatemala – where he serves each year with his church – and Berry. Every year since 1998, the academy alumnus has returned “home” for Alumni Work Week. This May, he was one of 175 alumni and friends who spent a week working on 17 different campus projects.

Stewart Fuqua

Stewart Fuqua

Working alongside Al Christopher (61c) and other friends, Fuqua helped build an equipment barn for the Season’s Harvest student enterprise, putting to good use the skills he learned decades ago as a student working on the grounds crew and in the water plant. Those skills have served him well throughout his adult life, whether in his work as a contractor and volunteer firefighter or building a home for a doctor in Guatemala.

Fuqua loves returning to “God’s backyard” – as he refers to Berry – for Alumni Work Week, and he intends to be back next year.

“God willing,” he declared, “I’ll be here.”

Click the video for scenes from Berry’s 31st annual Alumni Work Week.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Golden Guard Induction

Joy was in the air May 20-22 as nearly 400 alumni and friends gathered to celebrate their shared Berry heritage at Alumni Weekend. This year’s event included reunions for the high school, academy and college classes of 1951, 1956, 1961 and 1966.

Highlights included Golden Guard induction for the academy and college classes of 1966 and presentation of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Winners included:

Roger W. Lusby III (79C), Distinguished Achievement

Joy Bernice Ogle Whaley (53H), Distinguished Service

Tricia Steele (09C), Entrepreneurial Spirit

Chris R. Hayes (04C), Outstanding Young Alumni

Ross MagoulasAlso honored were Alumni Association Secretary Mandy Tidwell (93C), recipient of the Alumni Association President’s Award, and Robert Catanzano, who received the Berry High Schools/Berry Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award.

Alumni WeekendThe college class of 1966 shined in class competition, claiming the Reunion Cup (highest percentage attendance), Viking Cup (highest giving percentage) and Heritage Cup (greatest increase in Berry Heritage Society membership). The Ford Cup (highest total amount given) went to the college class of 1961. Total reunion giving for all classes was $1.4 million.

Nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards are now being accepted. Click here for details.

Additional content: Alumni Weekend photos, Alumni Weekend Worship Service audio

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