Tag Archives: Audrey Morgan

Ford Auditorium Renovation

Current view of Ford Auditorium stage, with seats removed and scaffolding installed to provide access to the ceiling.

As a student, Betty Anne Rouse Bell (52H, 56C) performed in Ford Auditorium – and scrubbed its stage. In May, the alumna who counts the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan among the many she has entertained with her voice returned to the source of so many great memories, this time with mini-sledgehammer in hand, to celebrate the beginning of a $6.3 million renovation and restoration of the beloved Berry icon.

Bell – whose name will grace the interior recital hall thanks to a generous surprise gift from her husband, Robert – joined many other alumni and friends at the event, which featured performances by student vocalist Carrie Sturniolo, trumpeter Leif Atchley (19C) and the Ross Magoulas-led Alumni Choir.

President Steve Briggs commended the more than 400 donors who have contributed to the LifeReady Campaign project thus far, noting that they “have banded together, each playing a part like the members of an orchestra, to accomplish something beautiful that transcends their separate contributions.”

Fittingly, some of the most significant gifts have honored alumnae like Bell whose lives found expression through their experiences as students in Ford Auditorium and the surrounding Ford Buildings. They include Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C, FFS), whose 90th birthday challenge spurred significant support for the renovation last summer; and Margaret Weaver Faison (36C), whose family has named the entrance hall in her memory.

Dickey took her turn with a sledgehammer, as did Audrey Morgan, an honorary alumna and Berry Board of Visitors member whose late sister, M. Bobbie Bailey, will be remembered with the naming of the Ford stage.

Following a plan developed by Kirkegaard Associates of Chicago, one of the nation’s foremost acoustics consulting firms, workers are even now breathing new life into the facility. Highlights of the renovation include installation of an all-wood ceiling, wood-carved acoustical paneling, adjustable acoustical banners, and sound reflectors; a 1,086 square-foot accessible stage with curved front; a new arched seating configuration with room for 366; a redesigned balcony with improved sight lines; and restoration of historic elements, among other enhancements, including updates to adjacent music department spaces.

There’s still time to lend your voice to the chorus of donors ensuring that Berry students have a performance venue worthy of their talents. Click here to make your gift supporting the Ford Auditorium renovation today.

Bookmark and Share

Audrey Morgan at Sisters Theatre Dedication

Audrey Morgan stands in front of a portrait of herself and sister Bobbie Bailey in the lobby of Berry’s new theatre.

“The dedication of this theatre is nothing short of a miracle. Less than two years ago, it was only a dream.” – Audrey Morgan

Dry eyes were scarce Oct. 6 as students, faculty, alumni and friends joined Audrey Morgan and her family for the dedication of Sisters Theatre. The name of Berry’s newest fine arts facility celebrates the legacy of love and lifelong commitment to the arts shared by Morgan and her sister, the late Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“For me personally, the new theatre has deep meaning,” Morgan expressed. “I was very blessed to have as my sister Bobbie Bailey. Our lives as sisters and best friends were entwined for 85 years; our names as business partners entwined for 55 years. And now with this beautiful new theatre on the Berry campus that I love so much, our names are going to be entwined for years to come. Tonight is truly a mountaintop experience for me. I could not be happier or more honored.”

Morgan, a Berry Board of Visitors member and recipient of the college’s honorary doctorate, played a critical role in the now-completed $6.7 million campaign to fund the theatre’s construction and associated improvements to Blackstone Hall. Her $1 million challenge gift initiated fundraising in 2015; a year later, a second $1 million gift was announced, this one from the foundation of her late sister.

Students and faculty were thrilled to take possession of their new 9,226 square-foot performance home, which features a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276. Coupled with the improvements to Blackstone Hall, the new facility doubles the amount of functional space available to Berry’s theatre program.

The Berry College Theatre Company christened the new facility with its fall production of Crimes of the Heart. Next up is Make Merry (Or How to Survive Your Family on Holidays), scheduled for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-2. Click here to order tickets.

Sisters Theatre Photo Gallery

Bookmark and Share

Project champion Audrey Morgan received a well-deserved standing ovation during a Feb. 23 “topping-out” celebration marking the halfway point in construction for Berry’s new theatre.

Work on the 9,226 square-foot addition to Blackstone Hall is progressing rapidly, with completion expected as early as May 30. Students, faculty, donors and friends got a glimpse of the developing space during the luncheon, which was held inside the four walls that soon will house a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276, depending on the needs of a particular production. Construction and design partners in attendance praised the cooperation and assistance of Berry’s theatre faculty and facilities staff in helping to bring the project to fruition.

It was Morgan’s $1 million challenge gift that initiated fundraising for the now-completed $6.7 million theatre campaign in fall 2015. A year later, at the project groundbreaking, she announced a second $1 million commitment, this one from the foundation of her late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

Morgan, an honorary alumna and member of the Board of Visitors, spoke fondly of her sister at the topping out and graciously thanked all “who had a part in making this dream a reality.” Later, President Steve Briggs proclaimed to the theatre students in attendance, “This, my friends, is for you.”

Bookmark and Share

A turn of the shovel signaled a new era for Berry’s fine arts program as ground was broken Sept. 27 for a new campus theatre adjacent to Blackstone Hall. Adding to the excitement was news of a surprise $1 million gift from the foundation of project champion Audrey Morgan’s late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“Over the years I’ve volunteered and supported a lot of great causes, and standing right by my side and supporting me in all of my endeavors was my sister and business partner, Bobbie Bailey,” said Morgan, an honorary Berry alumna and member of the Board of Visitors. “The Berry project was no different.”

Thanks to the Bailey Foundation gift, fundraising for the new theatre and associated improvements to Blackstone has now exceeded $6 million, leaving the project just $600,000 short of completion. Morgan played a key role in that success with her fall 2015 challenge gift of $1 million, which was contingent on construction beginning in 2016.

“This is not a ‘build it and hope they will come’ project, because they are already here,” Morgan said, praising the quality of the students, faculty and staff in the Berry College Theatre Company. “They deserve a first-class facility.”

Construction of the 250-seat theatre is expected to be completed in time for the 2017-18 academic year. Click here to help complete funding for the project.

Additional Coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bookmark and Share

Bill Pence

Bill Pence

The Berry College Board of Visitors has a new chair in William L. “Bill” Pence (76C), a partner specializing in environmental law with the BakerHostetler law firm in Orlando. A board member since 2010, Pence holds a Juris Doctor from the Syracuse (N.Y.) University College of Law and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science. He was named to the “Best Lawyers in America” list in 2015 and also serves as a volunteer guardian ad litem for the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Fla.

In addition to a new chair, the Board of Visitors has two new members: Mike Crego (92C), managing director of Benjamin F. Edwards and Co. in Rome, and Jack Allen Morgan, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Tax Division and special assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. Morgan is the grandson of Berry benefactor and honorary alumna Audrey Morgan and her late husband, Jack.

Bookmark and Share

Audrey Morgan

Audrey Morgan

Todd Brooks

Todd Brooks

The visionary donor who helped spur development of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program and the administrator who has led Berry’s athletic program during a period of tremendous growth have been granted honorary membership in the Berry Alumni Association. Audrey Morgan and Todd Brooks join an impressive list that includes former college presidents, beloved faculty members and other close Berry friends.

Morgan has committed more than $7.5 million to programs and facilities benefiting Berry students, including $1 million in matching funds to encourage support for a new campus theatre. She is a member of the Board of Visitors and a recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate.

Brooks, meanwhile, has served two stints as athletic director, helping guide Berry’s transition to NCAA Division III and the Southern Athletic Association and assisting in the planning process for the Cage Center and Valhalla.

Bookmark and Share

Cabaret Performance ImageMomentum is building for the dramatic arts at Berry, with fundraising surpassing $3 million for new and improved campus theatre facilities and attendance reaching new heights during the Berry College Theatre Company’s February production of Cabaret. More than 70 students worked on stage and off to bring the Tony Award-winning musical to life on the Berry stage, and their efforts did not go unrewarded. Attendance totaled nearly 1,300 for the eight shows (more than 80 percent capacity), breaking the previous record set by Little Shop of Horrors in 2014.

Audrey MorganAmong those who turned out was Audrey Morgan, the Board of Visitors member and recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate whose $1 million challenge gift has spurred significant additional support for construction of a new theatre and renovation of Blackstone Hall. In recognition of her generosity and leadership, the stage in the new theatre will be named in her honor. If you share Mrs. Morgan’s desire to see construction on a new theatre begin in 2016 and would like to take advantage of the matching funds she has made available, click www.berry.edu/gift or contact Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at sbreithaupt@berry.edu.

All gifts should be designated to “New theatre and Blackstone Hall renovation.”

Around Berry: Cabaret Photo Gallery

Bookmark and Share

Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins

Architectural rendering of the Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins, slated for construction later this year.

Giving to LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity has now surpassed $91 million! This includes more than $43 million in commitments for Gate of Opportunity and general use scholarships. We are truly grateful to everyone in the Berry community who has supported the campaign to date. A special shout out goes to our alumni, whose gifts account for nearly half the campaign total. Thank you for your support!

Highlights in 2015 included the opening of two major campaign priorities – the new campus Welcome Center and Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field – and Audrey Morgan’s $1 million challenge commitment to fast-track fundraising for the renovation of Blackstone Hall and construction of a new campus theatre. There was also further development of initiatives within Berry’s Integrity in Leadership and Entrepreneurship centers.

Construction of two other campaign-funded projects – the Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins and an event pavilion at Oak Hill – is on tap for 2016. In addition, fundraising is underway for Ford Auditorium’s renovation as a recital hall and construction of an animal science addition for McAllister Hall.

Visit www.berry.edu/lifeready to learn more about the various priorities, and thanks again for helping to make the dream of a “life-ready” education a reality for our students!

Bookmark and Share

Theatre Rendering: Interior

Architectural rendering of planned Berry theatre.

Plans to build a new theatre on campus have a champion in Berry Board of Visitors member Audrey Morgan. She has made a challenge commitment to match the first $1 million in gifts to the project dollar for dollar – if the $3.3 million needed for the new theatre is raised by June 30. Her goal is to put fundraising on the fast track so that construction can begin next summer.

Audrey Morgan Portrait

Audrey Morgan

“We learn so much about who we are as individuals and as a community through the arts,” Morgan said. “I am honored to help bring facilities to Berry that will give such wonderful, talented students new opportunity to grow artistically and personally. These improvements in support of the arts are important for the students and community at Berry and need to happen soon.”

News of Morgan’s challenge was met with excitement on social media and rousing applause during Mountain Day performances of The Nerd, the first production of Berry’s 2015-16 theatre season.

The planned theatre, an addition to Blackstone Hall, will provide a comfortable setting for an audience of 312. A modified thrust stage will be supported by state-of-the-art lighting, sound and curtain systems. A $1.9 million renovation of the main floor of Blackstone Hall will follow, providing a large acting studio/classroom, updated scene shop with paint booth, costume shop with dye area, dressing areas, meeting space, and offices.

Gifts (which literally will be doubled by the match – up to the first $1 million received) can be made online or by contacting Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at sbreithaupt@berry.edu. Be sure to direct your gift to the theatre/Blackstone Hall project.

Visit the LifeReady website for project details.

Bookmark and Share

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.

Bookmark and Share