Tag Archives: Barry Griswell

James Blount and Barry Griswell (71C)

WHAT A VIEW: Berry student James Blount welcomes Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) to the podium during the groundbreaking ceremony for The Spires at Berry College. Eagle Lake can be seen in the background, with Lavender Mountain in the distance.

Spires RenderingA soaring bald eagle provided the perfect backdrop as student James Blount offered opening remarks at the official groundbreaking for The Spires at Berry College, a continuing care retirement community to be located on approximately 50 acres of leased Berry property off the North Rome Connector.

Blount, an intern with the project, joined college and local officials in welcoming future residents – some of them Berry alumni – in attendance. He lauded the strength of the community they are already forming and compared their experiences to his own.

“Involvement characterizes the life of a Berry student,” Blount explained. “It is one of the cornerstones of having a beneficial and loving relationship with this school. And I can see in this community that there is already so much involvement.

“You are so special because you have bought in,” he added, addressing the future residents in the crowd. “You’re the first, and you realize just how truly magical this place is.”

When completed in 2020, that “place” will be a community of 170 cottage and apartment-style homes located on the shores of Eagle Lake, a former quarry. Deposits have now been paid on more than 70 percent of those residences, allowing construction to begin.

President Steve Briggs first shared the vision for the project – a long sought dream of Berry alumni – in this 2015 Berry magazine essay. For residents, benefits will include first-class amenities as well as proximity to the Berry campus and Rome’s thriving medical community. For Berry students, the facility represents opportunity in the form of intergenerational mentoring relationships and significant student work experience. Read more.

While located on Berry property, The Spires will operate as financially independent, self-sustaining nonprofit with its own board of directors. Visit retireatberry.com for project details.

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Williams Field Dedication

From left, softball coach Cori Thiermann, Dean of Students Debbie Heida, Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) and President Steve Briggs join Kay and Bob (62H) Williams at the official ribbon-cutting for Kay Williams Field.

Four straight wins over top-ranked opponents, a milestone 200th victory for head coach Cori Thiermann and a field dedication honoring one of their biggest fans highlighted a program-best 13-0 start for Berry’s softball Vikings.

The Feb. 18 dedication of Kay Williams Field coincided with a doubleheader sweep of arch-rival Emory University. A pregame ceremony honored Kay Williams’ longtime support of Berry’s student-athletes and the institution as a whole. Husband Bob Williams (62H) joined her for the dedication, along with Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) and other Berry leaders.

The wins over Emory – coming on the heels of a similarly impressive sweep of Texas Lutheran – propelled Berry to a top-5 national ranking. In less than a month of action, three members of the team – Brittany Tuttle, Sarah Moore and Marie Collop – have earned National Player of the Week honors from either Fastpitch News or the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

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Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs discuss vintage photos and letters documenting Henry Ford's relationship with Berry.

Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs view vintage photos documenting Henry and Clara Ford’s relationship with Berry.

In the last edition of our Alumni Accent trivia challenge, we asked readers to name the Fortune 500 company Berry Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) once served as CEO. The answer: Principal Financial Group. As a bonus, we asked you what sport he played at Berry. The obvious answer, given his 6-foot-9 frame, was basketball.

This month, we take our cue from a recent campus visit by Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of famed Berry benefactor Henry Ford. On campus for a short video shoot, the younger Ford had the opportunity to tour the campus – including the iconic buildings that bear his family name – and learn more about the historic connection between his great-grandparents and Martha Berry.

Scroll to the blog footer for this month’s question about those famous English Gothic buildings. Share your answers on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia to earn a shout-out in our next issue.

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Berry Magazine CoverBeth Collins Earnst (93C) has done it again, winning her second consecutive Alumni Accent trivia challenge by correctly tweeting that the Berry College Chapel is the famous campus landmark celebrating its centennial in 2016.

For this month’s challenge, we take inspiration from the newest issue of Berry magazine. Scroll to the blog footer for two questions about former Fortune 500 CEO and current Berry Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C), pictured at left with wife Michele Irwin Griswell (70C). Share your answers on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia to earn a shout-out in our next issue.

HINT: The answers to both questions can be found in the story, accessible by clicking the adjacent cover image.

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Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert.

Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert

Berry’s strong history of executive leadership continued with the election of J. Barry Griswell (71C) as chair and Rick Gilbert (77c) as vice chair of the college’s Board of Trustees. They succeed Karen Holley Horrell (74C) and Cecil B. “Buster” Wright (73C), who continue active service as trustees after completing their second terms as chair and vice chair, respectively.

Griswell, a trustee since 2003, is the retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and a past winner of the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Award, among his many honors. Gilbert, who has served on the board since 2008, is an entrepreneurial investor in several businesses and co-founder of Atlanticus Holdings Corp. Both are married to Berry alumna, Griswell to the former Michele Irwin (70C) and Gilbert to the former Debra Bourne (76C).

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Robbie Bach Addressing StudentsCivic engineering – the process of encouraging people to engage themselves in their communities – was the topic Nov. 12 as Berry’s Conson Wilson Lecture Series welcomed Robbie Bach, the man responsible for leading the creation and development of the highly successful Xbox video game platform. The former Microsoft executive spoke at the request of Berry Trustee Roxanne Spillett, former president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Bach also has strong ties to another Berry trustee, Barry Griswell (71C), his colleague on the National Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which Bach serves as chair.

In his remarks, Bach noted that the strategy of devising a purpose, principles and priorities that proved so successful in developing the Xbox apply to civic engineering as well. He also told the audience of students, faculty and community members that faith, perseverance and serendipity are three things that have changed his life. He walked away impressed by the beauty of Berry’s campus and the emphasis on student work.

Media coverage: Xbox creator speaks at Berry

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Barry Griswell Portrait

Barry Griswell

A life lived at the “intersection of business achievement and community/social change with an emphasis on how ethical leadership and hard work cultivate and benefit both” has helped Berry Trustee J. Barry Griswell (71C) earn placement on a worldwide list of 100 influential leaders honored by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The former Berry basketball player who later served as chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group was nominated by Dr. John Grout, dean of Berry’s Campbell School of Business, to join the distinguished group, which represents 21 countries and more than 20 different business sectors.

“Everybody’s Berry degree becomes more valuable when they perform in the workplace, and no one has done that better than Barry Griswell,” Grout praised. “He has raised the stock of everyone who has graduated from Berry and continues to do so.”

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The rhythmic beat of the Viking Drumline provided the perfect soundtrack as students, faculty, staff, board members, project donors and special guests celebrated the Oct. 17 groundbreaking for Valhalla, including Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field.

“What a great day it is for Berry College,” said President Steve Briggs, addressing the large crowd gathered at the construction site just south of the Cage Center. “It’s an important milestone in our ongoing effort to enhance this amazing campus and to create places of opportunity for students, for our friends and for our community. And like the Cage Center behind us, Valhalla will provide a major venue for recreation, excitement, achievement, participation and just plain fun.”

Taking up shovels were Steve Cage (74C), the Berry trustee whose 2012 lead gift initiated fundraising for Valhalla; Bob (62H) and Kay Williams, whose generosity paved the way for the naming of the stadium field; alumni trustees Bert Clark (82C) and Roger Lusby (79C), who led the successful Clark Track Challenge, and Bert’s wife, Cathy; Dr. Ouida Dickey (50C, FFS), who has joined daughters Jennifer (77A, 80C) and Angela (75A, 79C) in making a challenge gift to name the track and field throws area for the late Garland M. Dickey (42C); Steve and Michelle Tart, football parents and project supporters; Randy Berry and Barry Griswell (71C), trustees and LifeReady Campaign co-chairs, and Barry’s wife Michele (70C), all major donors to the project; and Board of Trustees Chair Karen Holley Horrell (74C), another major contributor to the fundraising effort to build the stadium.

Steve CageIn his remarks, Cage (pictured) noted that Valhalla is “a collaboration of hard work, trust and leadership with the Board of Trustees, Dr. Briggs, faculty and staff, students and donors.” He offered special praise to the Berry president, dedicating the new stadium in his honor, and thanked all those who had made gifts to the project. Groundbreaking coverage.

Christened  “a place for us” by SGA President Paton Roden, Valhalla will provide a new home for Berry’s football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams when completed in 2015. The stadium and adjacent Dickey Field will also make possible the spring 2016 resumption of full competition in men’s and women’s track and field, in addition to hosting intramural competitions and other large outdoor events. Berry’s service entrance will be closed until construction is completed.

Fundraising for Valhalla is now entering its final phase. Gifts to the project can be made online. If you’d like to double your giving power, make your commitment through the Dickey Field Challenge.

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First-class facilities, centers for integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, enhancements to the Work Experience Program, generous scholarships, and new student mentoring initiatives are the focus of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity.

Together, these campaign priorities will build on Berry’s historic mission of educating the head, heart and hands and further strengthen opportunities for students to discover their gifts and realize their potential. The result will be graduates who leave Berry even better prepared to improve their homes, workplaces and communities.

“Opportunity long has been Berry’s pledge to hardworking students,” said Barry Griswell (71C), retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and campaign co-chair with fellow college trustee Randy Berry. “The experience of a Berry education has changed my own life and others, while the character of a Berry education has changed communities for the better. We want to continue this important work.”

The campaign launch was accompanied by news that more than $73 million in gifts and pledges were already in hand. These early commitments – made during the four years preceding the May 17 kickoff event – include $24 million to support an eventual total of 130 innovative, mission-based Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. Funding also has been completed for the McAllister Hall endowment supporting science education and science-based scholarships.

Future commitments will make possible major facilities enhancements for Berry’s growing animal science program and much-needed renovations for the college’s primary performing arts venues, Ford Auditorium and Blackstone Hall. Other brick-and-mortar projects include a campus welcome center and entry enhancements; the Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field; and the recently completed renovation of Roy Richards Memorial Gymnasium.

Learning experiences will be enriched through centers focused on integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, while work experiences – long a hallmark of a Berry education – will be enhanced through gifts supporting Berry Student Enterprises and other high-level student work positions. New mentoring programs will help students maximize the opportunities afforded by their Berry experience.

Details about each campaign priority can be found at www.berry.edu/lifeready. The site also includes information about giving options alumni and friends can use to help make these projects a reality. Gifts of any size through June 2020 count toward the campaign total.

“We could not be where we are today without your support, and we will not achieve the goals of this campaign without your help going forward,” President Steve Briggs said in an email message to alumni. “We have the opportunity to have a profound impact on Berry and the lives of future students.”

Campaign launch.

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Barry and Michele GriswellMichele Griswell (70C) is the 2012 recipient of the United Way of Central Iowa’s highest honor, the Tocqueville Society Award, recognizing inspirational and sustained service to her community through the United Way. She was selected by a panel of past recipients of the award.

Michele is a founder of the United Way Women’s Leadership Connection, which has grown to more than 600 members over the last decade while raising more than $10 million to improve central Iowa’s network of learning centers for young children in lower-income neighborhoods. Through service to the WLC Advisory and Advocacy committees, she has encouraged legislators to act on behalf of Iowa’s young children. In 2005, she launched the Griswell Family Challenge with husband (and Berry trustee) Barry (71C), matching new and increased contributions to WLC. That same year, the couple helped lead United Way Worldwide’s launch of Born Learning. Michele has also worked passionately in support of United Way Worldwide’s National Women’s Leadership Council, inspiring growth in women’s philanthropy throughout the United Way network.

Read more.

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