Tag Archives: Bob Williams

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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Berry Academy Basketball TeamMembers of the 1964-65 Berry Academy Falcons basketball team returned to campus in December to commemorate the golden anniversary of one of the greatest seasons in Berry history.

Fifty years ago, these men dominated their competition as one of the most formidable high school basketball teams in Georgia. Thriving under the strict leadership of head coach Jerry Shelton (58C), the Falcons soared to a 30-5 record that included a 17-game winning streak to start the season, a four-game sweep of the Rome News-Tribune Invitational Basketball Tournament (now called the Holiday Festival), and a seven-overtime win over Cartersville that propelled them into the state tournament for a second consecutive season.

Five decades later, the bonds of brotherhood that made them such a powerful unit were still evident as team members, fellow alumni and friends gathered for a reunion luncheon in the Berry Alumni Center. Later, the Falcons took the court together once more to be honored before a packed house at Berry’s own Cage Center during halftime of the final game of the 2014 Holiday Festival tournament.

Jerry SheltonThe players were effusive in their praise of Shelton, a standout athlete during his college days at Berry who went on to a distinguished career as an educator and administrator, eventually serving as director of the basketball tournament he’d won as a coach at Berry Academy. They also remembered his late wife, Joyce (63C), the team’s “greatest, most loyal” cheerleader.

With obvious respect and good humor, they painted a picture of a man meticulous in nature, rigorous in his training methods and creative in his coaching. Jerry Chastain (65A), for example, recalled a practice in which Shelton armed defenders with tennis racquets to help his shooters prepare for a particularly tall opponent.

“He made us winners,” declared team captain Tom Butler (65A). “He taught us that we were worthwhile and powerful, to shoot beyond what we thought were our limits, that we were somebody because we were men of Berry. And because of this, we found out who we really, truly could become.”

Bill McWhorter (65A, 69C) added, “Through [Shelton’s] guidance and with a student body that supported a team that loved to play basketball and loved each other, we were able to make the Berry schools proud, not just the high school but the college as well. It’s an honor for me to say that I’m a graduate from Berry Academy, and I was a member of the greatest team ever.”

The reunion was spearheaded by Bob Williams (62H) and his wife, Kay.

More on the 1964-65 Berry Academy Falcons.

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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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Alumni WeekendThe memories came flooding back May 30 to June 6 as hundreds of alumni returned home for three of the biggest events on the Berry calendar – Alumni Weekend, Young Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week.

Alumni Weekend highlights included Golden Guard induction for the college and academy classes of 1964, presentation of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards and recognition of longtime faculty members Peter Lawler and Kathy Richardson as honorary members of the Berry Alumni Association. Also of note were chapel services led by Walter Copeland (64A, 71C) and Alumni Association Chaplain Valerie Loner (91C), as well as special praise for the following individuals:

Bob Williams (62H), Lifetime membership on the Berry Alumni Council
John Shahan (64A, 69C) and Bill Thornton (68C), Berry High Schools/Berry Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Awards
Lewis Copeland (60C), Virginia R. Webb Exceptional Service Award
Jennifer Beard (93C, 00G, FS), Berry Alumni Association President’s Award

Alumni Work WeekReunions were held for eleven different college, high school and academy classes, three of which earned awards for participation and giving:

Class of 1959C: Viking Cup (highest giving percentage)
Class of 1964C: Ford Cup (highest total amount given), Heritage Cup (greatest increase in Berry Heritage Society membership) and Martha Cup (greatest percentage increase in gifts)
Class of 1964A: Reunion Cup (highest percentage attendance)

In addition to their financial generosity – the reunion classes contributed approximately $1.02 million in gifts to Berry – alumni also gave of their time and energy through the Young Alumni Weekend service project and Alumni Work Week. The latter drew nearly 200 participants for a week of work and fellowship featuring an ambitious list of projects. One crew led by Al Christopher (61c) and Stewart Fuqua (80A) constructed an enclosed shed for the Season’s Harvest student-operated enterprise, while another led by Jimmy Bell (60C) and Sid Wheeler (60C) completed a dairy cattle barn at the Rollins Ruminant Research Center. More coverage.

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Berry Nursing

Retired physician Pat Adams chats with students in Berry's new state-of-the-art nursing suite. Photo by student Lauren Neumann.

Berry celebrated the launch of its baccalaureate nursing program with a Feb. 20 luncheon and ribbon-cutting that afforded guests the opportunity to get an up-close look at the state-of-the-art patient simulators at the heart of the Evans Hall nursing suite. Among those in attendance were Lou Brown Jewell, Bob Williams (62H) and wife Kay, and Pat and Colleen Adams, all generous supporters of the new program.

Nineteen students are currently working toward future careers as leaders in the health care field, and more than a hundred have declared their intention to pursue the new major. They represent the first wave of Berry-educated nurses meant to meet a growing national need.

“In the medical field there isn’t just a shortage of doctors, but also of nurses,” said Dean of Nursing Vanice Roberts. “And some nurses are more qualified than others. Those who are able to communicate effectively – to question as well as conform to the health care system – are more helpful to doctors and patients in stressful situations.”

Local news coverage.

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Gift of Home

Bob (62H) and Kay Williams with Berry football coach Tony Kunczewski.

An on-campus stadium for Berry’s football, lacrosse, and track and field programs is one step closer to reality thanks to a $500,000 commitment from Bob (62H) and Kay Williams.

Gifts and pledges toward the facility – named Valhalla by lead donor Steve Cage (74C) – now exceed $3.9 million. Construction will begin when the fundraising goal of $6.5 million is achieved. Bob and Kay hope their gift will encourage other alumni to support the project as well.

“Let’s get behind it,” Bob challenged. “Let’s show the world that we can do with football what we’ve done with everything else.”

This is the latest in a series of generous gifts by the couple. Their recent commitments, which total $1 million with the addition of the Valhalla gift, include funding for Berry’s new baccalaureate nursing program, two Gate of Opportunity Scholarships and an additional need-based scholarship named for their late daughter, Ann.

Though initially critical of Berry’s decision to add football as an intercollegiate sport, Bob is proud that the field on which the team plays will bear his surname. He and Kay became champions of the program due in large part to the leadership they have witnessed from head football coach Tony Kunczewski. The coach, in turn, feels blessed to have the couple on his team.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Bob and Kay,” Kunczewski stated. “They have been such ardent supporters of Berry athletics for years.”

Visit the Valhalla website to learn more about the project and make your own show of support.

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Alumni Weekend is a memorable experience for all involved, but as the newest inductees in Berry’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, John W. Coleman (04C), Amy Moskovitz Williams (03C) and Thomas Ray Fewell (58C) found it truly unforgettable.

John, a published author who recently completed both his MBA and MPA from Harvard University, was honored with this year’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Amy, wife of 2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus Michael D. Williams (03C), claimed the Distinguished Service Award for her commitment to global volunteerism in the area of public health. Ray, meanwhile, took home the Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his considerable accomplishments as a physicist and innovator in radiation measurement. He is the seventh member of his college class to win a Distinguished Alumni Award (and the third to be honored for Distinguished Achievement). You can read more about this amazing class in the fall issue of Berry magazine.

John, Amy and Ray were recognized during a May 18 gala that also featured Golden Guard inductions for the high school and college classes of 1962. Representatives of those two classes, Bob Williams (62H) and Yoniece Miller (62C), had the special honor of presenting a combined gift of more than $3 million to Berry from the high school, academy and college classes that celebrated reunions during Alumni Weekend 2012 and Mountain Day 2011.

The Friday night gala set the stage for a full weekend of reunion activities attended by nearly 500 alumni and friends.

More coverage (including photo gallery).

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