Tag Archives: Evelyn Hamilton


Berry Trailblazers

Dr. Beverly Smith (front left) and Evelyn Hamilton are all smiles at the gala celebrating the anniversary of their historic graduation from Berry.

Two distinguished alumnae – Evelyn Hamilton (69C) and Dr. Beverly Philpot Smith (69C, FFS) – shared the spotlight at a November gala marking the 50th anniversary of Berry’s first African-American graduates.

A crowd of 150 students, alumni, community leaders and friends took part in the Trailblazer Gala, hosted by the Berry African American Alumni Chapter in collaboration with the alumni office. Noted television personality Judge Glenda A. Hatchett delivered keynote remarks at the event, held in Oak Hill’s Christopher Browning Pavilion. In attendance were many students and alumni who have benefitted from a donor-funded scholarship named for the history-making graduates. Facebook photo gallery

Hamilton, who earned a B.S. in home economics from Berry, is retired from the Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services.

“I can remember my first day at Berry because it was the beginning of something that had never happened in Rome or Floyd County before,” Hamilton recalled of Berry’s integration, which began in 1964 under the leadership of then-President John R. Bertrand. “The atmosphere was not what I thought it was going to be from watching other states and colleges that had integrated. You saw the violence, the water, the dogs and that kind of stuff, but we had none of that when we entered on the first day here at Berry.”

Smith, who graduated from Berry with a B.A. in English, is a retired educator.

“Berry has made it possible for me not only to be an asset for the community, but for myself and for the family that I have now,” she said. “I have 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. My children are very productive; they’re supervisors and managers. I used to take them to classes with me and they had to sit across the hall in empty classrooms because I told them education is extremely important and you don’t ever stop learning.”

Watch the video above for more from these incredible women. If you would like to honor their courage with a gift to the Hamilton/Smith Scholarship, visit www.berry.edu/gift.

We are pleased to acknowledge the following Gala Committee members for their passion and hard work in bringing this event to fruition: Brenda Thompson (88C), Darcel Ivey (90C), Terri Colson Earls (85C), Chrystal Murray Robinson (90C), Jackie Lawrence Echols (90c), Lee-Anda Hutchens Uter (92C), Hester Parks (95C) and Lisa Fraley Rasheed (90C).

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Evelyn Hamilton and Beverly Philpot SmithTrailblazers Gala Logo Evelyn Hamilton (69C), left, and Dr. Beverly Philpot Smith (69C, FS) made history a half-century ago as Berry’s first African-American graduates. This fall, the college’s African-American Alumni Chapter is commemorating their legacy with the Trailblazer Gala. The dinner celebration will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at Oak Hill’s Christopher Browning Pavilion, beginning at 6 p.m.

Both women have distinguished themselves in service to their professions and communities in the years since graduating from Berry. Hamilton spent 34 years with the State of Georgia, Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services, while Smith is a longtime educator whose many career highlights include work at Berry as a faculty member and Pathways Program director. A scholarship for Berry students has been funded in their honor.

“I know Dr. Smith and Ms. Hamilton personally, and they are both such dynamic people,” said Director of Alumni Relations Jennifer Tucker Beard (93C, 00G). “They’ve done a lot in their careers and in their lives, and it is great we are now able to honor them.”

The gala will feature keynote remarks by Judge Glenda Hatchett, a trailblazer in her own right who has distinguished herself on the bench, in corporate service and as star of her own Emmy-nominated television series. Other program highlights include a video tribute to the two honorees.

Visit www.berry.edu/trailblazer if you are interested in attending. The last day to register is Nov. 7.

We are pleased to acknowledge our partners at Georgia Power for their generous sponsorship support.

Reporting by student Kendall Aronson

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