Tag Archives: Ford Auditorium

Wendy Williams teaching at the SRELC

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Wendy Grace Williams (84C, 90G) is a 2019 recipient of Kindermusik’s “Outreach” award. She is seen here giving a “high-five” to a student at the South Rome Early Learning Center.

Kathryn Nobles teaches Kindermusik

Kathryn Dugger Nobles (82C), right, has been sharing the gift of music with local children and Berry students for 30 years.

Ever wonder about the young children you see walking to and from the Ford Buildings with their parents? No, they aren’t prodigies pursuing Berry degrees – at least not yet – but they are tuning up for success with help from Kathryn Dugger Nobles (82C), Wendy Grace Williams (84C, 90G) and Kindermusik.

This fall marks 30 years since Nobles brought Kindermusik to Berry. What started as a pilot program with nine students from the Berry College Child Development Center has blossomed into multiple classes serving more than 200 children annually at four locations in Rome. Distinguished both by its size and quality of instruction, Berry ranks among the top 25 Kindermusik programs worldwide. In addition, Williams recently received Kindermusik’s “Outreach” award for her work with students at the South Rome Early Learning Center.

On Sept. 14, alumni and friends of the program will join current students and teachers for a special 30th anniversary celebration in Ford Dining Hall. The fun gets underway at 10 a.m. with an “instrument petting zoo” staged by Berry music students and continues through 1 p.m., with activities for the children and a Noon performance by the Viking Drumline. Register online.

Efforts are also underway to name the Kindermusik room in Berry’s newly renovated music department for Nobles, with gifts supporting the ongoing Ford Auditorium renovation and restoration. Visit berry.edu/gift and select “Kathryn Nobles Kindermusik Room Naming” if you wish to contribute.

Originating in Germany in the 1970s, Kindermusik combines a variety of music education methods with the goal of helping children learn. Studying musical concepts helps children gain skills that transfer to other aspects of life. For example, developing steady beat can translate to improved reading fluency, cutting with scissors or even dribbling a basketball.

“Music is such a great avenue for teaching,” Nobles expressed. “It’s universal. You can make music anywhere you go, and there’s not an age limit to it.”

Nobles, who also serves as an adjunct piano instructor for Berry students, has kept up with many of her Kindermusik graduates, proudly noting that some have gone on to careers in music, while others have become organic farmers, doctors or lawyers. Quite a few have returned as parents of children within the program, and some have attended college at Berry.

The program remains a touchstone for many, with families of college-aged children still attending concerts together after meeting through Kindermusik years earlier. And toddlers now in the program continue to wake up and excitedly ask the same question as those who came before them: “Is today a Kindermusik day?”

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

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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.

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Bob and Betty Anne Rouse Bell

Betty Anne Rouse Bell (52H, 56C), pictured with husband Bob, has distinguished herself as a performer and advocate for the arts.

Betty Anne Rouse Bell’s lifelong love of music and drama was cultivated as a high school and college student at Berry in the 1950s, so it’s entirely fitting that future students find similar inspiration in a place named in her honor.

The Betty Anne Rouse Bell Recital Hall is the first major naming associated with plans to renovate and restore Ford Auditorium as a first-class venue for Berry students, faculty and the community at large. The naming of the performance space inside the historic facility was made possible by a touching act of love by Bell’s husband, Bob, who surprised his wife with a gift to Berry honoring her powerful love and appreciation for the school. Combined with the generosity of many other alumni and friends, that gift has helped push fundraising for the $6.3 million Ford project past the $4 million mark. Berry officials hope to complete funding by May 2019 so that work can begin.

Architectural Rendering of Ford RenovationPlans for the auditorium – constructed in the 1920s at the direction of Henry and Clara Ford – include the restoration of beloved historic architectural elements and significant internal renovations meant to enhance the acoustical experience for performers and audience members alike. Expertise has been provided by Kirkegaard Associates of Chicago, one of the nation’s foremost acoustics consulting firms. The project also calls for refurbishment of the music department.

The recital hall naming is fitting recognition for a “double alumna” (52H, 56C) who has distinguished herself as a performer – sharing her vocal talents with presidents, governors and foreign dignitaries, among others – and advocate for the arts. Click here to read more.

If you would like to join the Bells and so many others in supporting the Ford project, please visit berry.edu/gift.

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President Steve Briggs at the Dedication of the Sam Spector MBA Classroom

WORDS OF WISDOM: A quote by Dr. Sam I. Spector can be seen on the wall of the MBA classroom that now bears his name. Berry President Steve Briggs (center) joined family members and other guests for the September naming.

Dr. Sam I. Spector Speaking at Berry's 2008 Commencement

Dr. Sam I. Spector

Dr. Peter Lawler

Dr. Peter Lawler

Beloved faculty members have been remembered and celebrated this fall with campus namings made possible by the generosity of alumni and friends. Their gifts, in turn, have seeded opportunity for future students by supporting scholarships named for those same faculty legends.

Recent honors include the naming of the MBA classroom in Berry’s Campbell School of Business for the late Dr. Sam I. Spector, whose accomplishments at Berry include the 1973 establishment of the MBA program. Read more.

Similar recognition has been bestowed upon the late Dr. Peter Lawler, whose famously messy office remains a touchstone for the many Berry alumni privileged to have known him during his nearly 40 years on the faculty. His former office space in Evans Hall isn’t so messy anymore, but it fittingly bears the name of the man whose unexpected death in 2017 generated an extraordinary outpouring of love and remembrance.

While both of those alumni-driven campaigns benefited existing scholarships, another honoring longtime student publications advisor Kevin Kleine has resulted in nearly $6,000 in gifts toward a new fund supporting study-abroad experiences for communication majors.

Kevin Kleine and Bob Frank

Kevin Kleine, left, with another legendary member of the communication faculty, Dr. Bob Frank.

Alumni from as far away as Texas gathered for an informal Mountain Day reception celebrating Kleine’s 30th year at Berry. Fittingly, this recognition coincided with Kleine’s receipt of a national advising award from the College Media Association. Fundraising for the Kevin Kleine Study Abroad Scholarship continues with an ultimate goal of $25,000 in gifts to endow the award.

Also on Mountain Day Weekend, friends, family, colleagues and former students gathered for the official naming of the Ouida Word Dickey Living Room in Berry’s Ford alumni center, made possible by a successful 90th birthday giving challenge. This effort resulted in more than $570,000 in gifts to the Ford Auditorium renovation, pushing fundraising for that project past the halfway mark to $3 million in total commitments.

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Ouida Dickey Birthday CelebrationHAPPY BIRTHDAY! Smiles were in abundance at the 90th birthday celebration for Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C). The Ford Living Room will be named in her honor at Mountain Day in October.

Gifts honoring the 90th birthday of Berry icon Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C) have propelled fundraising for the planned renovation of Ford Auditorium past the halfway mark to $3 million. The goal is to complete funding for the $5.3 million project during the next year so that work can begin in 2019.

Ford Auditorium RenderingAlumni and friends committed more than $570,000 to the “Ouida Dickey Birthday Challenge,” earning double credit for their generosity thanks to matching funds from an anonymous lead gift. Donors joined Dr. Dickey in July for a special birthday celebration in the Ford Living Room. A second ceremony is planned for Mountain Day Weekend, at which time that space – located at the heart of the Berry Alumni Center – will be named in her honor.

Dr. Dickey is beloved for her many years of distinguished service to Berry as a student, faculty member, administrator and volunteer. Her family is also deeply rooted at the institution. Late husband Garland (42C) pioneered Berry’s intercollegiate athletic program along with his brother, Ed (41C), while daughters Angela (75A, 79C) and Jennifer (77A, 80C) are “double alumna” (high school and college) who have forged exemplary careers in government and higher education, respectively.

It was fitting that gifts honoring Dr. Dickey’s birthday supported the Ford renovation, as the auditorium also turns 90 this year. Click here to learn more about plans to renew the facility as a first-class performance home for Berry music students. You can support the project at berry.edu/gift.

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Ouida Dickey Birthday Challenge Banner

Ford Auditorium Rendering

Architectural rendering of Ford Auditorium renovation.

Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C, FFS) didn’t set out to become a Berry legend, but 72 years after she first arrived on campus as a freshman in 1946, it’s impossible to imagine the college without her. As the former student, faculty member, administrator and president of the Berry Alumni Association prepares to celebrate her 90th birthday later this summer, family and friends have come up with a unique way to honor her that also benefits Ford Auditorium, another Berry icon turning 90 in 2018.

The $500,000 Ouida Dickey Birthday Challenge has two goals – to name the Alumni Center living room for Dr. Dickey and to generate support for the planned $5.3 million renovation of Berry’s signature venue for music performance and education. Gifts of any size will be matched by the generosity of an anonymous donor, doubling their impact.

The goal is to complete the challenge in time for Dr. Dickey’s birthday July 27. Make your gift today by visiting berry.edu/gift and choosing “Ouida Dickey Birthday Challenge” in the drop-down menu or mailing a check to Berry Advancement Office, P.O. Box 490069, Mount Berry, GA 30149-0069. Contact Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at sbreithaupt@berry.edu or 706-238-5897 for more details.

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President Steve Briggs announced last week that Berry’s LifeReady Campaign has now surpassed $100 million in gifts and pledges. Fundraising for several major campaign projects has been completed, but four strategic priorities remain. Those priorities, and the estimated remaining needs, are:

Click here to read Dr. Briggs’ message, which includes a list of accomplishments to date. Learn more about the vision for LifeReady by viewing the accompanying video. Commitments to remaining priorities can be made at www.berry.edu/gift.

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Berry parents Rick and Barbara Gaby have committed $300,000 in matching funds to encourage gifts supporting the renovation of Ford Auditorium into a first-class recital hall. These funds will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for new commitments by others, doubling the impact of such gifts. Similar matching programs have been successful in generating support for Gate of Opportunity Scholarships, Clark Track and, most recently, the new theatre under construction at Blackstone Hall.

The $4.9 million renovation of Ford Auditorium will breathe new life into Berry’s signature venue for music performance. Planned enhancements include an enlarged stage; 366 seats in an arched configuration; a redesigned balcony; high-performance acoustics; digital lighting and sound systems; climate-controlled instrument storage; a renovated foyer and lobby; and restoration of historic architectural elements.

Contact Scott Breithaupt at 706-238-5897 or sbreithaupt@berry.edu for more information on the matching program. Many naming opportunities are available. To make an online gift, click www.berry.edu/gift and select “Ford Auditorium renovation” from the “Campaign Priorities” menu.

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Stan PethelProfessor of Music and former Chair of Fine Arts Dr. Stan Pethel may be retiring this spring after 43 years at Berry, but he certainly isn’t going quietly. Hundreds of alumni and friends gathered April 3 to celebrate his musical legacy with a rousing “All-Pethel” concert in Ford Auditorium.

Drawn from a diverse catalog of more than 1,200 compositions published by Pethel during his distinguished career, the set list featured a variety of selections ranging from trumpet solos to choral works (and most everything in between). The longtime Berry faculty member was happy to go to the effort of sifting through all that music, noting, “It’s nice to be recognized by great colleagues and students for my work over the years.”

Although Pethel is retiring from full-time teaching, his many Berry friends won’t have to look very hard to find him – at least during high school basketball season. The Northwest Georgia Tip-Off Club’s 2016 Referee of the Year has no plans to hang up his striped-shirt and whistle just yet.

Story by Maxine Donnelly, philanthropic communications senior student writer

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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!

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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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