Tag Archives: Harvard University

Berry 2019 Commencement

Mahmood “Momo” Abdellatif receives his diploma from President Steve Briggs before a huge crowd on the Evans lawn.

“Live life less filtered.”

This was the advice John Coleman (04C) offered to the class of 2019 at spring commencement.

Coleman – the 2012 recipient of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award – is no stranger to the Berry podium, having spoken at his own graduation and at Mountain Day. This time, he shared his insights with 410 undergraduates and hundreds of additional guests gathered on the Evans Hall lawn (20 graduate students received their diplomas at a separate ceremony).

Repeatedly referring to today’s social media society, the Harvard MPA/MBA graduate and Invesco executive addressed the dangers of the unrealistic expectations it presents.

“We keep our relationships superficial and unreal, so concerned with putting our best foot forward that we forget to extend a hand,” Coleman said, encouraging graduates to embrace the messier aspects of life, rather than constantly polishing and filtering the version of their story that they share with the world.

After his own graduation, Coleman faced a series of struggles: unsuccessful jobs, break-ups, small apartments and couch surfing. In sharing these experiences, he also touched on the lessons he learned and how he has grown since then. Living life less filtered, he said, means embracing and being honest about the good and the bad in life. He emphasized the importance of opening up to others, asking for and giving help when it is needed.

“Today, you’re Berry College alums,” he said. “I know that you can do this.”

Based on their accomplishments so far, we heartily agree! A quarter of this year’s graduates will move on to graduate/professional school, studying everything from law and epidemiology to computer science and poultry nutrigenomics. Others are starting work right away with companies like Nike, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot and Disney. Our charge to them is simple …

STAY IN TOUCH! And be sure to drop us a class note for Berry magazine from time to time. Come to think of it, that goes for the rest of you as well! If you haven’t sent us an update lately, click here and do so today!

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

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Selfie SpotIn our last issue, we challenged readers to identify the source of the quotation now immortalized on the colonnade of Green Hall. You might answer Martha Berry … but that would be wrong. The person who actually uttered the phrase, “Whether at work or at play, do your best,” is former Harvard University President Charles William Elliot. Congrats to past champion Alyssa Nobles (12C) for once again delivering the winning tweet.

This month, we turn our attention to one of our favorite subjects – movies! Recently, Berry got its very own “selfie spot,” courtesy of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. These spots, located around the state, highlight Georgia’s growing presence in the film industry. For a shout-out in our next issue, tweet the location of Berry’s selfie spot – signifying our use as a location in Remember the Titans. If you include a selfie of yourself at that spot, we might share that as well!

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Berry recently welcomed one of America’s foremost authorities on leadership as the inaugural speaker in the Cecil “Buster” Wright III (73C) Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series. Dr. Barbara Kellerman, a prolific author, speaker and Harvard University faculty member, shared her insights with the campus community during a lively address in the Berry College Chapel. Later, she sat down for a brief interview focusing on the hard times facing America’s leaders and the steps Berry is taking through its new Integrity in Leadership Center to help students meet those challenges. Fast-forward to 5:21 in the accompanying video to hear her discuss the benefits of Berry’s Gordon and Joyce Carper Integrity in Leadership Mentoring Program.

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Buster Wright Portrait

Buster Wright

Barbara Kellerman Portrait

Barbara Kellerman

The new year will bring a new initiative within the Berry College Integrity in Leadership Center – the Cecil B. “Buster” Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series. The series honors the role that Wright, a 1973 alumnus who now serves as vice chair of the Berry College Board of Trustees, has played as a force behind the establishment of the leadership center and its Carper mentoring program, his generosity toward Berry, and his personal character.

The Feb. 11 inaugural presentation will feature remarks by Barbara Kellerman, the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at Harvard University. Her public lecture is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the Berry College Chapel. Admission is free. Before speaking, Kellerman will dine with students and special guests. While on campus, she also will conduct a half day of classroom visits.

“It is a wonderful privilege to have Dr. Kellerman here for the inauguration of the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series,” said President Steve Briggs. “Buster Wright admires Dr. Kellerman’s writings and uses them in his mentoring work with Berry students, so it is a fitting tribute to his convictions and tenacity that she should deliver the lecture as his vision becomes a reality.”

The Integrity in Leadership Center is a priority of Berry’s LifeReady Campaign.

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Bruce ConnGund Professor of Biology Bruce Conn has received his fourth consecutive five-year appointment as associate of invertebrate zoology at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. During his tenure, he has taken several groups of Berry students to visit and work in Harvard’s laboratories. Conn served for 16 years as dean of Berry’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences before returning full time to the classroom in fall 2013. He is also a member of the lead committee for Berry’s One Health Center and a Jefferson Science Fellow for the U.S. State Department.

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John ColemanJohn Coleman (04C) knows a little something about public speaking, so it should come as no surprise that the former Berry national champion recently shared his expertise on the subject in two blog posts for the Harvard Business Review. In addition to being a regular contributor for HBR.org, Coleman serves as head of strategy for Invesco Ltd. and is a recent appointee to the Berry College Board of Visitors. The 2012 winner of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award holds both an MBA and MPA from Harvard and is the author of two books, Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders and How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. Follow him on Twitter at @Johnwcoleman. (Photo by Tony Deifel.)

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