Tag Archives: Jennifer Beard

Paul NealHarry MusselwhiteBerry’s music department will experience a changing of the guard this fall as Dr. Paul Neal (left) assumes the role of director of choral activities in place of Harry Musselwhite, who is retiring after 30 years.

Neal will join the Berry faculty after completing his tenure at Valdosta State University, where he oversees the choral program and serves as assistant director for the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. His impressive resume also includes service as assistant conductor for the Angeles Chorale, one of the largest community choruses in the Los Angeles area, and as musical director for the Texas Shakespeare Festival. In addition, he spent two seasons as a performer for the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale.

While Musselwhite’s long tenure at Berry will soon draw to a close, he has no plans to slow down. Rather, this new chapter in his life will provide the perfect opportunity to pursue other creative interests.

“I am going full-time into the film and television professions as an actor, director and producer,” he said. “I already have a heavy schedule of auditions, as well as producing.”

He also hopes to finish the second edition of his children’s book.

Musselwhite will take up his Berry baton for the last time Sunday, April 12, when he leads the Berry Concert Choir and Berry Singers in a 3 p.m. performance at the college chapel. After retiring, he will relocate to the Southwest to join his wife, Dr. Laura Gilstrap Musselwhite (89C), the chief academic officer and dean of instruction for the University of New Mexico – Valencia.

A retirement party will be held Saturday, April 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Harvest Moon in Rome. Alumni wishing to attend should contact Jennifer Tucker Beard (93C, 00G).

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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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Susan Bandy (70C), center, Michele Penny (90C), second from left, and Aly Slade (97C), second from right, provided support and encouragement for current student-athletes as participants in the Sports Alumnae Mentor Program. (Photo by student Blake Childers)

A special group of alumnae returned to campus in April to celebrate the success of a new mentoring program for student-athletes. The 2012 formation of Berry’s Sports Alumnae Mentor Program coincided with the 40th anniversary of the landmark Title IX ruling that helped spur new opportunities for women in college athletics. A total of 32 alumnae took part in the yearlong program, providing support, motivation and encouragement for more than 50 current student-athletes.

I feel this program is a great way to encourage these women athletes!” said Michele Penny (90C). I am thankful to have the opportunity.”

Year one of the program concluded with an outdoor luncheon for students and alumnae in the shadow of the Ford Complex. Afterward, the former Berry stars had the opportunity to see the young women who are now following in their footsteps sweep a fast-pitch softball doubleheader from Southern Athletic Association rival Centre. If you are interested in serving as a mentor in the future, please email Jennifer Tucker Beard (93C, 00G).

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Your alumni magazine is once again among the best of the best, as judged by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. This year, Berry received an Award of Excellence in the nine-state CASE District III awards competition. Only one publication ranked higher in Berry’s enrollment category. As an added bonus, Shannon Biggers (81C), chief designer for Berry magazine, and fellow alumna Jennifer Beard (93C, 00G) also claimed an Award of Excellence for Berry’s 2011 Young Alumni Weekend invitation.

If you’ve yet to explore the latest issue of Berry magazine, featuring stories about international banker Michael Contreras (76C), Jeopardy! champion Ryan Fox (02C), and the inspiring work of lifelong friends Mack Gay (59C) and Walter Maine (59C), click the cover and check it out today.

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