Tag Archives: Jorie Hodapp

Lance Simpson and Dnika Joseph at the Reunion Brunch

Lance Simpson (09C) and Dnika Joseph (09C) share a hug at the annual reunion brunch. Photo by student Matthew McConnell.

Berry was the place to be Oct. 4-6 as alumni, students, parents and friends joined faculty and staff for the 105th celebration of Mountain Day. Those who couldn’t make it back took part via social media, posting hundreds of photos using the #mtnday19 and #cupcakesformartha hashtags.

On-campus highlights included traditional favorites such as Friday’s Mountain Day Golf Scramble and Olympics and Saturday’s picnic, Grand March and Marthapalooza carnival. There were also games featuring the men’s and women’s soccer teams and sold-out performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, presented by the Berry College Theatre Co.

Hundreds of alumni turned out for reunion events at the WinShape Hub and Oak Hill’s Christopher Browning Pavilion, and a crowd of more than 400 students and family members attended the Class of 2020 Breakfast hosted by senior class officers and the Berry alumni office.

Mariel Trosa celebrates Mountain Day in China

Mariel Trosa (15C) celebrates Mountain Day in China.

On campus and online, alumni and friends once again raised “Cupcakes for Martha” in honor of Martha Berry’s birthday (search #cupcakesformartha on Instagram and Facebook to see photos). Student entrepreneur Jorie Hodapp supplied hundreds of sweet treats for distribution in Krannert Center and also took the time to provide a quick baking lesson for President Steve Briggs, which you can watch here.

The ever-popular Mountain Day t-shirt soared – literally – as alumni from as far away as California, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Ohio took advantage of a new option to purchase shirts online and have them shipped to their homes. Many of those alums then joined us in spirit by posting selfies in their shirts with the hashtag #mtnday19.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us this year, both on the mountain and digitally! We’re especially grateful to our Mountain Day sponsor, Plainville Brick Company, and other community partners for their role in helping to make the event a success.

If you missed the fun this year, don’t worry! We have several more alumni events scheduled this fall. Watch our Facebook page and your email inbox for updates!

Related: Reunion Photos

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Students representing The Berry Farms Genetics Enterprise discuss their work with an attendee at the SPARK Conference.

Students discuss the work of The Berry Farms Genetics Enterprise during the recent SPARK Conference, hosted by Berry College Student Enterprises.

Students with the entrepreneurial bug have had plenty of opportunities to nurture their innovative ideas lately! Berry recently hosted its first student pitch competition, featuring $27,000 in donor-funded prizes, as well as the annual Spark Conference for social entrepreneurship.

Thirteen students representing seven different majors took part in the pitch competition, with five finalists presenting their ideas before live and virtual audiences to a panel of alumni judges who are no strangers to entrepreneurial success: Jeff Jahn (07C), Roy Miller (58C), Tricia Steele (09C) and Robert Swarthout (04C).

For Steele, “entrepreneur” was a natural career choice, even as a physics major.

“Studying science made me a great problem solver,” she explained. “And then I found that people will pay you really well to solve problems for them!”

Like the judges, senior Ben Umberger has pursued his entrepreneurial dreams at Berry. His Umberger Farms Cattle Company won the top prize of $10,000 from the Henry and Clara Ford Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, along with an additional $1,000 audience-choice award. In his pitch, he described how he learned to raise cattle as a young boy, a story to which Miller related.

“Growing up on a farm … I can admire what Ben has done, going through the struggles and things he’s had to go through to get where he is,” Miller said.

Other winners in the competition included:

  • Josie Hadaway, Written By J, $7,500 Chairman’s Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Jorie Hodapp, Jorie Cakes, $5,000 Bettyann O’Neill Innovation Fund
  • Harmony Petty, Harmony’s Crafty Creations, $2,500 Entrepreneurial Seed Fund
  • Anthea Phitides, Well Made by Marula, $1,000 Entrepreneurial Seed Fund

The following day, the SPARK Conference hosted by Berry College Student Enterprises took center stage. Among those leading sessions were Jahn, who launched his award-winning DynamiX web development firm as a Berry student, and Atlanta Tech Village Vice President Karen Akridge Houghton (01C). Keynote remarks were delivered by Alex Gonzalez, chief innovation officer for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and founder of the Highwire Group, a consultancy of executives, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders who advise executives on being pioneers and change-leaders.

Entrepreneurship is a major priority of Berry’s LifeReady Campaign.

By Jennifer Wright

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