Tag Archives: Kathy Richardson

Graduates embrace at Berry's 2017 spring commencement.For three decades, Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson challenged, encouraged and inspired students and colleagues alike, first as a faculty member in Berry’s communication department and later as college provost. This spring, the honorary Berry alumna took a brief respite from her duties as president of Westminster College in Pennsylvania to offer words of wisdom to the Berry class of 2018, daughter Lauren Richardson (18C) among them.

Citing sources as varied as researcher and author Sherry Turkle, communication alumnus Andy Wood (94C), singer/songwriter Paul Simon, and former Saturday Night Live comedian Mike Myers (by way of alter-ego Linda Richman), Richardson encouraged the graduates to draw upon Berry-developed “soft skills” such as “clear expression, respectful listening, critical thinking, effective collaboration and creative problem-solving” as they make their way in the world.

“Trust me,” she stated. “You can learn or relearn technical skills along the way – and you’ll have to, because technologies and processes change – but you will be able to adapt to such change quickly because of your soft skills, if you continue to use them.”

Richardson placed particular emphasize on the value of earnest conversation in an increasingly technology-driven age, noting, “Civil dialogue and critical conversation may be the most effective prescriptions for social meaning, empathetic connection and professional accomplishment that we can find as a culture and as individuals.”

A total of 403 graduates earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees this spring. Click here to get a sense of where they’re off to next and to hear remarks from student speaker Payton Stone (18C).

Related coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery; A father’s influence drives Berry graduate

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Scott Colley PortraitA voice from Berry’s past offered insight for the future during the largest spring commencement ceremony in college history. Addressing approximately 470 graduates and a huge crowd of family and friends gathered on the Evans Hall lawn, former president and honorary alumnus J. Scott Colley praised Berry’s current leadership and stressed the continuing relevance of the college’s “head, heart and hands” approach to education in today’s uncertain times.

Harking back to his own upbringing in the shadow of World War II, the Cold War and segregation in his native Virginia, Colley noted, “The world was wobbling in those days, and you know what? It wobbles still. Moments of crisis and threat are the very times to use our brains and to employ our learning. Such times are hardly occasions for us to take leave of our senses. … My hope is that our graduates will employ what they’ve already learned at Berry in both the near and long terms as they respond to the obligations of citizenship.”

During his visit, Berry’s seventh president was honored with the unveiling of a portrait of him standing in the Ford Archway that will hang in Memorial Library. He also learned that a scholarship has been endowed in his name by three Berry vice presidents he mentored during his presidency – Debbie Heida, Bettyann O’Neill and Dr. Kathy Richardson.

Additional coverage: Commencement photo gallery

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Whit Whitaker (83C), center, with wife Maria Crego Whitaker (85c) and Gov. Nathan Deal.

Whit Whitaker (81C), center, with wife Maria Crego Whitaker (85c) and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal after Whit’s 2014 appointment to the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

Berry’s executive leadership team is proving to be fertile ground for colleges and universities seeking new presidents. Just weeks after Provost Kathy Richardson was tapped by Westminster College in Pennsylvania, Chief of Staff Whit Whitaker (81C) has been chosen to lead King University in Tennessee. He will begin his new role Aug. 1.

A retired Navy captain and former member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Whitaker is in his 10th year on the Berry staff. During this time, he has worked closely with the college’s governing and advisory boards and has been responsible for oversight of public relations, religious life and historic assets. He also served as assistant vice president for major gifts and continues to assist with fundraising as chief of staff. Off-campus service includes membership on the governor-appointment Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

In a campuswide announcement, President Steve Briggs noted Whitaker’s deep ties to Berry – his father was once a member of the English faculty – and praised his distinguished service.

“We will long remember Whit’s intelligence, insatiable curiosity and sparkling wit,” Briggs stated. “We will miss his turn of a phrase and impeccable timing. And oh how he loves a well-crafted practical joke. Students in the president’s office will also never forget his heart for mentoring and his personal acts of kindness.”

Bristol Herald Courier: Georgia native named King’s 23rd president

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Honorary AlumniTwo beloved members of the Berry faculty have been granted honorary membership in the Berry Alumni Association. Provost Kathy Richardson and Dana Professor of Government Peter Lawler were recognized at the gala celebration held during Alumni Weekend. Richardson has served on the communication faculty since 1986; Lawler first came to Berry in 1979. Both have won the respect of countless alumni while earning acclaim as teachers and scholars during their distinguished careers.

Richardson recently made headlines as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Lawler, meanwhile, is in the early stages of a two-year appointment to the Georgia State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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Alumni Weekend PromoGood food? Yes!

Familiar faces? Absolutely!

Fun times? We guarantee it!

Berry’s annual Alumni Weekend and Young Alumni Weekend celebrations promise all of the above and more. The only thing missing is you!

This year’s events will be held Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 1, with Alumni Work Week beginning immediately afterward and continuing through June 6. Click the links for details on each and to register online. The deadline is Friday, May 16, so please don’t delay.

Highlights this year include 11 different class reunion dinners on Friday, May 30, and an expanded alumni gala the following evening at the Forum in Rome. Reunions are scheduled for the college and high school/academy classes of 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969 as well as the college class of 1961. Reunion dinner schedule and pricing.

The expanded gala promises to be an unforgettable tribute to Berry’s past and future, with several special recognitions scheduled. These include the induction of college and academy alumni from the class of 1964 into the Golden Guard and the presentation of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards to the following recipients:

Rayford Boyett (58C), Distinguished Achievement
John Shahan (64A, 69C)
, Distinguished Service
Andreas Economopoulos (97C)
, Entrepreneurial Spirit
Heather Henderson-Keller (03C)
, Outstanding Young Alumni

In addition, two longtime faculty members – Dana Professor of Government and International Studies Peter Lawler and Provost and Professor of Communication Kathy Richardson – will be welcomed as honorary alumni. Receptions for young alumni and Golden Guard members will precede the dinner, and an evening of dancing will follow the official program.

Other events you don’t want to miss include the Friday morning golf scramble, Saturday’s “behind-the-ropes” tour of Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum, and Sunday’s worship services. Events specific to young alumni include a Friday night gathering at Schroeder’s on Broad Street, a Saturday morning campus service project, and opportunities to take advantage of recreation and fitness facilities in the Cage Center on Saturday afternoon.

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Kathy RichardsonBerry Provost Kathy Richardson (pictured) is the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in recognition of her many accomplishments as a teacher, author and administrator. A communication faculty member since 1986, Richardson is a past recipient of Berry’s top awards for teaching and service. She is currently serving a three-year appointment as provost. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees from UGA. Joining her in the spotlight are several other Berry faculty and staff members lauded at spring campus awards programs. They include:

Dr. Judy Wilson, associate professor of animal science, Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award
Dr. Victor Bissonnette, associate professor of psychology, Eleana M. Garrett Award for Advising and Caring
Dr. Alice Bristow, associate professor of theatre, Outstanding Faculty Member (SGA)
Laura Phillips, administrative assistant, vice president for student affairs and dean of student’s office, Outstanding Staff Member (SGA)
Matt Forrester, systems engineer for network operations, John R. Bertrand Superior Work Supervisor Award

Emeritus recognition: The Board of Trustees recently granted emeritus titles to Professor of Philosophy David McKenzie, who is retiring this spring after 36 years on the faculty; Martha Reynolds, who retired as associate librarian in January; and Dr. Tom Carver, who retired in 2004 as vice president for student affairs and dean of students but continues to serve Berry as an adjunct member of the psychology faculty. Also honored were two retiring members of the Board of Trustees, Pete Roberts and Terry Graham.

Alumnus Colin William (93C) recently shared his appreciation for Dr. McKenzie in a letter to the editor of the Campus Carrier.

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Dr. Kathy Richardson

Dr. Kathy Richardson

Decades of alumni (especially those who passed through the communication department) will no doubt be pleased to learn that Dr. Kathy Richardson has been named college provost. Her appointment is effective immediately and continues through 2014-15. She succeeds Dr. Katherine Whatley, who recently accepted a position as senior vice president for annual programs with the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C.

A faculty member since 1986 and winner of Berry’s most distinguished awards for teaching and service, Dr. Richardson brings great experience to her new role. She served as associate provost and dean of academic services from 1999-2007 and as interim provost in 2007-08 before returning full-time to the classroom in 2009. Last fall, she assumed the duties of provost on an “acting” basis and received a three-year appointment as vice president for academic affairs.

In other recent faculty news, the following have been awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor by the Board of Trustees: Dr. Cathy Borer, Dr. Renee Carleton, Dr. Tamie Jovanelly, Dr. Timothy Knowlton and Dr. Alice Suroviec. In addition, Dr. Todd Timberlake (previously tenured) was promoted to full professor, while longtime faculty members Dr. Steven Bell and Dr. Mary Outlaw were awarded the honorary titles of professor emeritus and senior lecture emeritus, respectively.

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Julia Barnes and Kathy RichardsonAlumni don’t have to be sold on the quality of Berry faculty – we’ve experienced it – but it is exciting when outside groups affirm what we already know.

This spring, Assistant Professor of Spanish Julia Corine Barnes (near left) claimed the title of Most Valuable Professor in a national contest sponsored by Questia, an online library and research tool for students. She was nominated for the award by Berry student Marlon Blugh and emerged victorious after a public vote on Facebook.

“I am so honored that my students thought enough of me to vote for me! I’m blown away by their enthusiasm, just as I am continually impressed by the considerateness of students at Berry,” Julia said.

Professor of Communication Kathy Brittain Richardson has made a similar impact, as evidenced by her Teacher of the Year award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Small Programs Interest Group. Her candidacy was driven in part by the words of a former student, who wrote, “There are certain mentors in life whose presence does not fade. As time passes, their voices instead resonate, continuing to influence and inspire long after daily conversations and weekly classes cease. Dr. Kathy Richardson is one of those mentors for me, and thousands of others.”

Kathy will be honored later this summer at the association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

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