Tag Archives: LifeReady

Berry College Welcome CenterA changing of the guard took place at the college entrance this spring as Berry’s newly minted Welcome Center greeted its first guests and the familiar 1960s era gatehouse enjoyed one last moment in the sun.

Funded through gifts to the LifeReady Campaign, the Welcome Center is designed to make the campus both more welcoming and more secure. Student hosts stand ready to provide information and assistance as visitors check in under a covered portico, while a sophisticated security system using Radio Frequency Identification technology (to be activated later this summer) will allow student, faculty and staff vehicles to pass through. Berry police also maintain an active presence in the facility, which houses the central campus fire alarm, emergency call center and weather warning system.

You Name It -- GatehouseWith the new Welcome Center now in place, the gatehouse was demolished in early May, but not before getting one last hurrah. Spring graduate Ashley Rene Swanson (15C) won the right to name the venerable structure before its demise with a gift to “You Name It,” a program offering off-the-wall naming opportunities to those making a minimum $5 donation to the Annual Fund. She is seen here accepting the gatehouse “key” from Berry President Steve Briggs.

Visit You Name it for information on other naming opportunities. Harry Musselwhite’s iconic beard and Ouida Dickey’s immortal red pen already have been claimed, but several others remain.

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Gordon CarperThe late Dr. Gordon Carper spent the better part of his life guiding Berry students, so it’s only fitting that the new mentoring program within the college’s budding Integrity in Leadership Center bear his name.

“Nothing gave Dr. Carper more pleasure than to see his students do well,” said Dr. Keith Parsons (74C), professor of philosophy at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, capturing the essence of a man who positively influenced the lives of countless students during his 38 years teaching history and political science at Berry.

The Gordon and Joyce Carper Integrity in Leadership Mentoring Program honors that legacy by providing opportunities for students to gather regularly in small groups with community mentors for in-depth discussion, case studies and other activities. In 2014-15, a total of 60 students met with 15 mentors; the eventual goal of the program – just completing its second year – is to increase those numbers to 200 and 40, respectively, with students from all Berry majors participating. More than 70 students already have been accepted for 2015-16.

“Leadership is one of the most overused words in our culture today, yet most of the living examples we see in the media represent leadership that is bad, unethical, self-serving, and at best, ineffective,” said mentor and Berry trustee Cecil “Buster” Wright (73C). “The mentor program was created to expose Berry students to intellectual and experiential learning about what ethical leadership really is.”

Wright, a retired regional president for Wells Fargo Advisors, has been a force behind the Integrity in Leadership Center, believing strongly in the college’s unique ability to foster both qualities in young people. He also has played a significant role in the development of the mentoring program, recruiting the community leaders who serve as mentors and helping to shape its curriculum and procedures.

Look for more in the summer issue of Berry magazine. Gifts to the program in memory of Dr. Carper can be made at www.berry.edu/gift.

Media coverage: Mentoring program connects students, community leaders

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The rhythmic beat of the Viking Drumline provided the perfect soundtrack as students, faculty, staff, board members, project donors and special guests celebrated the Oct. 17 groundbreaking for Valhalla, including Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field.

“What a great day it is for Berry College,” said President Steve Briggs, addressing the large crowd gathered at the construction site just south of the Cage Center. “It’s an important milestone in our ongoing effort to enhance this amazing campus and to create places of opportunity for students, for our friends and for our community. And like the Cage Center behind us, Valhalla will provide a major venue for recreation, excitement, achievement, participation and just plain fun.”

Taking up shovels were Steve Cage (74C), the Berry trustee whose 2012 lead gift initiated fundraising for Valhalla; Bob (62H) and Kay Williams, whose generosity paved the way for the naming of the stadium field; alumni trustees Bert Clark (82C) and Roger Lusby (79C), who led the successful Clark Track Challenge, and Bert’s wife, Cathy; Dr. Ouida Dickey (50C, FFS), who has joined daughters Jennifer (77A, 80C) and Angela (75A, 79C) in making a challenge gift to name the track and field throws area for the late Garland M. Dickey (42C); Steve and Michelle Tart, football parents and project supporters; Randy Berry and Barry Griswell (71C), trustees and LifeReady Campaign co-chairs, and Barry’s wife Michele (70C), all major donors to the project; and Board of Trustees Chair Karen Holley Horrell (74C), another major contributor to the fundraising effort to build the stadium.

Steve CageIn his remarks, Cage (pictured) noted that Valhalla is “a collaboration of hard work, trust and leadership with the Board of Trustees, Dr. Briggs, faculty and staff, students and donors.” He offered special praise to the Berry president, dedicating the new stadium in his honor, and thanked all those who had made gifts to the project. Groundbreaking coverage.

Christened  “a place for us” by SGA President Paton Roden, Valhalla will provide a new home for Berry’s football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams when completed in 2015. The stadium and adjacent Dickey Field will also make possible the spring 2016 resumption of full competition in men’s and women’s track and field, in addition to hosting intramural competitions and other large outdoor events. Berry’s service entrance will be closed until construction is completed.

Fundraising for Valhalla is now entering its final phase. Gifts to the project can be made online. If you’d like to double your giving power, make your commitment through the Dickey Field Challenge.

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Harrison Daniels

Berry's 3-D printing lab was just one stop on Harrison Daniels' path to LifeReady. Click the image to learn more.

In the August issue of the Alumni Accent, the release of Zane Cochran’s new book, The Beauty of Berry College, inspired us to poll the popularity of various Berry “gifts.” The No. 1 response was a weekend stay in the Guest Cottages with 41% of the vote. Next with 29% was one more year as a student on the world’s largest campus (My pick for sure!). Cheese made from Berry milk was third with 11%, followed by season tickets for football (8%), DVDs of movies shot on campus (7%) and corn mill ground at the Old Mill (4%).

This month, we turn our attention to the concept of LifeReady, the result of an education of the “head, heart and hands” and the theme of Berry’s fundraising campaign. Think back on your Berry experience. What most prepared you for life beyond the Gate of Opportunity? Scroll to the blog footer to give us your answer.

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Welcome CenterStudents returning for fall semester will find construction of Berry’s new Welcome Center well under way. Funded through support for LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity, the project is designed to make the campus both more inviting and more secure.

Unlike the existing gatehouse, which occupies the median between Berry’s main entrance and exit, the new facility will be located on the right shoulder of the entrance way. Staffed by campus police and student hosts, the 1,100-square-foot structure will serve a dual function as a safety/security area for the campus and a welcome/information area for guests. Features include an advanced gate system balancing convenience for members of the campus community with enhanced security.

Construction is being fast-tracked to minimize activity during the nesting season for Berry’s bald eagles. Completion is anticipated in early 2015. The Welcome Center is part of an overall plan to enhance the college entrance that includes last summer’s addition of new crosswalks, warning lights and planters for the traffic circle in front of Hermann Hall.

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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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New Site for Valhalla Stadium

Tentative rendering for new Valhalla stadium site. Cage Center is top center.

Berry’s eagles were back in the news in late spring thanks to a decision by college officials to preserve the natural buffer around the famous nest by changing the site for the new Valhalla stadium.

Already shifted once as part of an eagle buffering plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Valhalla will be constructed south of the original site in the field bordered by Maple Drive (the service entrance), Martha Berry Highway and Memory Lane.

The relocation announcement was met with widespread support on Berry’s social media channels, especially among nature enthusiasts who have helped to make the college’s Eagle Cam an international sensation.

“The eagles are mesmerizing, better than any reality television show,” said President Steve Briggs. “And the truth is we are entranced by them as well.”

Fundraising for Valhalla – which will provide a home for intercollegiate football, lacrosse, and track and field in addition to intramural sports and other campus events – is more than 80 percent complete. Construction is expected to begin later this year. As part of the project, Maple Drive will be widened and a grassy field for track-and-field throwing events will be added.

The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2015 football season. Home games this fall will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome.

Support Valhalla.

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