Tag Archives: LifeReady Campaign

Christine Todd Whitman

Christine Todd Whitman talks to Dr. Brian Campbell, associate professor of anthropology and environmental studies.

The Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series welcomed an impressive voice of experience Jan. 25 in the form of Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey governor and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

Whitman, who made history in 1994 as New Jersey’s first female governor, addressed the topic of “Women, Leadership, Power and Politics: Overcoming Obstacles,” in her formal remarks in Krannert Center. She also took part in a classroom discussion with students in Berry’s environmental studies program.

During her presentation, Whitman stressed the importance of integrity in any leadership position and talked about characteristics such as education, perseverance, honesty and decency that contribute to it.

“To me, leadership isn’t leadership at all without integrity,” she stated. “It’s exploitation.”

Afterward, she fielded numerous questions from a very engaged student audience, with topics ranging from her involvement with the EPA to her inspiration for going into politics.

The Wright lecture series is an initiative of the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership, a major priority of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity. Past speakers have included Harvard University’s Barbara Kellerman, Aflac CEO Dan Amos, meningitis vaccine expert Dr. Marc LaForce and Home Depot Executive Vice President Bill Lennie.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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Audrey Morgan at Sisters Theatre Dedication

Audrey Morgan stands in front of a portrait of herself and sister Bobbie Bailey in the lobby of Berry’s new theatre.

“The dedication of this theatre is nothing short of a miracle. Less than two years ago, it was only a dream.” – Audrey Morgan

Dry eyes were scarce Oct. 6 as students, faculty, alumni and friends joined Audrey Morgan and her family for the dedication of Sisters Theatre. The name of Berry’s newest fine arts facility celebrates the legacy of love and lifelong commitment to the arts shared by Morgan and her sister, the late Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“For me personally, the new theatre has deep meaning,” Morgan expressed. “I was very blessed to have as my sister Bobbie Bailey. Our lives as sisters and best friends were entwined for 85 years; our names as business partners entwined for 55 years. And now with this beautiful new theatre on the Berry campus that I love so much, our names are going to be entwined for years to come. Tonight is truly a mountaintop experience for me. I could not be happier or more honored.”

Morgan, a Berry Board of Visitors member and recipient of the college’s honorary doctorate, played a critical role in the now-completed $6.7 million campaign to fund the theatre’s construction and associated improvements to Blackstone Hall. Her $1 million challenge gift initiated fundraising in 2015; a year later, a second $1 million gift was announced, this one from the foundation of her late sister.

Students and faculty were thrilled to take possession of their new 9,226 square-foot performance home, which features a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276. Coupled with the improvements to Blackstone Hall, the new facility doubles the amount of functional space available to Berry’s theatre program.

The Berry College Theatre Company christened the new facility with its fall production of Crimes of the Heart. Next up is Make Merry (Or How to Survive Your Family on Holidays), scheduled for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-2. Click here to order tickets.

Sisters Theatre Photo Gallery

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Elvin and Fleta Patterson SimsIn life, Elvin (35C) and Fleta Patterson (35C) Sims dedicated themselves to quietly shaping the character of their own children as well as the countless others they served as educators in rural Georgia. Now that legacy will extend to generations of Berry students thanks to a $2 million gift from their son John Edward Sims to fund the directorship of the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership. Among many important responsibilities, the new director will work with faculty to infuse coursework related to personal integrity and leadership into every major and develop tools and training for students to practice ethical problem-solving. This individual also will oversee existing initiatives, including the Gordon and Joyce Carper mentoring program and the Cecil B. Wright III lecture series. Berry officials expect to fill the position in 2018.

“We are grateful for Ed Sims’ vision and desire to honor his parents in a way that recognizes their life-changing experience at Berry,” President Steve Briggs said. “Because of his generosity, generations of emerging leaders will be asked to think deeply about issues of conviction and character as part of their Berry experience.”

Read more: Retired marketing executive honors parents with $2 million BCIL gift

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Isabella Kukor conducts research with Dr. Jay Daniel.

Isabella Kukor conducts research with Dr. Jay Daniel.

Hours before most people pour their first cup of coffee, freshman Isabella Kukor slips on her boots for the early-morning shift at Berry’s on-campus dairy. By the time she heads to class at 8 a.m., she has milked cows, fed newborn calves and performed many other duties in and around the facility. Next on her to-do list – after class, of course – is researching new techniques for preserving animal tissue with Professor Jay Daniel in Berry’s new animal science laboratory. Overwhelming? Kukor wouldn’t have it any other way.

The animal science major from Frederick, Md., has been working with large animals since she was 8 years old. By the time she was 15, she was showing prize-winning goats and dairy heifers at her local county fair. In high school, she was a member of the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America), serving as a chapter officer. After graduation, she spent a year as state president for the organization before choosing to travel nine hours from home to attend Berry. The reason? Opportunities available through Berry’s highly regarded animal science program to work toward her dream career in agricultural business management.

“Berry provides real job experience and realistic expectations when it comes to a career in veterinary medicine or agricultural science,” Kukor explained. “Students are encouraged to work with the animals, taking care of their needs.”

Berry hopes to maximize the educational opportunities available to students like Kukor through the LifeReady Campaign. Click here to learn more about the vision for animal science, including a major new classroom and teaching-lab facility to be constructed adjacent to McAllister Hall.

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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ANS Lab Ribbon Cutting

Jackie Scott (fourth from left), widow of the late Dr. Allen Scott, joins college leaders, friends and project donors at the ribbon-cutting for Berry’s new animal science laboratory.

The late Dr. Allen Scott was never shy in advocating for Berry students, so it’s only fitting that the entrance to the college’s new animal science laboratory be named in his honor. Family and friends of the faculty legend joined other project supporters for an April 18 ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of the 4,600 square-foot facility, the first animal science priority funded through the LifeReady Campaign.

“There were many students that were touched by Allen Scott,” Dana Professor of Animal Science George Gallagher said of his longtime friend and colleague. “And I think that’s his biggest legacy for Berry College. This [facility] will help to build on that.”

Allen Scott PlaqueLocated near the Rollins Ruminant Research Center, the new facility includes a research laboratory with multiple workstations and equipment for preparing samples for study, a large lab with 10 stanchions and other equipment for safely working with cattle, a flexible lab where small-animal pens can be configured as needed, a large storage room, and a veterinary support room. The building also functions as an emergency treatment and surgery center, all but eliminating the need for college veterinarians to treat or perform life-saving procedures in the pasture.

Fundraising is now underway for a major new animal science building to be located adjacent to the McAllister Hall science center.

Event coverage, photo gallery

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Home Depot Vice President Bill Lennie visited Berry in late March as the fourth speaker in the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series. While on campus, Lennie delivered a presentation on “Building a Values Based Culture,” met with Berry business students and visited HackBerry Lab, home to the college’s innovative creative technologies program.

Click the accompanying video to hear Lennie’s thoughts on a variety of topics related to ethical leadership, including the value of the experiences available to students through the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership.

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Bettyann O'NeillA 23-year career highlighted by the two most successful fundraising campaigns in Berry history will come to a close Dec. 31 when Bettyann O’Neill retires from her longtime position as vice president for advancement. O’Neill, who plans to marry and relocate to Florida, has led Berry’s fundraising and alumni engagement efforts since 1999, during which time alumni and friends have committed more than $235 million to advance Martha Berry’s vision and mission, including more than $65 million for student scholarships. Her work has helped lead to such notable campus additions as the McAllister Hall science center, Cage Center, new theatre, Valhalla stadium and Kilpatrick Commons.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will determine how we will move forward to fill the void her departure will create,” President Steve Briggs said. “Her efforts to support the college’s most critical strategic initiatives have left an indelible mark on Berry’s firsthand educational experiences and have transformed the face of the campus physically.”

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Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum long has been a favorite gathering spot and event location for Berry alumni, the campus community, local residents and tourists. This spring, ground was broken on a new pavilion that will make the historic estate an even more ideal location for weddings, seminars, corporate meetings and other types of events.

Planned for completion later this fall, the pavilion is a dream realized for Al Christopher (61c), a longtime crew chief for Alumni Work Week whose woodworking expertise will be reflected in the juniper beams, full-lite doors and other elegant features of the 5,760 square-foot structure. With a full catering kitchen and space for up to 300 guests, the facility is designed to be used as an open-air pavilion or a closed, air-conditioned space. Funding was provided by an anonymous $1 million gift.

“From the start, we knew this pavilion at Oak Hill would be an important and strategic addition,” said Fred Tharpe (68A), chairman of the Master Planning Committee for the Berry College Board of Trustees, while addressing the Berry family members, alumni and friends who joined college officials for the April 1 groundbreaking.

“Those involved in the project have spent countless hours in planning. Through all of these meetings, we’re always conscious of Martha Berry’s words, ‘I pray that I may leave this place more beautiful than when I found it.’ I think Miss Berry would be pleased with what we’re doing with this pavilion.”

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Williams Field Dedication

From left, softball coach Cori Thiermann, Dean of Students Debbie Heida, Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) and President Steve Briggs join Kay and Bob (62H) Williams at the official ribbon-cutting for Kay Williams Field.

Four straight wins over top-ranked opponents, a milestone 200th victory for head coach Cori Thiermann and a field dedication honoring one of their biggest fans highlighted a program-best 13-0 start for Berry’s softball Vikings.

The Feb. 18 dedication of Kay Williams Field coincided with a doubleheader sweep of arch-rival Emory University. A pregame ceremony honored Kay Williams’ longtime support of Berry’s student-athletes and the institution as a whole. Husband Bob Williams (62H) joined her for the dedication, along with Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) and other Berry leaders.

The wins over Emory – coming on the heels of a similarly impressive sweep of Texas Lutheran – propelled Berry to a top-5 national ranking. In less than a month of action, three members of the team – Brittany Tuttle, Sarah Moore and Marie Collop – have earned National Player of the Week honors from either Fastpitch News or the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

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Project champion Audrey Morgan received a well-deserved standing ovation during a Feb. 23 “topping-out” celebration marking the halfway point in construction for Berry’s new theatre.

Work on the 9,226 square-foot addition to Blackstone Hall is progressing rapidly, with completion expected as early as May 30. Students, faculty, donors and friends got a glimpse of the developing space during the luncheon, which was held inside the four walls that soon will house a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276, depending on the needs of a particular production. Construction and design partners in attendance praised the cooperation and assistance of Berry’s theatre faculty and facilities staff in helping to bring the project to fruition.

It was Morgan’s $1 million challenge gift that initiated fundraising for the now-completed $6.7 million theatre campaign in fall 2015. A year later, at the project groundbreaking, she announced a second $1 million commitment, this one from the foundation of her late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

Morgan, an honorary alumna and member of the Board of Visitors, spoke fondly of her sister at the topping out and graciously thanked all “who had a part in making this dream a reality.” Later, President Steve Briggs proclaimed to the theatre students in attendance, “This, my friends, is for you.”

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President Steve Briggs announced last week that Berry’s LifeReady Campaign has now surpassed $100 million in gifts and pledges. Fundraising for several major campaign projects has been completed, but four strategic priorities remain. Those priorities, and the estimated remaining needs, are:

Click here to read Dr. Briggs’ message, which includes a list of accomplishments to date. Learn more about the vision for LifeReady by viewing the accompanying video. Commitments to remaining priorities can be made at www.berry.edu/gift.

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With their traditional home temporarily unavailable due to ongoing construction of Berry’s new theatre and associated work in Blackstone Hall, the Berry College Theatre Company took its show on the road in early December — spreading a little Christmas cheer in the process.

Following up on an impressive outdoor production of Peter and the Starcatcher staged at the BOLD ropes course in early fall, the troupe decked the halls of Krannert Center the first week in December for A Charlie Brown Christmas, doing one matinee for local schoolchildren and four others for the campus community and general audiences.

Student director AnnaBeth Crittenden enjoyed bringing the Charles Schulz classic to Berry, noting, “Even after watching the Christmas special upwards of 100 times, I still get chills. There is so much humanity and light in the show that I’ve loved to bring out onto the stage.”

According to Director of Theatre Dr. Anna Filippo, the students are making the most of their temporary displacement from Blackstone (the new theatre will be completed in time for fall semester). She stated, “While not having a conventional stage has posed several challenges for the students, they have gained experience in mobile set building and outdoor performance.”

The Berry troupe will continue its “road tour” April 4-9, performing Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Kilpatrick Commons.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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