Tag Archives: Outstanding Young Alumni

Berry 2019 Commencement

Mahmood “Momo” Abdellatif receives his diploma from President Steve Briggs before a huge crowd on the Evans lawn.

“Live life less filtered.”

This was the advice John Coleman (04C) offered to the class of 2019 at spring commencement.

Coleman – the 2012 recipient of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award – is no stranger to the Berry podium, having spoken at his own graduation and at Mountain Day. This time, he shared his insights with 410 undergraduates and hundreds of additional guests gathered on the Evans Hall lawn (20 graduate students received their diplomas at a separate ceremony).

Repeatedly referring to today’s social media society, the Harvard MPA/MBA graduate and Invesco executive addressed the dangers of the unrealistic expectations it presents.

“We keep our relationships superficial and unreal, so concerned with putting our best foot forward that we forget to extend a hand,” Coleman said, encouraging graduates to embrace the messier aspects of life, rather than constantly polishing and filtering the version of their story that they share with the world.

After his own graduation, Coleman faced a series of struggles: unsuccessful jobs, break-ups, small apartments and couch surfing. In sharing these experiences, he also touched on the lessons he learned and how he has grown since then. Living life less filtered, he said, means embracing and being honest about the good and the bad in life. He emphasized the importance of opening up to others, asking for and giving help when it is needed.

“Today, you’re Berry College alums,” he said. “I know that you can do this.”

Based on their accomplishments so far, we heartily agree! A quarter of this year’s graduates will move on to graduate/professional school, studying everything from law and epidemiology to computer science and poultry nutrigenomics. Others are starting work right away with companies like Nike, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot and Disney. Our charge to them is simple …

STAY IN TOUCH! And be sure to drop us a class note for Berry magazine from time to time. Come to think of it, that goes for the rest of you as well! If you haven’t sent us an update lately, click here and do so today!

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

Bookmark and Share

A leader in forensic drug chemistry research, a learned historian and dedicated Berry servant, an award-winning journalist, and a skilled woodworker and successful entrepreneur topped the list of award winners recognized at Alumni Weekend. The 2018 recipients of Berry’s Distinguished Alumni Awards included:

  • Dr. C. Randall Clark (67C), professor of medicinal chemistry at Auburn University, Distinguished Achievement
  • Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C), coordinator of public history program and associate professor at Kennesaw State University, Berry campus preservationist, Distinguished Service
  • Al Christopher (61c), talented craftsman, enterprising founder of several businesses in construction and other fields, Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Aitana Vargas (03C), Spanish-language journalist and broadcaster, holds master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Outstanding Young Alumni
Kay Williams and Tim Howard

Kay Williams, Tim Howard

Other honors presented at Alumni Weekend included the following special distinctions bestowed by the Berry Alumni Association:

  • Tim Howard (82C) – Alumni Council Lifetime Membership
  • Kay Williams – Alumni Association President’s Award

Three classes also earned recognition for reunion giving, including an impressive trifecta by the much-heralded college class of 1958:

  • 1958C – Reunion Cup (percentage attendance), Viking Cup (giving participation) and Ford Cup (dollars given)
  • 1968C –  Martha Cup (percentage increase in giving participation)
  • 1948C – Heritage Cup (increase in planned giving commitments)

Special thanks to the hundreds of alumni and friends who turned out for Alumni Weekend, and congratulations to the classes of 1968A and 1968C, this year’s inductees into Berry’s Golden Guard.

Related Links: Alumni Weekend Class Photos

Bookmark and Share

2018 Alumni Award Winners

Above: Winners of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards include, from left, Aitana Vargas (03C), Outstanding Young Alumni; Al  Christopher (61c), Entrepreneurial Spirit; Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C), Service; Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C), Achievement.

Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards (winners pictured above) is one of many highlights planned for Alumni Weekend 2018. Others include dedication of the Oak Hill Pavilion, a new 5,760-square-foot event space on the grounds of Martha Berry’s famed estate, and reunions for the high school, academy and college classes of 1953, 1958, 1963 and 1968.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 18, with the annual Alumni Golf Scramble and continues through the weekend. The pavilion dedication and Alumni Awards presentation will take place Saturday, May 19, with reunion gatherings scheduled across both days. Complementing the milestone reunions will be a dinner for the class of 1961C and a breakfast gathering for the college classes of 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services May 20, just in time for another grand Berry tradition – Alumni Work Week – to begin.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement:Dr. Charles Randall Clark (67C)
  • Service: Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Al Christopher (61c)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Aitana Vargas (03C)

They will be honored Saturday night along with the academy and college classes of 1968, which will join the ranks of Berry’s Golden Guard.

Schedule and online registration: Alumni Weekend, Alumni Work Week

Bookmark and Share

Brin Enterkin in Uganda

“Anyone anywhere is capable of helping somebody. I hope people will see that if I can do something like this, anyone can.”

Brin Enterkin (12C) was a newly minted high school graduate when she spoke those words to her hometown paper after working to fund a school in Cambodia. A decade later, she continues to live out that credo, recently earning placement on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list of social entrepreneurs for her work to transform the education system of Uganda by stressing an interactive approach over rote memorization, thus allowing children to think more creatively and critically.

“Brin is an outstanding young alum,” said Professor of Management Paula Englis, who nominated her for the Forbes list. “She has a long history of exemplary service and the ability to make things happen to facilitate substantive change.”

Enterkin’s involvement in the African nation began in 2009 when she taught microfinancing to Ugandan women and provided comfort to patients with AIDS/HIV as part of a Berry-funded summer learning experience. By the time she graduated, she had founded a nonprofit, The African SOUP, which continues to make a difference in Uganda by blending community development with national impact. Her work has earned the attention of CNN, Huffington Post and Engage Magazine, and in 2015 she was honored with the Berry Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Enterkin recently returned to the United States to assume a new role as president/managing director of the Watson Institute in Boulder, Colo., where she is working to create an “Olympic training ground” for other social entrepreneurs.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

Bookmark and Share

No, we’re not talking about THAT election. We’re referring to the Distinguished Alumni Awards. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 awards, and we need your help identifying the best and brightest in Berry’s alumni community. If you have a friend or classmate who is deserving of recognition, please take a few minutes to complete the online nomination form. Awards are available in four categories:

  • Distinguished Achievement
  • Distinguished Service
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Outstanding Young Alumni

The deadline for consideration  is Oct. 31, so don’t delay! Winners will be honored at Alumni Weekend.

Click here for a list of past winners.

Bookmark and Share

The Berry Alumni Association recently honored some of the best and brightest in our alumni family with Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s winners include:

Distinguished Achievement
Roger Lusby III (79C)

Distinguished Service
Joy Bernice Ogle Whaley (53H)

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Tricia Steele (09C)

Outstanding Young Alumni
Chris R. Hayes (04C)

Watch the accompanying video to hear from our winners. More will be featured in the fall issue of Berry magazine.

Nominations for the 2017 awards are now being accepted. Click here for details.

Bookmark and Share