Tag Archives: Paton Roden

Debbie Heida PortraitMerriam-Webster defines “pillar” as “a supporting, integral or upstanding member or part,” as in “a pillar of society.” Such words aptly describe Debbie Heida, who this fall was named a “Pillar of the Profession” by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in recognition of her work on behalf of students and higher education.

Heida has been a member of Berry’s leadership team for 14 years, beginning with her appointment as dean of students and vice president of student affairs in 2004. This year, she left that role to serve as chief of staff to President Steve Briggs.

“In her 14 years at Berry, Debbie has managed a weighty portfolio of responsibilities and still, to her credit, she is always among the first to run toward a new problem or reach out to offer help when a colleague has a need,” Briggs said. “She is creative and resourceful and therefore one of the people I turn to first for a fresh perspective. She was instrumental in leading the planning effort when Berry joined Division III of the NCAA, and she worked determinedly for several years to bring the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program to Berry and ensure a successful transition.”

Assisting in the nomination process was former SGA President Paton Roden (15C), now second-year experience coordinator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I found my passion at Berry through my student involvement and leadership positions on campus and followed this into my current career in higher education,” Roden said. “I did all of this with the help of Debbie Heida. She is very deserving of this award based on her commitment and involvement.”

Photo by student Matthew McConnell

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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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