Tag Archives: Peter Lawler

Dr. Peter Lawler holds court in his famously messy office.

COLLECTIVE MEMORY: Decades of Berry alumni can close their eyes and call to mind this image of the late Dr. Peter Lawler holding court in his famously messy office. Last fall, that space was named in his memory, and this spring, Dr. David Ramsey (01C) delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Rita Lawler and Dr. David Ramsey

Dr. David Ramsey, right, visits with Rita Lawler, widow of his longtime mentor.

It’s been two years since Dr. Peter Lawler’s unexpected death shocked the Berry community, but his influence continues to burn brightly in the lives of alumni and friends who were inspired by him.

Last fall, Lawler’s former office in Evans Hall was named in his memory – the result of an outpouring of gifts to the scholarship bearing his name – and this spring a former student and mentee, Dr. David Ramsey (01C), delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Ramsey, who has followed in Lawler’s footsteps as a professor of constitutional law and political philosophy at the University of West Florida, said the beloved professor is second only to his parents in influencing his life.

“My vocation is an imitation of his,” he said. “Peter Lawler touched my life at Berry in the most amazing ways. He gave freely of himself to his students and taught me that’s what teaching is about.”

Lawler, who taught at Berry for 38 years, was a nationally renowned political scholar and a prolific author and editor of more than 15 books. Appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics, Lawler was a recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Excellence and was honored as the George Washington Distinguished Professor of the American Founding by The Society of the Cincinnati, among other distinctions.

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President Steve Briggs at the Dedication of the Sam Spector MBA Classroom

WORDS OF WISDOM: A quote by Dr. Sam I. Spector can be seen on the wall of the MBA classroom that now bears his name. Berry President Steve Briggs (center) joined family members and other guests for the September naming.

Dr. Sam I. Spector Speaking at Berry's 2008 Commencement

Dr. Sam I. Spector

Dr. Peter Lawler

Dr. Peter Lawler

Beloved faculty members have been remembered and celebrated this fall with campus namings made possible by the generosity of alumni and friends. Their gifts, in turn, have seeded opportunity for future students by supporting scholarships named for those same faculty legends.

Recent honors include the naming of the MBA classroom in Berry’s Campbell School of Business for the late Dr. Sam I. Spector, whose accomplishments at Berry include the 1973 establishment of the MBA program. Read more.

Similar recognition has been bestowed upon the late Dr. Peter Lawler, whose famously messy office remains a touchstone for the many Berry alumni privileged to have known him during his nearly 40 years on the faculty. His former office space in Evans Hall isn’t so messy anymore, but it fittingly bears the name of the man whose unexpected death in 2017 generated an extraordinary outpouring of love and remembrance.

While both of those alumni-driven campaigns benefited existing scholarships, another honoring longtime student publications advisor Kevin Kleine has resulted in nearly $6,000 in gifts toward a new fund supporting study-abroad experiences for communication majors.

Kevin Kleine and Bob Frank

Kevin Kleine, left, with another legendary member of the communication faculty, Dr. Bob Frank.

Alumni from as far away as Texas gathered for an informal Mountain Day reception celebrating Kleine’s 30th year at Berry. Fittingly, this recognition coincided with Kleine’s receipt of a national advising award from the College Media Association. Fundraising for the Kevin Kleine Study Abroad Scholarship continues with an ultimate goal of $25,000 in gifts to endow the award.

Also on Mountain Day Weekend, friends, family, colleagues and former students gathered for the official naming of the Ouida Word Dickey Living Room in Berry’s Ford alumni center, made possible by a successful 90th birthday giving challenge. This effort resulted in more than $570,000 in gifts to the Ford Auditorium renovation, pushing fundraising for that project past the halfway mark to $3 million in total commitments.

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Mountain Day BannerThere’s no denying that the very best Berry experiences are those that bring us together. That’s certainly true of Mountain Day! From the Mountain Day Olympics to the Grand March to the gifts of pennies students drop in the basket at the foot of Lavender Mountain, everything about this grand Berry tradition revolves around our powerful sense of togetherness.

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the things we have planned for this year’s celebration, which is just a few weeks away. Visit berry.edu/mountainday for a complete schedule (be sure to note special dedications honoring legendary faculty members Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C) and the late Dr. Peter Lawler).

As you make your plans, we hope you’ll symbolically join our students in the Mountain Day tradition of giving – it is Martha’s birthday, after all – by supporting crowdfunding projects and other special initiatives. Watch for more information as the event date draws closer.

Reunion BrunchClass Reunions and Related Activities

High School/Academy Reunion Brunch (10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Hill Dining Hall): Classes of 1973, 1978 and 1983. Registration is $15 for individuals, $25 for couples and $5 for children 6 to 16; cost covers brunch, Mountain Day T-shirt and admission to Saturday night football game. Coffee will be served at 9:30, brunch at 10:30. Register.

College Reunion Brunch (10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, WinShape Hub): Classes of 19731978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. Registration details are same as above. Register.

Berry football team takes field at Valhalla. 2013C Reunion (Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Schroeder’s Deli on Broad St.): Dutch treat; couple and individual price packages available for Mountain Day T-shirts and football tickets. Register.

Milestone Class Reunion Tailgate (3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Dickey Field adjacent to Valhalla stadium) and Football Game (6 p.m. kickoff vs. Sewanee): Mountain Day football is back! While all alumni are invited to the game, members of our milestone reunion classes (1978, 1993 and 2008) also have the option of attending a free pregame tailgate. Game tickets can be obtained by registering for reunion events above or purchased separately for $6 apiece at berrygameday.com. A huge crowd is expected, so get your tickets early! RSVP.

Other Notable Events

Mountain Day Golf Scramble (Noon, Friday, Oct. 5, Stonebridge Golf Club): Registration is $95 per person. Contact Brian Farrer (02C) at 706-238-5904 for details. Register.

Carl Tallent

Carl Tallent (01C)

Berry College Theatre Company Presents Neil Simons’ Rumors (showtimes all three days at Sisters Theatre): Features scenic designs by Carl Tallent (01C). Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for seniors and $6 for students. Call 706-236-2263 or visit berry.edu/bctc-tickets.

Examples of Al Christopher's Berry-inspired woodturnings.

Examples of Al Christopher’s Berry-inspired woodturnings.

From Tree to Treasure (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum): Don’t miss this exhibit showcasing the woodturning artistry of Al Christopher (61c). Admission is free.

Alumni Choir Concert (2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, Ford Auditorium): Alumni under the direction of guest conductors Ross Magoulas (FFS) and Harry Musselwhite (FFS) will lift their voices in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Berry Singers, founded by Magoulas in 1958. A reunion lunch will be held at noon ($30 registration; $15 for each additional participant). Contact Dr. Paul Neal for more information. Register for lunch.

Special thanks to Plainville Brick Company for providing support for this year’s Mountain Day celebration. These longtime friends of Berry provided bricks for several campus buildings, so it’s only fitting that they now step forward as Mountain Day’s first community sponsor.

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Say the words “Mountain Day” to any Berry alum, and you immediately call to mind such longstanding traditions as the Mountain Day Olympics, plates of barbecue (and ice cream cups!), the Grand March of Students, and, of course, that iconic penny basket. The memories are different, depending on your “vintage” – older alums recall the annual tackle football game between rival literary societies, while the youngest among us smile at the thought of Marthapalooza – but the annual celebration of Martha Berry’s birthday remains a touchstone for all.

With this year’s celebration – to be held on Martha’s actual birthday of Oct. 7! – now just two weeks away, it’s high time you made plans to be here. Registration is underway for many events, including reunion brunches for the academy classes of 1972, 1977 and 1982 and the college classes of 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012. There’s also a milestone reunion reception at Oak Hill for the classes of 1977A, 1977C, 1992C and 2007C.

Peter Lawler

Dr. Peter Lawler

Other alumni highlights include the Mountain Day Golf Scramble benefiting the Berry Vikings Booster Club on Friday afternoon, Oct. 6, and a special induction ceremony and dinner for the new Berry High School and Academy Sports Hall of Fame to be held the following evening. Click the corresponding links to register.

A complete schedule is available here. Of particular note is the Friday evening reception and Saturday afternoon picnic for students and alumni of Berry’s government and international studies program. The picnic will feature a remembrance of legendary professor Dr. Peter Lawler, and you can bet many memories will be shared at the reception as well. Email Dr. Kirsten Rafferty Taylor at ktaylor@berry.edu for more details.

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Dr. Peter Lawler in his officeNational commentators joined Berry alumni, faculty and staff in mourning the loss of Dana Professor of Government Peter Augustine Lawler, who died unexpectedly May 23. The nationally renowned scholar had been a fixture on the Berry campus since the late 1970s, earning the love and admiration of countless alumni who flooded social media with tributes in the days following his death.

Peter Lawler“For 38 years, Peter has been a vital member of the Berry community and a legendary teacher, mentor and colleague,” said President Steve Briggs. “A keen observer of human culture and the human condition, Peter will long be remembered for his teasing and provocative approach to teaching and writing. His passing reminds us of the fragility of this life in which, as Peter taught us, we are destined ‘to both wander and wonder.’”

Dr. Tom Kennedy, dean of Berry’s Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, added, “Few teachers have devoted so much time over so many years to their students. Peter could be counted on to entertain students even as he stretched them to engage and wrestle with the major texts of the Western tradition.

“Students had easy access to Peter – though not in his memorably messy office,” Kennedy continued. “He made time for them, drank many, many cups of coffee with them, listened to them, and formed them with their conversations. Countless students fell in love with political thought and the life of the mind through Peter’s teaching and mentorship.”

Click here to read more about Dr. Lawler’s many accomplishments. A brief sampling of the tributes published nationally following his death includes these articles from The Federalist, National Review, First Things and The American Conservative.

A campus event honoring Dr. Lawler’s life and legacy will be planned for fall. Those wishing to remember him with a gift to the Peter A. Lawler Endowed Scholarship may do so using Berry’s online giving portal. Remember to type the name of the scholarship in the “Other Designation” box when completing the online form.

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This Is Us Screen CaptureCharlotte Collins Davis (14C) out-tweeted Kate Logan Pearson (02C) by the narrowest of margins to win our most recent Alumni Accent trivia challenge. Both correctly noted that it was President George W. Bush who appointed faculty legend Dr.  Peter Lawler to the President’s Council on Bioethics.

For this month’s question, we shift from politics to television. A few weeks back, we were thrilled to see one of Berry’s inaugural Gate of Opportunity Scholars make a cameo appearance on the hit NBC drama This Is Us. Earn a shout-out in our next issue by being the first to tweet the name of the 2013 alumnus pictured at left (don’t forget to include the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia).

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Ford BuildingsJessica Clay Smith (00C) is the winner of our latest Alumni Accent trivia challenge, correctly noting that the architect chosen by Henry Ford to design the iconic buildings that now bear his name was Harry Carlson of Boston, Mass. Carlson, who also designed the Berry College Chapel, produced three sets of plans for the Ford Buildings before the famed industrialist was satisfied.

For our last question of 2016, we draw inspiration from a recent newspaper profile of Dr. Peter Lawler written by Michelle Williamson Wilson (93C). Scroll to the blog footer for a question testing your knowledge of one of Berry’s most legendary faculty members. Earn a shout-out in our next issue by being the first to share your answer on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia.

 

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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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Peter LawlerDana Professor of Government and International Studies Peter Lawler has been appointed to a two-year term on the Georgia State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He is one of 14 members representing a variety of backgrounds, skills, experiences and perspectives who will focus their attention on immigration and other issues of importance to their fellow Georgians.

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