Tag Archives: Principal Financial Group

Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs discuss vintage photos and letters documenting Henry Ford's relationship with Berry.

Edsel Ford II, right, and Berry President Steve Briggs view vintage photos documenting Henry and Clara Ford’s relationship with Berry.

In the last edition of our Alumni Accent trivia challenge, we asked readers to name the Fortune 500 company Berry Board of Trustees Chair Barry Griswell (71C) once served as CEO. The answer: Principal Financial Group. As a bonus, we asked you what sport he played at Berry. The obvious answer, given his 6-foot-9 frame, was basketball.

This month, we take our cue from a recent campus visit by Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of famed Berry benefactor Henry Ford. On campus for a short video shoot, the younger Ford had the opportunity to tour the campus – including the iconic buildings that bear his family name – and learn more about the historic connection between his great-grandparents and Martha Berry.

Scroll to the blog footer for this month’s question about those famous English Gothic buildings. Share your answers on social media using the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia to earn a shout-out in our next issue.

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Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert.

Barry Griswell, left, and Rick Gilbert

Berry’s strong history of executive leadership continued with the election of J. Barry Griswell (71C) as chair and Rick Gilbert (77c) as vice chair of the college’s Board of Trustees. They succeed Karen Holley Horrell (74C) and Cecil B. “Buster” Wright (73C), who continue active service as trustees after completing their second terms as chair and vice chair, respectively.

Griswell, a trustee since 2003, is the retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and a past winner of the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Award, among his many honors. Gilbert, who has served on the board since 2008, is an entrepreneurial investor in several businesses and co-founder of Atlanticus Holdings Corp. Both are married to Berry alumna, Griswell to the former Michele Irwin (70C) and Gilbert to the former Debra Bourne (76C).

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Barry Griswell Portrait

Barry Griswell

A life lived at the “intersection of business achievement and community/social change with an emphasis on how ethical leadership and hard work cultivate and benefit both” has helped Berry Trustee J. Barry Griswell (71C) earn placement on a worldwide list of 100 influential leaders honored by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The former Berry basketball player who later served as chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group was nominated by Dr. John Grout, dean of Berry’s Campbell School of Business, to join the distinguished group, which represents 21 countries and more than 20 different business sectors.

“Everybody’s Berry degree becomes more valuable when they perform in the workplace, and no one has done that better than Barry Griswell,” Grout praised. “He has raised the stock of everyone who has graduated from Berry and continues to do so.”

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