Tag Archives: Terri Colson Earls

Berry Trailblazers

Dr. Beverly Smith (front left) and Evelyn Hamilton are all smiles at the gala celebrating the anniversary of their historic graduation from Berry.

Two distinguished alumnae – Evelyn Hamilton (69C) and Dr. Beverly Philpot Smith (69C, FFS) – shared the spotlight at a November gala marking the 50th anniversary of Berry’s first African-American graduates.

A crowd of 150 students, alumni, community leaders and friends took part in the Trailblazer Gala, hosted by the Berry African American Alumni Chapter in collaboration with the alumni office. Noted television personality Judge Glenda A. Hatchett delivered keynote remarks at the event, held in Oak Hill’s Christopher Browning Pavilion. In attendance were many students and alumni who have benefitted from a donor-funded scholarship named for the history-making graduates. Facebook photo gallery

Hamilton, who earned a B.S. in home economics from Berry, is retired from the Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services.

“I can remember my first day at Berry because it was the beginning of something that had never happened in Rome or Floyd County before,” Hamilton recalled of Berry’s integration, which began in 1964 under the leadership of then-President John R. Bertrand. “The atmosphere was not what I thought it was going to be from watching other states and colleges that had integrated. You saw the violence, the water, the dogs and that kind of stuff, but we had none of that when we entered on the first day here at Berry.”

Smith, who graduated from Berry with a B.A. in English, is a retired educator.

“Berry has made it possible for me not only to be an asset for the community, but for myself and for the family that I have now,” she said. “I have 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. My children are very productive; they’re supervisors and managers. I used to take them to classes with me and they had to sit across the hall in empty classrooms because I told them education is extremely important and you don’t ever stop learning.”

Watch the video above for more from these incredible women. If you would like to honor their courage with a gift to the Hamilton/Smith Scholarship, visit www.berry.edu/gift.

We are pleased to acknowledge the following Gala Committee members for their passion and hard work in bringing this event to fruition: Brenda Thompson (88C), Darcel Ivey (90C), Terri Colson Earls (85C), Chrystal Murray Robinson (90C), Jackie Lawrence Echols (90c), Lee-Anda Hutchens Uter (92C), Hester Parks (95C) and Lisa Fraley Rasheed (90C).

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