Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

Rear Adm. Vince Griffith (81C) addresses spring graduates.It’s only fitting that a speaker well versed in logistics – Rear Adm. Vince Griffith (81C) – was on hand for the largest spring commencement ceremony in Berry history. A record total of 473 undergraduate and graduate students completed their degree requirements this spring. Joining them in the tidal wave of black robes sweeping across the Evans Hall lawn on May 6 were other newly minted alumni who finished their coursework in August or December, pushing the total number of participants to more than 500.

In his remarks, the decorated U.S. Navy officer shared insight gleaned during his own life journey, which has carried him from humble beginnings growing up on a farm in Rockmart, Ga., to his current role as director of DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) logistics operations with responsibilities around the globe. The Berry trustee – described as a “regular guy” by classmates – stressed the importance of perseverance, character and relationships, challenging the new alumni to “try to be just a little better” every day. He also emphasized the value of hard work, recalling his rise to student supervisor of the grounds crew for the House o’ Dreams.

“While I doubt many of you will have to lead an attack in Iraq or face the Taliban, you will have your own challenges – dealing with a demanding boss, trying to manage your peers or getting a new business off the ground,” he stated. “Berry College has prepared you to face any of these trials, and you will be successful.”

Click here for more coverage, including photos from the ceremony and statistical highlights of the 2017 class.

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Whit Whitaker (83C), center, with wife Maria Crego Whitaker (85c) and Gov. Nathan Deal.

Whit Whitaker (81C), center, with wife Maria Crego Whitaker (85c) and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal after Whit’s 2014 appointment to the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

Berry’s executive leadership team is proving to be fertile ground for colleges and universities seeking new presidents. Just weeks after Provost Kathy Richardson was tapped by Westminster College in Pennsylvania, Chief of Staff Whit Whitaker (81C) has been chosen to lead King University in Tennessee. He will begin his new role Aug. 1.

A retired Navy captain and former member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Whitaker is in his 10th year on the Berry staff. During this time, he has worked closely with the college’s governing and advisory boards and has been responsible for oversight of public relations, religious life and historic assets. He also served as assistant vice president for major gifts and continues to assist with fundraising as chief of staff. Off-campus service includes membership on the governor-appointment Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

In a campuswide announcement, President Steve Briggs noted Whitaker’s deep ties to Berry – his father was once a member of the English faculty – and praised his distinguished service.

“We will long remember Whit’s intelligence, insatiable curiosity and sparkling wit,” Briggs stated. “We will miss his turn of a phrase and impeccable timing. And oh how he loves a well-crafted practical joke. Students in the president’s office will also never forget his heart for mentoring and his personal acts of kindness.”

Bristol Herald Courier: Georgia native named King’s 23rd president

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Michael Howard and Whit Whitaker

Michael Howard (14C) and Whit Whitaker (81C)

One of Berry’s newest graduates became a newly minted Marine second lieutenant when Michael Howard (14C) was given the commissioning oath by Berry Chief of Staff and retired Navy Capt. Alexander “Whit” Whitaker (81C) just three days after spring commencement. The ceremony took place at Oak Hill. The international studies major and son of missionary parents spent two summers attending Marine Officer Candidate School during his time at Berry. Next up for the former student supervisor in the Berry president’s office is The Basic School in Quantico, Va., this fall.

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