Tag Archives: Westminster College

Graduates embrace at Berry's 2017 spring commencement.For three decades, Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson challenged, encouraged and inspired students and colleagues alike, first as a faculty member in Berry’s communication department and later as college provost. This spring, the honorary Berry alumna took a brief respite from her duties as president of Westminster College in Pennsylvania to offer words of wisdom to the Berry class of 2018, daughter Lauren Richardson (18C) among them.

Citing sources as varied as researcher and author Sherry Turkle, communication alumnus Andy Wood (94C), singer/songwriter Paul Simon, and former Saturday Night Live comedian Mike Myers (by way of alter-ego Linda Richman), Richardson encouraged the graduates to draw upon Berry-developed “soft skills” such as “clear expression, respectful listening, critical thinking, effective collaboration and creative problem-solving” as they make their way in the world.

“Trust me,” she stated. “You can learn or relearn technical skills along the way – and you’ll have to, because technologies and processes change – but you will be able to adapt to such change quickly because of your soft skills, if you continue to use them.”

Richardson placed particular emphasize on the value of earnest conversation in an increasingly technology-driven age, noting, “Civil dialogue and critical conversation may be the most effective prescriptions for social meaning, empathetic connection and professional accomplishment that we can find as a culture and as individuals.”

A total of 403 graduates earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees this spring. Click here to get a sense of where they’re off to next and to hear remarks from student speaker Payton Stone (18C).

Related coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery; A father’s influence drives Berry graduate

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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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Kathy and Randy RichardsonProvost Kathy Brittain Richardson will be leaving Berry at the end of the current academic year to take on a new challenge as president of Westminster College in Pennsylvania. She is the first woman to be named president of Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college that has been ranked among the “Top 25 Best Colleges in the Northeast.”

A beloved member of the communication faculty since 1986, Richardson has been honored with Berry’s top awards for teaching, scholarship and service. In addition to her work in the classroom, she also distinguished herself as associate provost and dean of academic services (1999-2007) and interim provost (2007-08) before assuming her current role as chief academic officer in 2013.

“We will always know Dr. Richardson as a colleague who fully embraced Berry’s commitment to an education of the head, heart and hands,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “She has poured herself into the fabric of our community and has worked tenaciously to make Berry better.”

Joining her at Westminster will be husband and colleague Dr. Randy Richardson, another beloved member of the communication faculty who is legendary for his work with the Berry forensics program. Under his leadership, Berry has won 20 consecutive state forensic championships and numerous national honors. He is a past recipient of the National Forensic Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Berry officials will conduct a nationwide search for a new provost. Dr. Andy Bressette, currently associate provost, has accepted an interim appointment for 2016-17.

If you’d like to honor these amazing faculty members for their many years of service to Berry, please consider an online gift to the “Kathy Brittain Richardson Faculty and Staff Leadership Fund” or the “Randy Richardson Forensics Union Fund.” The former will support a variety of activities within the Faculty and Staff Leadership Academy, a future initiative of the Berry College Integrity in Leadership Center. The latter helps fund the activities of the Berry College Forensics Union. Contact Fred Mercer at 706-290-2164 or fmercer@berry.edu for more details.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Westminster to get first look at new president

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