Tag Archives: Whit Whitaker

Alumni WeekendIf it’s true that home is where the heart is, then participants in Alumni Weekend were no doubt humming Homeward Bound as they returned to campus May 17-19. Highlights this year included reunion events for the classes of 1954, 1959 and 1964; a dinner for the college class of 1961; Golden Guard induction for the academy and college reunion classes of 1969; and recognition of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners.

VIEW: Reunion Class and Event Photos

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS

  • Alexander “Whit” Whyte Whitaker IV (81C, FFS), Distinguished Achievement: Retired Navy captain and former Berry chief of staff now serving as president of King University
  • Rebekah “Bekah” Fortney Baxter (18C), Distinguished Service: Founder of Chosen Vessels, a nonprofit seeking to encourage, equip and empower leaders around the globe; she has served abroad in Ghana and Romania and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in intercultural studies at Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Timothy Brian Lusby (84C), Entrepreneurial Spirit: Army veteran with a 30-year track record of entrepreneurial success; most recently, he was one of three founders of JRL Energy and its wholly owned subsidiary, JRL Coal, which last fall was named Tri-County “Business of the Year” in Harlan, Ky.
  • Adam Douglas Newton (07C), Outstanding Young Alumni: Former Berry cross country and track captain who is now one of the youngest associate partners at Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, his professional home for 11 years

OTHER NOTABLE HONOREESAlumni Weekend

  • Frances Richey (83A, 87C), Virginia R. Webb Service Award, Berry Alumni Association
  • Frank Campbell (posthumous), Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award, Berry High Schools/Berry Academy

CLASS RECOGNITION AND REUNION GIVING

  • 1969A – Reunion Cup (percentage attendance)
  • 1959C – Viking Cup (highest giving percentage)
  • 1964C – Ford Cup (total giving)
  • 1969A – Martha Cup (percentage increase in giving)

Total reunion giving exceeded $634,000.

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Alumni Weekend Brochure

Whit Whitaker

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include Whit Whitaker (81C), former Berry chief of staff and U.S. Navy officer, now president of King University.

The end of another academic year is fast approaching, meaning Alumni Weekend can’t be far behind. Hundreds of alumni will return home to Berry on May 17-19 for reunions honoring the high school, college and academy classes of 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969. A dinner for the college class of 1961 will also be held.

The fun gets under way Friday, May 17, with reunion dinners and continues through Sunday. Highlights include the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards and Golden Guard dinner on Saturday night.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include:

  • Achievement: Alexander “Whit” Whitaker (81C, FFS)
  • Service: Rebekah “Bekah” Fortney Baxter (18C)
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Timothy Brian Lusby (84C)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni: Adam Douglas Newton (07C)

Winners will be honored alongside the academy and college classes of 1969, which will be inducted into the Golden Guard in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Berry.

Alumni Weekend concludes with Sunday worship services and a closing reception for the Oak Hill exhibit, From Tree to Treasure: Woodturnings by Al Christopher (61c). The scene then shifts to Alumni Work Week, another grand Berry tradition, which continues through May 24.

Click the links below for online registration.

Alumni Weekend

Alumni Work Week

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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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Martha BerryBerry long has been a destination of choice for television and movie crews seeking a one-of-a-kind setting for their productions, but the most compelling story on campus – that of Martha Berry herself – remains largely untold. Not since the 1952 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of “Forgotten Children” – featuring Cloris Leachman as Martha Berry with James Dean in a supporting role – has the Berry story been the subject of a commercial film or television show.

Jessica Clay Smith (00C) hopes to change that with The Sunday Lady, a proposed film about Martha’s life. The Atlanta-based actress and producer is currently working to build awareness in advance of a fall Kickstarter campaign to support the project.

“During the preparation period, I have become only more fascinated by the remarkable Martha Berry,” Smith said. “Her personal motto, ‘Prayer changes things,’ has become more than just the theme of the movie; it is also the theme of the production. I am eager to share the exciting news of this journey with the Berry community and pray each current and former student will become a part of this story as well.”

Berry Chief of Staff Whit Whitaker (81C) commended Smith on her efforts.

“We are excited about Jessica’s commitment to her project and certainly wish her well as she moves forward,” he stated. “Every alumnus, alumna and friend of Berry would be thrilled to see a high quality movie tell the Martha Berry story.”

Follow The Sunday Lady on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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