The Alumni Accent - An e-newsletter from Berry College

Alumni Association grows by 341

Berry welcomed its newest alumni on Saturday (May 1) as the class of 2004 graduated. Three hundred forty-one students graduated, including 327 undergraduates and 14 graduate students.

Gene Anderson, a 1963 graduate of Berry High School, delivered the keynote address. A former captain in the U.S. Army, Gene founded his own real estate company in 1977. In 1997, that company merged with Highwoods Properties; he continues to serve as senior vice president and director of Highwoods in Atlanta.



Berry implements small workforce reduction

Responding to budget pressures being experienced by colleges and universities across the nation, Berry College implemented a small reduction in its workforce on Monday, May 3.

"We regret deeply the need to reduce our workforce," said President Scott Colley. "We appreciate the work of the affected individuals and their dedication to our students and our mission. Fiscal responsibility, however, requires us to make this difficult adjustment now so that we can maintain the college's strong financial footing and academic excellence into the future."

A total of eight staff positions have been eliminated, which represents approximately 1.5 percent of the Berry workforce. A severance package is being provided, as well as professional job-search assistance.

In addition, 11 non-tenured faculty have been notified that their contracts will not be renewed after the 2004-05 academic year. Combined, these reductions represent about three percent of the college's total employment.

Dr. Colley explained that burgeoning expenses have outpaced increases in revenue for colleges and universities across the country. "Our need to reduce cost is not unique. Many colleges across the nation have found it necessary over the last several years to make much deeper cuts than we are experiencing. But, it hurts when it happens at home and to your own people."

Other efforts at cost reduction preceded the decision to reduce the Berry workforce. These included renegotiated contracts and cost-effective redesign of work procedures.

While Berry's ongoing Century Campaign, with a goal of $100 million, is providing critical support for strategic projects, it does not provide operating budget relief beyond the Annual Fund component.



Heida named new VP for student affairs, dean of students

Debbie Heida, who currently serves as vice president for student development and dean of students at Wittenberg University, has been named vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Berry. She will replace Dr. Tom Carver, who is retiring after 26 years of leading Berry's student affairs efforts.

Read more about Heida's experience at ID=148.


Alumni give Berry Century Campaign a major boost

Alumni J. Barry and Michele Irwin Griswell of Des Moines, Iowa, have made a $1 million commitment to the college's $100 million Century Campaign to establish the J. Barry and Michele Irwin Griswell Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Mr. Griswell is chairman, president and CEO of the Principal Financial Group (NYSE: PFG), a member of the Fortune 500 with $144.9 billion in assets under management and some 15 million customers worldwide. The Principal was recently named one of Fortune magazine's "America's Most Admired Companies" within the life and health insurance industry and one of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For."

Now a member of the college's Board of Trustees, Mr. Griswell attended Berry on a basketball scholarship, graduating in 1971. Mrs. Griswell is a 1970 alumna. Both are strong supporters of the college's mission. Their scholarship fund will be designated for students in financial need.

"We are joyful givers to an institution that has meant so much to us," Mr. Griswell stated.

Read more about the gift online at ?ID=146.


Time to make the ... reservations

Alumni Weekend -- June 4-6 -- is just around the corner. And we're ready to reserve your spot!

Visit asp, where you'll find information about the reunions for the college classes of 1974, 1964, 1959, 1954 and 1949; the academy class of 1969; and the high school classes of 1954 and 1949.

Not having a class reunion? There's still plenty for you to do. Check out the full schedule of events at


Good going!

The Rome Area Heritage Foundation recognized Berry's preservation of the Ford Buildings, creation of the Berry Alumni Center (left) and the restoration of Ford Dining Hall among the best preservation efforts of the year.

Also recognized was Chick-fil-A for its adaptive reuse of the Normandy Dairy Barns as the WinShape Retreat Center.

To see 360-degree images of the Berry Alumni Center, visit alumni/alumnicenter/alumni_center_home.asp. Images of the WinShape Retreat Center are online at


Time to head back to class

Berry's first Alumni College will be held July 19-21. The three-day encounter offers a mix of arts, learning opportunities and recreational activities.

Slated courses include "A Midsummer Night's Dream" taught by President Scott Colley, "Electing the President 2004" with Government Professor John Hickman and "The FCC, the Media and You" with Communication Professor Bob Frank. Recreational activities include a wine tasting, a Braves minor-league baseball game and a reception at the home of Scott and Christine Colley.

For more details, visit






Stepping out for the future

Berry students strapped on their running shoes for the first annual Viking Opportunity 5K road race and two-mile health walk. John Denney, a 1968 Berry graduate, donated $25 to the planned Student Athletic and Recreation Center for each student who participated. Two hundred forty-six students stepped forward to meet the challenge this year, raising $6,150 for the building.


Berry people in the news...

Senior John Coleman placed first in pentathlon at the National Forensics Association National Tournament, making him the top speaker at the national tournament. He follows 1994 Berry grad Andy Wood, who won the honor in his senior year at Berry. Also during the tournament, Dr. Randy Richardson, Berry's director of forensics, received the National Forensic Association's Distinguished Service Award.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed 1985 Berry grad John Fervier to the board of trustees of the state's Subsequent Injury Trust Fund. John is vice president of risk management for Waffle House. He lives in Alpharetta with his wife, Sarah Haddigen Fervier (87C), and their child.

Berry President Scott Colley has been selected to serve on the Georgia Humanities Council's board of directors. The group comprises prominent civic, business and academic leaders.


Baseball and hot dogs
together at last!

Berry's Bowdoin Baseball Field will soon boast a new press box, restroom and concession facility, according to head baseball coach David Beasley.

The facility has been funded entirely through donations to the team by family and friends of team members who have played with the Vikings since Beasley became head coach in 1998.

Keep up with the Vikings' season at asp?sport=MBaseball.



In your neighborhood

East Tennessee :

  • The East Tennessee Summer Cookout will be held at Concord Park, Knoxville, on Saturday, May 15. Register by May 12 by e-mailing Jennifer Edgerly at or calling chapter president Frances Barnett at 865-483-7976 or vice president Sam Guthrie at 865-397-9528.

Charlotte, N.C.:
  • The Queen City Alumni Chapter will hold BYO-BBQ [Bring Your Own Barbecue] Social at the Beverly Crest Clubhouse on Saturday, May 22. Details will be sent soon.

New York, N.Y.:
  • Berry President Scott Colley will deliver an update on Berry College at a New York Reception at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, at the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York. Thanks to Laura E. Gift (89C) and Ruthie Heerwagen (76C) for hosting this event! For additional information or reservations, contact Jennifer Edgerly at

Berry Bound Parties are being planned. Following is a list of chapters that have picked dates. We hope you'll make plans to join us. Watch for details coming later this summer.
  • Northwest Atlanta Chapter, July 22.
  • Cartersville Chapter, July 27.
  • Rome Chapter, July 29.
  • Carpet Capital Chapter, Aug. 7.

Got news? Maybe a new job or a new baby? Recently married? Share the good news with your friends through class notes in the Berry Chronicle. E-mail your news, including your year of graduation, to

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If you have questions, comments or suggestions for our e-newsletter, e-mail Scott Breithaupt at