Head, Heart and Hands

Our story


Berry has never been just a school. It’s been a beacon of hope for individuals and society. It still is. Never has the character of a Berry education been more needed, and never has Berry College been better positioned to fulfill the promise and potential of its purpose.  

Martha BerryThe path was established in 1902 when Martha Berry broke all the rules. At a time when schools were scarce and options few, our entrepreneurial founder believed in the power of helping people help themselves and created a school that gave enterprising students the opportunity to both work in support of their education and live in a community dedicated to their improvement. The resulting “education of the head, heart and hands” combined intellectual skills and practical skills in a way that shaped people known for their work ethic, integrity, resourcefulness and willingness to serve. 

Martha Berry’s fledgling school provided a Gate of Opportunity so effective in preparing her students to improve their world that it caught the attention and earned the support of presidents and philanthropists, inventors and entrepreneurs – people like Henry and Clara Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Emily Vanderbilt Hammond, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Robert Woodruff, Margaret Mitchell and the Macy family.

Fast forward more than 110 years. Berry’s demanding academic programs rival those of many of the nation’s finest liberal arts institutions, and our voluntary student work program is the largest and most sophisticated of its type in the nation. We still value the dignity of work done well and are committed to serving others. 

“I pray that I may leave the world more beautiful than when I found it.”

Martha Berry

Our greatest distinction is rooted in Martha Berry’s innovative model of leveraging all aspects of student life – from classroom to dorm room and from workplace to play space – as a series of linked learning experiences that collectively become greater than the sum of their parts. Together, these firsthand experiences develop the whole person – head, heart and hands. Together, they prepare our students to hit the ground running in work, graduate school, community and society with determination, confidence, compassion and a strong sense of personal responsibility. 

We are immensely proud of the Berry College that exists today. Yet we envision a still better Berry. This improved Berry does not involve a change in course, but, rather, innovative progress in the same enduring direction.

Guided by a new strategic plan, Berry College is focused on further strengthening opportunities for our students to combine knowledge with firsthand experiences that help them discover gifts and realize potential. We will foster entrepreneurship, develop leadership, build partnerships, leverage resources, and nurture a community culture that values hard work, integrity and meeting the needs of others. We will also open Berry’s Gate of Opportunity wider still for talented students willing to invest in their own success by working in support of their education.

Powerful, distinctive and time-tested, the Berry educational model responds boldly to society’s call for more relevant and accessible higher education and for citizens willing to work hard and give more than they take. We commit ourselves and our resources to helping every student acquire the knowledge, experiences, character and conviction to improve their families, workplaces and communities. We are dedicated to providing an education that helps students become LifeReady.

Will you join us?

Our Story - Gate of Opportunity