News & Stories
January 11, 2023

Difference Makers

Two couples whose positive impact on Berry students has been extraordinary and immeasurable were recognized during the college’s second-annual Evening of Honors, held Oct. 22 in Marietta, Georgia.

Attendees celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Berry Information Technology Students Program made possible by the support of Randy and Nancy Berry and the successful launch of the Griswell Scholarship Program honoring the memory of the late Barry Griswell (71C), who for many years distinguished himself in generosity, service and the pursuit of opportunity for hardworking students alongside his wife, Michele Irwin Griswell (70C).

Berry College President’s Awards were given to both couples, with Michele accepting on behalf of herself and Barry. Other highlights included news of two special campus namings: the Randy and Nancy Berry Endowed BITS Directorship and the Barry Griswell Basketball Locker Rooms (Barry was a star for the Vikings as a student).

The Berrys’ children and grandchildren provided an additional surprise, donating a new golf cart for the BITS Program, complete with Randy-inspired mustache.

Joining friends and family of the honorees were BITS alumni, Griswell Scholarship recipients, college leaders and other guests, including Platinum and Gold members of the Martha Berry Society of annual leadership supporters.

Left to right: Nancy and Randy Berry; Barry and Michele Griswell


In his remarks, Berry President Steve Briggs noted the powerful bonds of friendship connecting Barry and Randy, who served together on the Board of Trustees and as co-chairs of the record-setting LifeReady Campaign.

“Randy and Barry were great partners,” Briggs observed. “Both with big personalities. Both with an irreverent sense of humor. Both with a deep respect and affection for each other, which other board members witnessed in the form of merciless teasing. Both with an analytical, incisive mind. Both with a profound curiosity. Both with a wonderfully big heart and a passion to make things better.”

The honorees’ Berry connections couldn’t have been more different: Barry played basketball for the college, while Michele was a cheerleader; Randy and Nancy, on the other hand, literally are family – he the great-nephew of Martha Berry herself. Yet all have shared the same steadfast commitment to the institution and its students.

Their enduring impact was evident in video tributes featuring alumni and students touched by their generosity and influence.

“I’m just incredibly grateful for how much the BITS Program accelerated my career and the foundation it gave me,” said Whit Marbut (10C), now an IT executive serving as director of the public cloud for AutoZone. “I came out of college with four years of professional work experience and was already almost half a decade ahead of my peers when I entered the workforce.”

Similar appreciation was shared by Griswell Scholarship recipients whose lives have been changed by alumni and friends moved to honor the late Berry board chair by supporting students who have overcome great adversity in their young lives, just as he once did.

“I feel so honored to be a part of the Griswell Scholarship,” said psychology major Alexis Copley. “It is the only reason I was able to come to Berry … You have made it possible for me to attend Berry College and shown that dreams can come true.”

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