News & Stories
January 11, 2023

Getting creative

Alumni and friends continue to find new and interesting ways to support Berry and its students. Check out these recent examples:

Stadium seats “boost” athletics

Bob Williams (62H) embodies the spirit of Berry athletics.

Hardworking and fiercely devoted, the proud graduate of the Mount Berry School for Boys has been a familiar face at Berry sporting events for decades, cheering on his beloved Vikings and leveraging his generosity to help ensure the best experience possible for the student-athletes who generate so much Berry pride.

This passion is rooted in his love for the school and his belief that lessons learned through athletic competition prepare student-athletes for success in the game of life.

“Sports teach responsibility,” Williams emphasized. “If you don’t do your job, you let someone down. If you work hard, you will reap the benefits. Sports teach work ethic in a way that speaks to what is needed in the world today.”

His latest act of generosity is among his most creative, helping to enhance the fan experience in one of Berry’s premier venues while also providing an opportunity for other supporters to race over the goal line with gifts of their own.

With a lead gift honoring the memory of his late daughter, Ann, Williams kicked off fundraising for 300 permanent chairback seats installed on the home side of Valhalla stadium in time for the 2022 football season. With a gift to the Berry Vikings Booster Club, fans can purchase tickets in this special section, enjoying comfortable seats and a great view while knowing their gift helps student-athletes across all sports benefit from new and renovated competition venues and practice facilities, equipment upgrades, and special travel opportunities that allow them to display their talents on a regional and national stage.

For more information on qualifying gift levels, contact Fred Mercer at or 706-290-2164.

soccer-image.jpgSoccer alum makes perfect assist

It’s been more than 20 years since Todd Crew (99C) last roamed the pitch with his Berry soccer teammates, but there’s part of his heart that forever will be tied to that wide, green expanse adjacent to the Ford Buildings. That’s why he immediately thought of Berry and his old team when advised that a charitable gift of stock would be beneficial to his portfolio.

Recruited to Berry with best friend Eric Gentilello (98C, 01G, FFS), Crew played two seasons with the Vikings, starting both years. Gentilello stayed on for an additional season while completing his graduate studies in education, then worked for 20 years as an assistant under former Berry women’s coach Lorenzo Canalis.

To this day, Crew stays in touch with Gentilello and other Berry friends, often meeting up with former teammates to cheer on Atlanta United. There’s also an annual camping trip involving a dozen or more lifelong Vikings.

Inspired by these connections and associated memories, Crew stepped out of his comfort zone and gave in a way he’d never done before – designating 50 shares of stock to Berry that originally had been gifted to him by his employer, Fortinet, a global Internet security company.

“I was a little nervous, but there were people all along the way to answer my questions and walk me through it,” Crew said.

Gifts of appreciated stock offer many benefits, including a break on capital gains taxes enabling supporters to contribute up to 20% more than if they’d sold the stocks and donated cash. On top of that, the full fair-market value of the asset is still eligible for an income tax deduction.

While he appreciates such benefits, Crew – who this year was recognized as a Gold member of the Martha Berry Society of annual leadership supporters – is most grateful to be championing opportunities for the student-athletes now following in his footsteps.

“I definitely want to support the team and enrich their experience with Berry soccer as much as possible,” he said. “And I wanted them to benefit from the stocks given to me by my company. If I can pass that gift on, why not?”

Contact Jean Druckenmiller at 706-238-7938 or to learn more about gifts of stocks and other ways in which you can support Berry students.


Blessings multiplied

Because Beth Senn (72C) has always had a special place in her heart for Berry, she wanted to do something significant to honor that love in recognition of her 50th reunion.

“My Berry years were the best of my life,” Senn explained. “It’s where I made my best friends, learned so much, and was introduced to faith in a way that ultimately led me to Christ.”

The Berry art alumna worked in libraries for many years after graduation, augmenting her salary by doing freelance biological illustrations for scientific journals through the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Although funds always have been tight, she has prioritized giving back to Berry for more than three decades. When Senn learned her classmates intended to support the renovation of Frost Memorial Chapel, she knew she wanted to help.

“Frost Chapel has wonderful acoustics and is a great place in which to sing,” she said. “And I wanted to do something for my class.”

Senn boosted her latest donation by using part of the required annual disbursement for her Individual Retirement Account, thus enabling her largest cash gift to date. As a result, she has moved from the Bronze to Silver level of the Martha Berry Society of annual leadership supporters. Even better is the satisfaction she feels knowing her generosity is going to a place she loves.

“God wants us to give,” she said. “When He blesses us, He wants us to take those blessings and bless others with them. I learned that at Berry.”

To learn how you can use assets such as an IRA to support the Frost Chapel renovation and other Berry priorities, including student scholarships, contact Jean Druckenmiller at 706-238-7938 or

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