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The Berry College community celebrated the graduation of 315 students Saturday.

Commencement was held on the lawn of Evans Hall after the recent storms uprooted the ‘Graduation Tree’ on the lawn of Memorial Hall. But Evans provided a stately backdrop and the weather was crisp and clear as students accepted their diplomas among a large crowd of family and friends. The graduation ceremonies were also streamed live and are available at berry.edu/webcast. 

State Rep. Katie Dempsey was the keynote speaker at the Spring Commencement May 7. Dempsey said graduation was simply “a moment to treasure,” while Berry President Steve Briggs took a symbolic approach.

To wrap up the theme of trees and growth in his speech, Briggs noted that founder Martha Berry’s life devotion was “planting and nurturing young men and women who would grow to become the towering trees, that which shelter and enrich the communities of which they lived.”

The storm of April 27 proved her point.

“It was an interesting surprise exam at the end of your four years,” Briggs said, speaking directly to the graduates.

Biology major Sandra Elizabeth Stepp, of Morganton, Ga., spoke for the graduating seniors. She recited an original poem to describe her experience as a student at Berry, as well as her views of the community. “Some things are grown here that will last even longer,” Stepp said. “Berry grows strong trees, but its hearts are grown stronger.”

Berry College’s Spring 2011 Graduates 

More graduation coverage:

Dempsey: Future bright for graduates  

Berry graduate bound for Korea through Fulbright scholarship: RN-T.com - Berry graduate bound for Korea through Fulbright scholarship 


Student Photographer Mary Claire Stewart contributed. 

Elizabeth Stepp (11C) Graduation Poem