Hands and Heart
Berry recently welcomed more than 700 alumni to celebrate, connect and, of course, work. The events on campus included Young Alumni Weekend, Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week. The fun included renewed connections, live music and dancing, good food, games, golfing and a lot of stories about days as students.
At the weekend Awards and Golden Guard Gala, three distinguished alumni were inducted into the Berry Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame. Amy Moskovitz Williams (2003C) earned the 2012 Distinguished Service award for volunteerism with a global perspective in the field of public health. T. Ray Fewell (1958C), a radiation and x-ray physicist who developed methods, devices, and research that are widely used by scientists and the medical community, was given the Distinguished Achievement Award. John Coleman (2004C) received the Outstanding Young Alumni award for characterizing himself as a scholar, writer, public speaker, and management consultant at the age of 30.
Also at the Gala, members of the 50th year reunion classes were inducted into Berry’s Golden Guard. A combined gift of more than $3 million from all college and high school reunion classes was presented by Bob Williams (1962H) and Yoniece Miller (1962C.) And the Young Alumni raised more than $5,000 during a live auction at the Party on the Green. The Berry student enterprise, Season’s Harvest, will use the money to purchase a tractor to aid in sustainably growing vegetables.
As the weekend came to a close, many stayed and joined others who arrived to work and have fun during Alumni Work Week. Staying in residence halls and following a Sunday evening Work Week Kick-off Dinner, more than 180 alumni and friends organized into 25 crews to complete service projects all across Berry’s campus. Dedicated alumni and friends rebuilt a gazebo, repaired a barn, caned stools, cooked in the kitchen, worked behind weaving looms and much more.The Work Week auction, which raised over $4,000, included some of the items made during the week – woven hand towels and placemats made on Berry looms, turned wood vessels, quilts, and caned stools.
For some Work Week is a yearly tradition. “It’s these people that keep me coming back, I love working with these guys,” said alumnus Tom Bowen (1955H.)
This is Bowen’s 26th year participating in work week having replaced wood on log cabins, reroofed a boat house and repaired stone walk ways, “until we couldn’t get on our knees anymore,” he said.
Some alumni worked alongside current Berry students, hoping to be mentors to the students by teaching them a craft they learned more than 30 years ago. Others love to share stories about their time here. Lewis Copeland (1960C) laughed along with Bowen as they talked about their work supervisors, the girls they knew and the mischief conjured on and off the clock.
“There are as many stories as there are students,” Copeland said.
Based on the work produced and conversations overheard, it’s safe to say these former Berry students haven’t lost their desire to build community, their hearts for service or ability to tell a good tale.
Article by student public relations assistant McKenzie Reeves and student photographer Blake Childers