A Campaign for a New Century
Readers of the Chronicle will find a great deal of information in this issue about Berry's comprehensive fund-raising campaign. This exciting, even daunting, task is one that is unusual among colleges of Berry's size and character. Why are we taking on such an enormous challenge?
In the first place, the campaign is about the lives of young people and not about dollars. The dollars are a means to an end. Our end is the intellectual, moral and spiritual growth of our students. . This campaign will enable us to produce graduates who are good people and good citizens who are dedicated to serving others. For those who deeply believe in what we are doing at Berry, this is the time to act upon that belief.
Recently, an alumnus made the comment, "We need more Berry Colleges in America!" I responded that although the idea was a good one there is, in fact, only one Berry College. To do what we need to do for our students and for the country as a whole, we must take care of the Berry College we already have.
What is so special about Berry? We are distinctive, indeed unusual, among colleges in the United States for our commitment to a balanced and integrated education of the head, the heart and the hands and for our dedication to community service. Many colleges and universities address one, two or three of the components of the Berry mission, but only a few address all of them. The key to what we do at Berry lies in the words "balance and integration." Our careful attention to a blending of all four elements - intellectual accomplishment, moral and spiritual growth, work and service - makes us a special place. Each element enriches and extends the others to create something more than the sum of disparate parts.
We celebrate the intellect by challenging our students in academically rigorous courses. We demand that our students grow as moral beings, and we offer them many opportunities to grow spiritually. We provide a work opportunity program that allows our students to contribute to the costs of their education while learning valuable lessons from one of 120 different campus job classifications. And finally, we challenge our young people to serve others. Berry students meet that challenge: Last year, 83 percent of our students contributed more than 43,000 hours of volunteer service to Rome, Floyd County and beyond. Mind, morality, spirit, work and service come together as one at Berry College. We are now raising funds to make it possible for this remarkable approach to education to thrive for another hundred years.
One may ask, "What difference will $100 million make to Berry College?" The difference is already visible. Our new $25 million science building is one of the best undergraduate science facilities in the country. The Cook Building, the former home of our science program, now thoroughly renovated, is the new home for the Charter School of Education and Human Sciences. No school of education in America is better housed. This project is important because it enables us to provide many needed new teachers for Georgia, the region and beyond. The Ford Buildings are already showing the benefit of the ongoing $9.5 million restoration project made possible by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. The new student athletic and recreation center will be the first such facility constructed here in 75 years and will compare well with the finest small-college athletic centers in the country. In addition, a new fund will help maintain Berry's technology so that we will be able to continue to meet the needs of our students and faculty members in the years ahead.
Buildings and technology are here for the students and are important only for that reason. How can this campaign affect the lives of young people who will be studying at Berry in the future? One way to address that question is to look ahead a decade and to imagine life on the Berry campus in the winter of 2012-13.
A decade from now, we will observe several hundred Berry students comparing notes and sharing stories about the time they spent studying in Spain or China or Germany. Others who have served as Berry Scholars will be swapping anecdotes about research projects they have carried out in the rain forests of Costa Rica or in the scientific laboratories on the Berry campus. The two-day student research symposium of the 2002-03 academic year will have expanded into five full days of presentations and demonstrations. The
13 students who published papers in major scholarly journals in 2002 as co-authors with their professors will have quadrupled a decade later. Berry student researchers will be learning to play in the major leagues of advanced research and will be accomplishing feats once attainable only by graduate students.
As one walks across campus 10 years from now, it would be obvious that the face of Berry has been changing. The student body will resemble more than now the face of Georgia, as additional Latinos, African Americans, international students and young people from distant states will be pursuing degrees on the Berry campus. Visitors will say to themselves, "This place is brimming with energy!" The Berry of tomorrow will indeed be a vibrant intellectual center even as it remains a place for the education of the heart, a place where one learns valuable lessons from worthwhile work done well, and a place in which students are challenged to serve others. A decade from now, we will be much better at those things we are most proud of today.
The Berry Century Campaign is a project today for the students of tomorrow. If there ever was a time for members of the Berry constituency to support their most deeply held beliefs about a solid, balanced and comprehensive education, this is the time.
Dr. Scott Colley
Berry College President