A Community Comes Together
In the manner of a family, members of the Berry community are drawn closely together at times of celebration and times of sadness. On the afternoon of June 15, we came together at the Berry College Chapel to mourn the passing of Gloria Shatto and to celebrate her life. Many commented that the service was unusually moving. It was filled with stirring tributes to a remarkable person. When we first met, Gloria said to me, "I'm going to be the best friend you have in the state of Georgia!" And she was - one who will be sorely missed both as friend and mentor. Most of us face the challenge of living up to the example of those who have come before. All of us who care about Berry College certainly have high standards to meet.
Several weeks after graduation this spring, I was able to enjoy my first Alumni Work Week and reunion weekend. In my 31-year career, I have taken part in dozens of alumni reunions. Berry's was by far the most engaging and encouraging of all. Work Week itself was also a fun week and a reunion in itself. During that period, the college also broke ground for the new science building. No one in attendance could recall another groundbreaking anywhere that drew nearly as many people as the 225 folks who joined together in celebration on that stormy afternoon. That first week in June gave all of us a renewed sense of purpose.
Several alumni have asked me about maintenance of the Ford Buildings. The grounds around Ford have suffered over the past 18 months as we have pumped many truckloads of grout into voids under the buildings. Without this pumping, settling would occur which could lead to serious damage. We have also done a great deal of digging around Ford to investigate the stability of the foundations. The buildings are secure, but the grounds look ragged. We are erecting a sign near the main pumping site to explain that work is indeed in progress.
We also have to deal with the effects of time: the Ford Buildings were built during the 1920s. Many people remember the buildings as they were 40 or 50 years ago. I have commissioned an engineering and architectural survey which will tell us what needs to be done and what it will cost. In the next Chronicle, I will report the results of the study. In the meantime, we will proceed with major repairs to the fountains and reflecting pools; repiping, retiling, and resealing will allow us to protect and preserve them for future generations. In early fall, we will till exposed soil and replant those parts of the Ford grounds that now need attention. The grouting will continue until the end of the year. At its conclusion, we will be able to finish the remaining elements of the landscaping project.
This past winter, we replaced the ceiling in Ford Auditorium. All windows in Clara Hall were replaced, and air conditioning was added in all residence units several years ago. With a Department of Energy grant, we are now solving the problem of excessive humidity in East Mary. Of course, much work lies ahead. The windows in East and West Mary require our attention. And the dining hall remains a major project.
Each of its 14 tall windows requires about $5,000 worth of releading and other repairs. Extensive tuckpointing to correct deterioration of exterior masonry is another major job ahead of us. Soon after you read this letter, the Ford fountains and some of the grounds will have been restored. We will continue to address the other needs of that wonderful and historic group of buildings in a systematic manner.
With building projects ahead of us, it is natural that many of us are looking to the future. And with a strong alumni body and such a proud history, it is inevitable that we relish our memories. We should pause once in a while to enjoy the moment and to reflect upon the many blessings of today. Berry students are wonderful young people, and our faculty and staff are dedicated professionals who are devoting their careers to the moral and intellectual growth of these youngsters. I invite the many readers of the Chronicle to pay us a visit. The Berry of the early 1900s was a remarkable place. The Berry of 1999 continues to be an exceptional place. Come pay us a visit and help to celebrate the past, present, and future of this special college.
Dr. Scott Colley
Berry College President