Dear Friend of Berry College:
A good friend of Berry College recently asked if we were making progress toward our goals for excellence. That is a good question. My colleagues and I are happy that much is going well even as we recognize we still have a crowded “to do” list. Perhaps a review of recent accomplishments – as well as of jobs still undone – is appropriate during our Centennial year.
Let me first make it clear that our being ranked as the #1 comprehensive liberal arts college in the South is a starting point rather than a destination. The recognition by U.S. News & World Report is gratifying and highly encouraging. Yet, to be so recognized should inspire us to work even harder to live up to the standards we have set for ourselves.
Seeking excellence on our own terms
We choose to be known as a college that provides an education of the head, the heart and the hands: that is, an education that is marked by intellectual development; moral and spiritual growth; and lessons gained from worthwhile work done well. Each piece is critical. Each element within the formula should affect the other two. The end of this balanced and integrated education is service to others. When we ask “How well is Berry doing?” we should consider our success in meeting our mission. We should not spend too much time worrying about comparisons to colleges whose educational missions are quite different from our own. We must seek excellence on our terms.
Well, how are we doing? Berry students gave away close to 43,000 hours of volunteer community service last year. Also last year, a dozen students published scientific papers with their professors in major scholarly journals. Students won both regional and national awards for forensics, college bowl, journalism, Model U.N. and Model Arab League competition. The student newspaper was named best in the state as was our forensics team. Our public relations office won a national gold medal award for producing one of the best president’s reports in the country, this in competition with Cornell, Vanderbilt and other major universities. Given normal measures, we are doing well in all areas, but no one is satisfied with that. We want to do better.
||Berry’s education of the head, the heart and the hands prepares our graduates to be fully engaged citizens who serve a society that is eager for role models, leaders and doers — for individuals who give more than they take. And our students give a lot. Last year, Berry students contributed close to 43,000 hours of volunteer service to the local community. As volunteers, students are making a positive impact on life in Rome and Floyd County. For example, in 1999, Berry’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity teamed up with the Rome chapter to build a house for a local family, and the student chapter’s members are already hard at work making preparations for a second building project.