Welcome New Alums!

Berry College President Stephen Briggs recently welcomed more than 400 new alumni at the 2018 commencement, noting that it was the end of the “Berry bubble.”

“In years ahead, it will be difficult to recreate the intensity and vibrancy of this experience, of this community” Dr. Briggs said. “So today, the bubble bursts as you go shooting out in all sorts of dazzling directions as you commence into your adult lives.”

Berry bestowed degrees on 423 undergraduate students and 63 graduate students on May 5. Dr. Briggs noted that many are headed to prestigious graduate and professional schools while others have entered the work force as teachers, nuclear engineers and entrepreneurs. Graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in religion/philosophy and psychology, Payton Stone of Cartersville, Ga., acknowledged the people who supported him through his college career as well as his fiancée, Mallory Paulk, who also graduated from Berry.

“This place has meant something to each of us,” Payton said. “Our education, our culture and the life in the Berry bubble is quite different from anywhere else in the country. And I can say with certainty that because Berry does some things different, we are all leaving here different people, equipped with knowledge and experiences that we will bring with us wherever we go.”

The featured graduate speaker, President of Westminster College Kathy Richardson,  highlighted the importance and value being present in this world overrun by technology.

“Your voice here at Berry has been an instrument for identity, accomplishment and growth,” said Dr. Richardson, who was a longtime faculty member and Provost at Berry before accepting the position at Westminster. “But the next months may be different. Use your voice, share your ideas and assert your conclusions beyond Berry.”

Written by Public Relations Student Supervisor Alexi Bell. Photos by staff photographer Brant Sanderlin and student photographers Jacob Bushey, Kathryn Lanyon and Lindsey Campbell.