Launching LifeReady

Student, alumni and representatives of the campus community joined other friends of Berry for the May 17 public launch of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity. This multi-year effort is meant to enhance Berry’s ability to produce graduates who are ready, willing and able to improve their homes, work places and communities. It also focuses on various projects which target issues of cost, relevancy and access surrounding higher education. 

More than $73 million in commitments have already been secured. Early successes include the funding of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program, an innovative initiative that allows students to work their way to graduating debt free. Gifts and pledges made during the silent phase of the LifeReady Campaign will eventually support 130 such scholarships each year.

LifeReady will also provide support for new mentoring programs, centers for entrepreneurship and integrity in leadership, and student work. Capital projects include expanded facilities for Berry’s largest and still growing animal science major, the new athletic stadium Valhalla, a campus welcome center, and renovation of two historic performance venues, Ford Auditorium and Blackstone Hall. More information is available on the LifeReady website.

Barry Griswell and Randy Berry, campaign co-chairs and college trustees, presided over the celebration. Both have close ties to the institution, Griswell as a 1971 graduate and Berry as great-nephew of the college’s famous founder. Other speakers included Board of Trustees Chair Karen Holley Horrell (74C), Berry President Steve Briggs and two 2014 graduates, Harrison Daniels and Sydney Hulebak.

Highlights included the public premiere of a new video showcasing campaign themes and the impressive vocal talent of Amanda Guidi, a senior music major from Grayson, Ga., who sang beautiful renditions of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess and “Donde Lieta” from La Boheme

Griswell, the retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group, is pleased to be able to introduce others to the value of an educational experience that meant so much to him. 

“Opportunity long has been Berry’s pledge to hardworking students,” he said. “The experience of a Berry education has changed my own life and others, while the character of a Berry education has changed communities for the better. We want to continue this important work.”