News & Stories
July 6, 2021

Fitting tribute

Barry Griswell (71C) understood the teaching power of adversity because he experienced it himself. Now, more students who have displayed the same grit and determination he once did will receive the opportunity of a Berry education through gifts to a scholarship program established in his memory.

Modeled after other “guided” scholarships at Berry including Gate of Opportunity, Lettie Pate Whitehead and Bonner, the Griswell Scholarship Program will provide generous financial assistance and a high level of wrap-around support to students of great need who have demonstrated a “spark” that motivates them to rise above challenging life circumstances.


“It’s in how one deals with unexpected misfortunes that separates those who fail from those who attain the top levels of success.” — Barry Griswell

Such was the case for Griswell, whose strong work ethic, thirst for learning and early discernment that the best path to success was to do everything asked of him “and then some” fueled his journey from a difficult childhood to Fortune 500 success, including service as chair, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group.

Forever mindful of his roots, Griswell gave generously of his time and resources in support of causes he cared about, Berry among them. His unexpected death in June 2020 ended 17 years of distinguished service on the Board of Trustees, the last four
as chair.

“Barry had eyes for overlooked individuals who needed a kind hand to help them to their feet,” recalled President Steve Briggs. “This scholarship extends his legacy by providing others with the opportunity to invest in the lives of students from difficult backgrounds who can benefit greatly from the education Berry provides.”

Alumni and friends already have stepped forward with gifts honoring Berry’s late board chair that will provide immediate support for the first group of 11 Griswell Scholarship recipients this fall. Long-term, the college will seek to raise $8.5 million to fund scholarships and programmatic support for a permanent cohort of 30 students.

Contact Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at or 706-238-5897 to learn more about giving opportunities associated with the Griswell Scholarship Program. Gifts in support of the scholarship can be made at

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