Berry College

Berry College is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Mount Berry, Georgia. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Berry was founded on values based on Christian principles in 1902 by Martha Berry. It originally was a school to educate underprivileged youth from the surrounding mountains.

Berry College
Motto"Not to be Ministered Unto, but to Minister"
Religious affiliation
Non-denominational Christian
Endowment$968.5 million[1]
PresidentDr. Stephen R. Briggs
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural 27,000+ acres (105+ km²)
ColorsBlue and silver[2]
AthleticsNCAA Division III

Location and campus

Berry College is situated near Rome in northwestern Georgia, 72 miles (116 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia and 75 miles (121 km) south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.[3]

The Berry campus consists of more than 27,000 acres of fields, forests, and Lavender Mountain, the largest contiguous college campus in the United States.[4] Designated portions are open to the public for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. The campus is also home to a large population of deer (estimates range between 1,500 and 2,500).

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources oversees about 16,000 acres of the campus, conducts managed hunts, and provides recreational opportunities. The land encompassing the academic buildings and other public spaces is a wildlife refuge in which no hunting is allowed. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure ranked Berry as among the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, noting its numerous fountains and pools among its English Gothic-style buildings.[4]

Outdoor recreation

Berry College has more than 80 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, and two disc golf courses; all are open to the Berry community and to the public. The Victory Lake Campground located in the heart of Berry's campus is available for Berry student use only. Berry offers an intramural program with men, women and co-educational play for many sports.

Student demographics

Berry College has a total of 2,141 undergraduate students with a 2013 freshman class size of 789 students. There are 82 graduate students. There is a 66:34 female to male ratio, and 68% of the students are in-state residents. Students come from 33 states and at least 17 foreign countries.


Berry College offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, and Education Specialist degrees from the four schools making up its academic program. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member of the Annapolis Group, an organization of more than 120 liberal arts colleges nationwide.

Undergraduate programs

Berry offers degrees in the following schools:

  • Campbell School of Business
  • Charter School of Education and Human Sciences
  • Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences

A minor degree can be obtained in 36 different courses of study throughout the four schools. Berry also offers an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Honors Program

Berry's Honors Program is an undergraduate program designed to give qualified students a chance to learn in an intellectually challenging environment with their peers and professors. The Honors Program allows the students to take Honors-only classes, Honorized classes, and to study abroad in Honors-only programs. During their last year at Berry, Honors students must complete and defend a senior thesis. Upon graduation, they receive an Honors diploma.

Graduate programs

Berry offers a Master of Arts in Teaching program and an Education Specialist certification in the Charter School of Education and Human Sciences that is accredited by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCATE).

The Campbell School of Business offers a Master of Business Administration program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Academic Support Center

The Academic Support Center is located in the Memorial Library at Berry and is open to all Berry students who need assistance. It provides free student tutoring services to any student who requests it, and provides academic accommodations to students who have a documented disability. It also offers time management and study skills counseling in a one-on-one setting to Berry students.


Berry College's mission statement espouses "values based on Christian principles."[5] The college board chose to shutter the middle and high school academy, and used that campus property to court leadership of Chick Fil-A, a Christian-run business, through its WinShape foundation programs.[6] The campus has a chaplain, four chapels, and an active religion-in-life program supporting all Christian denominations and religions outside of Christianity. The school recognizes the Student Association for an Inter-Religious Community, which is a student organization that encourages dialogue between religions represented on campus.


The Berry College mascot is the Viking. Berry fields competitive teams in 23 intercollegiate sports including men's and women's basketball, soccer, tennis, track & field, lacrosse, swimming and diving, and golf, as well as men's baseball and football and women's volleyball, softball and equestrian team.

The Berry College women's basketball team won the Division II national championship in 1976.[7]

National Championships: Berry has won three NAIA national championships in women's soccer (1987, 1990 and 1993), one national title in women's basketball (1976), one NAIA national crown in men's golf (1998), and three IHSA national championships in equestrian (2011, 2015, 2016). In addition, Berry student-athletes Michelle Abernathy (marathon, 1999), Caio Soares (3,000 meter race-walk, 2004), Michelle Tuggle (high jump, 1984) and Nicole Wildes (women's golf, 2004) have all won individual national championships.

The Berry College Board of Trustees voted to add football beginning in the fall of 2013, with a track and field athletic program to be added soon after.[8] Due to the financial expense and the traditions of the school, the decision to add football was controversial and met with opposition from a significant portion of the student body, faculty, and alumni. According to the school newspaper, The Campus Carrier, adding football will not affect issues related to equal sports opportunity under the Title IX regulations.[9]

A new stadium, known as "Valhalla", has been built on Berry's campus. The facility is used by the college's football, track, and lacrosse programs.[10]

The stadium was originally intended to be built near the Cage Center (see below), but in 2012 a pair of bald eagles established their nest near the site. They returned and successfully raised chicks in 2013 and 2014. The school moved the stadium site to a new location well removed from the eagles, which have become a symbol of the school.[11] Groundbreaking was held on October 17, 2014, and the stadium was completed for the 2015 football season.[12]

Southern Athletic Association

Berry is a founding member of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), an NCAA Division III conference that was formed in 2011 and began play in fall 2012. Other SAA members are Birmingham-Southern College, Centre College, Hendrix College, Oglethorpe University, Millsaps College, Rhodes College, and Sewanee: The University of the South. The University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis are affiliate SAA football members beginning in 2015.

As of 2015-16, Berry fields competitive teams in 23 intercollegiate sports, including football, men's and women's basketball, soccer, tennis, cross country, track & field, lacrosse, swimming and diving and golf, as well as men's baseball and women's volleyball, softball, and equestrian. Berry's inaugural football season began in the fall of 2013.

Cage Center

The Cage Center is Berry's 131,000-square-foot athletic facility that houses a performance gymnasium, a natatorium with observation seating, a fitness center, racquetball courts, an indoor track and classrooms. The Cage was named after Berry College alumnus and trustee Steven Cage, whose $10 million donation kicked off the project.

Elementary and middle school

Berry College Elementary and Middle School is a private school located on Berry College's mountain campus across from Frost Chapel. Berry College Elementary School, meant to follow British enfant school practices, was founded in 1977.[13] Using a Lilly Foundation Grant, the school was called the Early Learning Center in the Westcott Building and taught kindergarten and first grade students.

Berry abruptly closed the middle school/high school Academy in 1983 and all 144 students were left to attend school elsewhere.

In 1988, the school moved locations from the Westcott Building to Hamrick Hall, where it is now located. By this time the age range had expanded to teach children up until fifth grade. Since 2002, it has enrolled students in up to the eighth grade. A year later, the older students were moved from Hamrick Hall to the newly built Cook Building on Main Campus to form their own separate middle school.[14]

A series of reunion events were held for former students, parents, teachers and directors in 2007 for the thirty year anniversary.[13]

The names of the schools were recently merged into one, Berry College Elementary and Middle School.[15]

Currently, the school is home to 129 elementary and middle school students with a 1:12 teacher to student ratio. During the 180 days in the school year, the students attend class for seven hours compared to the normal six for other elementary schools in the area.[16]

The Middle Schoolers were also known for annually producing short films, with the eight graders receiving a "Martha" award for their achievements. The project was led by art teacher Claire Howard and technology specialist Mark Hannah.[17]

Work program

Berry College's student work program guarantees every student a job on campus for those interested in participating. The work program is based upon the original idea the school was formed around. The founder, Martha Berry, would educate local children for free if they would work around campus. This continues to help offset the tuition cost to this day.[18] This program creates the opportunity for real work experience to build their resumes and apply their particular academic interests. Students are paid based on the level (1–5) at which they work. Level 1 workers are typically just starting at their jobs and are paid minimum wage. As students move up in experience and leadership, they move up in levels and are paid slightly more with each level. Students cannot work more than 20 hours a week.

Film and television

Berry College has been used as a site for the filming of several movies, in addition to music videos by bands such as Casting Crowns. The most notable films are Remember the Titans and Sweet Home Alabama.[19] Disney's Perfect Harmony (1991) was filmed almost entirely on campus at buildings such as Oak Hill, Frost Chapel, the Old Mill, and the Ford Buildings. A short scene from Dutch was filmed on the Berry campus. In addition, scenes for the new series, The Following, starring Kevin Bacon, were filmed here. In the Constantine television series, the Ford Buildings and the Old Mill were used as the setting for Ravenscar Asylum and Constantine's hideout, respectively.[20]

See also


  1. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Market Value of Endowment Assets and Percentage Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). NACUBO. February 4, 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  3. "#121 National Liberal Arts College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  4. "America's Most Beautiful College Campuses", Travel+Leisure (September 2011)
  5. "Berry College Mission and Purpose". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03.
  6. "Chick Fil-A at college", Wall Street Journal
  7. "Pre-NCAA Statistical Leaders and AIAW Results" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 31 Oct 2012.
  8. "Berry to add football in 2013, track and field soon after Read more: – Berry to add football in 2013 track and field soon after". Rome News Tribune. 4 November 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  9. Bridges, Zadie (12 December 2011). "Football not serious threat to Title IX". The Campus Carrier. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  10. "Berry College Announces Naming/Funding of New Stadium and Track" (Press release). Berry College. October 25, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  11. "Berry College Moves Stadium Location Out of Respect for Bald Eagle Nest" (Press release). Berry College. May 28, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  12. "A place for us". Alumni Accent. Berry College. October 28, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  13. Freygan, Andrea (June 18, 2007). "Berry Elementary to celebrate 30 year". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  14. Report, From Staff (August 27, 2002). "Renovation complete of Berry's Cook Building". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  15. School website Archived March 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  16. Private School Review
  17. "Lights, action ... camera!". Rome News-Tribune. June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  18. "Our Rich History". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. "Berry College – Quick Facts". Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  20. "Familiar Places – Berry Alumni Accent". Berry College. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
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