Berry College

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Berry College
MottoNot to be Ministered Unto, but to Minister
Religious affiliation
Non-denominational Christian
Endowment$1.059 billion (2019)[1]
PresidentDr. Stephen R. Briggs
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural 27,000+ acres (105+ km²)
ColorsBlue and silver[2]
AthleticsNCAA Division III
MascotVictor the Viking

Berry College is a private liberal arts college located in the Mount Berry community adjacent to Rome, Georgia. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Berry College was founded on values based on Christian principles in 1902 by Martha Berry.

Location and campus[edit]

Berry College is situated near the city of Rome in northwestern Georgia, 59 miles (95 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia and 53 miles (85 km) south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.[3]

The Berry campus consists of more than 27,000 acres of land - including fields, forests, and Lavender Mountain - making it the largest contiguous college campus in the world.[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.[citation needed] In September 2011, Travel+Leisure ranked Berry 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[edit]

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 to Berry student use only. Berry offers an intramural program with men, women and co-educational play for many sports.

The reflecting pools located in front of the Ford Dining Hall
Mary Hall
The "Gate of Opportunity" is the main entrance to the college campus.

Student demographics[edit]

Berry College has a total of 1,943 undergraduate students for the 2019–2020 academic year. There are 91 graduate students. There is a 66:34 female to male ratio, and 69 percent of the students are in-state residents. Students come from 35 states and at least 18 foreign countries.[citation needed]


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. The student-faculty ratio at Berry College is 11:1, and the school has 58.9% of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and with 99.6% of its classes with fewer than 50 students. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 83%. U S News & World Report in its 2021 Best Colleges ranks Berry College #4 in Regional Universities South, #3 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #1 in Best Value Schools.[5]

Undergraduate programs[edit]

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.

Mirror Lake, located on the Mountain Campus of Berry College

Honors Program[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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."[6] 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.[7] 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.

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 women's basketball team won the AIAW Small College National Championship in 1976.[8]

In 2018 Elijah Hirsh in men's basketball broke the single-game record for blocks in Berry's NCAA DIII era with 10 blocks.[9][10] In 2019 he averaged 9.2 rebounds (leading the Southern Athletic Association), and was named SAA Player of the Year, SAA All-First Team, and National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District South First Team.[11][9][10][12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] Groundbreaking was held on October 17, 2014, and the stadium was completed for the 2015 football season.[17]

Southern Athletic Association[edit]

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 were affiliate SAA football members in 2015 and 2016. They have since been replaced by Austin College in Sherman, TX and Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, starting in 2017 as affiliate SAA football members.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[18] 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 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.[19] A series of reunion events were held for former students, parents, teachers and directors in 2007 for the thirty year anniversary.[18] The names of the schools were merged into one, Berry College Elementary and Middle School.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

Work program[edit]

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.[23] 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[edit]

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.[24] 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 settings for Ravenscar Asylum and John Constantine's hideout, respectively.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2018 to FY 2019". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "Berry College".
  3. ^ "#121 National Liberal Arts College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Archived from the original on 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  4. ^ a b ""America's Most Beautiful College Campuses", Travel+Leisure (September 2011)". Archived from the original on 2013-11-17. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  5. ^ "Berry College". U S News & World Report (2021). U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Berry College Mission and Purpose". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03.
  7. ^ "Chick Fil-A at college" Archived 2019-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Wall Street Journal
  8. ^ "Pre-NCAA Statistical Leaders and AIAW Results" (PDF). NCAA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 31 Oct 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Elijah Hirsh Player Profile, Berry College, NCAA Stats, Events Stats, Game Logs, Bests, Awards - RealGM".
  10. ^ a b "Elijah Hirsh - 2018-19 - Men's Basketball". Berry College.
  11. ^ "2018-19 SAA Men's Basketball Player of the Year Elijah Hirsh signs with Israel's Elitzur Kiryat Ata". Southern Athletic Association. July 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Hirsh Signs Pro Basketball Deal With Israel's Elitzur Kiryat Ata". July 2, 2019.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ Bridges, Zadie (12 December 2011). "Football not serious threat to Title IX". The Campus Carrier. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  15. ^ "Berry College Announces Naming/Funding of New Stadium and Track" (Press release). Berry College. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  16. ^ "Berry College Moves Stadium Location Out of Respect for Bald Eagle Nest" (Press release). Berry College. May 28, 2014. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "A place for us". Alumni Accent. Berry College. October 28, 2014. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Freygan, Andrea (June 18, 2007). "Berry Elementary to celebrate 30 year". Rome News-Tribune. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  19. ^ Report, From Staff (August 27, 2002). "Renovation complete of Berry's Cook Building". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  20. ^ "Berry College". Archived from the original on March 17, 2010.
  21. ^ "Lights, action ... camera!". Rome News-Tribune. June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  22. ^ "Private School Review". Archived from the original on 2015-10-18. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  23. ^ "Our Rich History". Archived from the original on 11 December 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Berry College – Quick Facts". Archived from the original on 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  25. ^ "Familiar Places – Berry Alumni Accent". Berry College. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Former Berry player signs with Israel pro team". Rome News-Tribune. July 5, 2019. Berry men’s basketball alumnus Elijah Hirsh signed a two-year deal with Israel’s Elitzur Kiryat Ata
  27. ^ "Berry College's Josh Hughes earns all-region status". Rome News-Tribune. December 11, 2013.
  28. ^ "Opportunities in Nuclear – Medical, Energy, and More". Today's Medical Developments. September 18, 2013. Dr. Heather Willauer is a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Willauer received her B.S in Chemistry from Berry College in 1996

External links[edit]