Weatherford Award Winners Named

The winners of this year’s Weatherford Awards for the best books about Appalachia are Appalachian Reckoning (non-fiction) edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, Forage by Rose McLarney (poetry), and Any Other Place (fiction) by Michael Croley. The Weatherford Awards honor books deemed as best illuminating the challenges, personalities and unique qualities of the Appalachian South. Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association for 50 years, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., Berea College’s sixth President. These winning authors will be recognized at the 2020 Appalachian Studies Conference in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, March 13. 

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Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep Recognized By DIVERSE as a 2020 Emerging Scholar

Nicholas Hartlep Portrait

Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep
(Photo: Jennifer Lance ’20)

Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep of Berea College’s education department has been named as a 2020 Emerging Scholar by DIVERSE, a national magazine focused on diverse issues in higher education. Hartlep, who is the Robert Charles Billings Chair in Education and chair of Berea College’s education studies department, is one of 15 minority scholars doing remarkable interdisciplinary work in the academic sphere. DIVERSE says the 2020 Emerging Scholars are recognized as academic leaders who represent the future of education. Read the full article in DIVERSE.

Samantha Shawn Earp Elected to Berea College Board of Trustees

Samantha Earp

Samantha Shawn Earp

Samantha Shawn Earp was elected to serve on the Berea College Board of Trustees for a six-year term.

Earp is vice president of information technology and chief information officer at Smith College, where her responsibilities include oversight of the college’s IT environment and management of the central IT organization. She also serves as a member of the president’s cabinet.

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Berea’s Westervelt Program Opens Spring Registration for Photography Course

Sarah Heggen

Sarah Heggen, owner of Light My Fire Photography, will instruct the Westervelt Program class focused on photography this spring.

The Berea College Technology and Applied Design department is accepting course registration for spring 2020 Westervelt Program classes, which will focus on photography. The class will begin Feb. 4, 2020, and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in room B10 of the Danforth Technology building.  The instructor will be Sarah Heggen.

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Artist Kiana Honarmand Exhibits Work Giving Insight to the Injustices Faced by Iranian Women

Growing up in Iran, I felt stuck between tradition and modernity, as did many other people in my generation.”- Kiana Honarmand, 2019

The Doris Ulmann Galleries has opened an exhibition featuring works by artist Kiana Honarmand on view now until Feb. 27, 2020. The exhibit, Across the Space Separating, consists of a selection of Honarmand’s works that discuss the juxtaposition of her Middle Eastern identity and her education in Western art. Honarmand uses this duality in her identity to discuss sociopolitical issues of modern Iran, like the violation of women’s rights, as well as the Western perception of the Middle East as a whole.

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Berea College Recognized as a Phi Kappa Phi Circle of Excellence Gold Chapter

Phi Kappa Phi LogoThe Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines—recently recognized the Berea College chapter of Phi Kappa Phi as a Circle of Excellence Gold Chapter, the second-highest commendation a chapter can receive from the organization. The award is given to chapters that exceed expectations in chapter operations and who demonstrate sustainability and vitality as a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

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Malaklou Appointed Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies

M. Shadee Malaklou

Dr. M. Shadee Malaklou, Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies

Dr. M. Shadee Malaklou, a critical race, gender and sexuality studies scholar, joined Berea College as chair and assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and director of the Women’s and Gender Non-Conforming Center in fall 2019. Malaklou earned her doctoral degree in Culture and Theory and graduate certificates in Critical Theory and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Irvine in June 2016. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Duke University in May 2007.

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Berea Recognized 80 Graduates During Mid-Year Ceremony

Commencement Crowd

President Lyle Roelofs addressing crowd of Berea college graduates at mid-year commencement.
(Photo: Jennifer Lance ’20)

Berea College’s Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates was held Sunday, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Jim Branscome, retired managing director for investment analysis of Standard & Poor’s (S&P), addressed the seniors who completed their degree requirements at the end of this term. The Berea College graduates represent 14 states and 10 other countries.

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Berea Certified as a Bee Campus USA Affiliate

Student beekeeper examining a honey super

Berea College is now certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program.

Long known as a leader in sustainability and stewardship of natural resources, Berea College is the 85th educational institution in the nation to achieve certification of its efforts in creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet.

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Two Alumni Awards Presented at Berea College Homecoming

Each year during Homecoming Bereans are recognized for their professional accomplishments, contributions to the community and commitments to the mission of Berea College. This year, Jim Gaines ’56 received the Distinguished Alumnus award and Sharyn Mitchel FD ’65 BC ’69 received the Rodney C. Bussey Award of Special Merit. Recipients were honored at the Alumni Awards Presentation and Reception at 6 p.m., Nov. 15 in the Boone Tavern Events Center. Continue reading Two Alumni Awards Presented at Berea College Homecoming

Hartlep Appointed Chair of Education Studies, Named the Robert Billings Chair in Education

Nicholas D. HartlepBerea College appointed Nicholas D. Hartlep as the chair of the department of education studies and named him as the Robert Billings Chair in Education.

Hartlep began his career as a first grade teacher in Rochester, Minnesota, before receiving a doctoral degree in urban education at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM). He also has a master’s degree in K–12 education and bachelor’s degree in elementary education, both conferred from Winona State University (WSU).

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Professor Birner Receives Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Dr. Susan BirnerDr. Suzanne Birner, assistant professor at Berea College, was awarded the Ralph Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Dr. Birner competed with 167 applicants, many from R1 institutions (doctoral universities with the highest level of research activity). The $5,000 grant award is matched by each applicant’s institution.

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Berea College Recognized for Outstanding Service to Environmental Education

Berea College forester speaking with visitors at the Forestry Outreach Center

Berea College Forester Clint Patterson speaking with visitors to the Forestry Outreach Center. (Photo: Moriah Avery ’21)

Berea College was recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) with the 2019 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization award for incorporating environmental education into its sustainability initiatives.

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NAACP Honors Berea College

NAACP Banquet Group

The Richmond-Madison County (Ky.) branch of the NAACP honored Berea College at the recent Freedom Fund Banquet.

The NAACP recognized Berea College because it was the first interracial and co-educational college in the South, and for its inclusive Christian character expressed in its motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”

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NPR Features Berea College’s No Tuition Policy and Labor Program

Draper Building

Berea College was the focus of a feature story by Jeff Tyler recently broadcast by National Public Radio. Tyler, a journalist for NPR’s Marketplace and All Things Considered, recently visited Berea’s campus to prepare the story that focused on how Berea College and Alice Lloyd College provide no-tuition enrollment for college students and offer examples other American colleges might follow.

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Dates Set for Annual Christmas Concert

Berea College ornament hanging from a Christmas tree

The annual Berea College Christmas Concert, co-sponsored by the College’s music department and the Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Campus Christian Center, will be held on two successive nights—Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7. Both performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Union Church.

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Berea College Featured in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition

Aerial view of Berea's campus in the summer

(Photo: Jay Buckner)

Berea College is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review, the education services company that just published the 2019 edition of its Guide to Green Colleges.

Known as a leader in turning the Bluegrass state “green,” Berea College is one of 413 schools profiled in the new guide.

The guide is based on a survey the company conducted in 2018–19 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The guide states, “Berea College is a model for sustainability in higher education for the Appalachian region and beyond.”

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CNN Features Berea as Counterpoint to American Admissions Scandals

Amid media coverage of the FBI’s “Varsity Blues” college scam cases, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria contrasted how Berea College offers “a high-quality education to economically-disadvantaged students in pursuit of their American dreams.”

A special CNN documentary that aired Sunday, October 20, examined how the college admissions process in America became so broken. Titled SCHEME and SCANDAL: Inside the College Admissions Crisis, the documentary investigated how some students and their high-profile celebrity parents have turned to criminal rigging of their applications in pursuit of entrance to the most in-demand colleges. The hour-long program also reported on lesser-known cases of cheating that did not make the headlines: paying bribes to coaches, admissions officers, and other school officials, hiring standardized test takers, obtaining false diagnoses to secure more time for testing, and more.

In contrast, Berea College was highlighted as an alternate model for access and affordability to quality higher education, especially for those who can least afford it. Students were interviewed and spoke about the opportunities Berea provides that they and their families could not otherwise afford. The program featured Berea’s distinctive no-tuition model and how the College’s endowment and contributions from alumni and other donors provides the capital to invest in lives of great promise.

The program will be rebroadcast on November 2, 2019. Check local listings for times in your area.

Hunger Hurts Food Drive to Support More Than 700 Families in Madison County

Hunger Hurts Food Drive Bags

Each year, teams of volunteers distribute grocery bags to the majority of households in the Berea community. Volunteers then gather on the following Saturday to collect filled bags, as well as to sort and shelve the food.

The annual Hunger Hurts Food Drive, coordinated by Berea College’s Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS), in collaboration with the Berea Faith Community Outreach, will run from Oct. 19 to 26.

Beginning Oct. 19, volunteers will distribute brown paper grocery bags, donated by Kroger, to local households. Community members can help by filling the bags with non-perishable food and toiletry items and placing them near their front door by 9 a.m. on Oct. 26, for volunteers to pick up.

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46th Celebration of Traditional Music at Berea College: October 10-14, 2019

Noted musician and songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler, a Berea College alumnus, “is bringin’ it home” at this year’s Celebration of Traditional Music (CTM) with tales of  ‘Memories Through Songs’ featuring traditional Appalachian folk music.

The festival’s opening event on Thursday, Oct. 10, will be the Stephenson Memorial Convocation Concert, headlined by Wheeler along with performances by Doug Orr of Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada and Whitewater Bluegrass Company from Ashville, North Carolina. The Convocation begins at 8 p.m., in Phelps Stokes Chapel on the Berea College campus.

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Berea’s Westervelt Program to Accept Fall Registrations

Person using a sander to create a bevel on a plank of wood

(Photo: Jon Kemp)

Beginning Sept. 10, the Berea College Technology and Applied Design Department will be accepting course registration for fall 2019 Westervelt Program classes, which will focus on woodworking. Class will begin Sept. 12 and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in room 103A of the Danforth Technology Building.  The instructor will be David Cooke.

The Westervelt program is offered each year to Berea townspeople as well as students, faculty and staff. The program provides excellent opportunities for individuals to develop a well-rounded educational background and pursue specific areas of interest. These courses are open to persons with woodworking experience ranging from novice to expert. Participants must be at least 18 years old to enroll in the Westervelt Program. Each participant is required to bring personal safety glasses/goggles and hearing protection for use with machinery.

There will be projects for the novice woodworker to select, including making wooden kitchen implements. More experienced woodworkers may propose an individual project to the instructor for approval.

The three individual session dates are:

  • Sept. 12 to Oct. 3
  • Oct. 8 to Oct. 29
  • Oct. 31 to Nov. 21

To register, please call Farrah Stamper at 859-985-3033 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is a $10 non-refundable registration fee for each block of classes. In addition, students will be responsible for any materials used.

Berea College Ranked No. 1 “Best Value College” by The Wall Street Journal/THE

A Berea College student reading the Wall Street Journal's article ranking Berea College Number 1Berea College tops the list of “Best Value Colleges” in the nation in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (THE) 2020 College Rankings. Looking at the top 250 schools overall, the rankings calculated which schools provide the best value by dividing each school’s overall score by its average net price according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. The average net price is the total cost of attending a school—including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other costs—minus federal or institutional financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Students who don’t receive any aid aren’t included in the calculation.

Berea’s no-tuition model contributed to its No. 1 best-value ranking. The College ranked No. 155 overall.

“We are thrilled to be ranked at the top of this impressive list of colleges and universities and are proud to be leading a cohort of schools that are committed to the important American ideal of social mobility through educational opportunity,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “Our no-tuition policy allows us to provide talented students who might not otherwise be able to afford access to a high-quality liberal arts education and transformative experiences and enables them to graduate with little or no debt.”

Following Berea on the list are three schools in the City University of New York (CUNY) system: CUNY City College of New York, CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College and CUNY Hunter College. The University of Washington-Seattle rounds out the top five.

Eight of the top 10 best-value colleges in this year’s Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings are public schools whose financial resources are constrained by government budgets.

Read the Wall Street Journal article (pdf) and watch this segment from Spectrum News 1 about our ranking.

Berea College Cited as Top Performer in Sustainability

Cover image for the AASHE Sustainable Campus IndexBerea College gained the No. 1 spot in the nation for Campus Engagement in the newly released 2019 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) reporting system. Berea, long-known for a strong commitment to sustainability, was recognized with a perfect score for campus engagement. Since 2017, Berea College has had a “gold” STARS rating.

The newly-released SCI report also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent calendar year. The institutions and initiatives featured in this year’s SCI showcase the great work higher education institutions are doing to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Berea College is a leader in “turning the blue grass state green,” achieving many sustainability “firsts.” Berea College had both the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in Kentucky (Lincoln Hall, the College’s administration building) and the first LEED-certified hotel (Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant). Berea’s campus also is home to several LEED-certified residence halls and the newly-built Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (MAC), which was awarded LEED gold certification and full-project certification by the Forest Stewardship Council. Berea College is also home of the first Ecovillage in the commonwealth.Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess and recognize buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance, LEED promotes environmentally- and socially-responsible construction and operation of green buildings in order to improve quality of life.

Facade of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building

Washington Monthly Ranks Berea No. 1 as Best Bang for the Buck and No. 4 Best Liberal Arts College

2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings magazine coverWashington Monthly ranked Berea College No. 1 as the Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the South. No other college in Kentucky was in the top 25. Berea also was named the nation’s No. 4 top liberal arts college in the 2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings guide. The recognition for Berea comes from its success in educating and graduating academically talented, low-income students who become service-oriented leaders in their professions and communities.

In announcing the rankings, Washington Monthly author Robert Kelchen noted that there is “growing public attention paid to colleges’ roles in fostering upward social mobility among their students. This is our eighth year of producing a ranking of ‘best bang for the buck’ colleges, which is laser focused on showing which colleges do a good job promoting social mobility—and which don’t.”

Kelchen noted that Berea held the top spot again this year due to the College’s “economic diversity, relatively strong graduation rates and commitment to meeting students’ financial need.”

Washington Monthly’s rankings focus on what colleges are doing for the good of the country at large by the way they educate their students. The publication measures schools’ success in three key areas—social mobility (admitting and graduating low-income students), research and Ph.D. production and community service—to determine the rankings.

“We find such recognition for Berea’s success in serving students who might otherwise not be able to attend college most gratifying, especially since the criteria for Washington Monthly rankings aligns with Berea’s mission,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “The economic data and peer surveys that other publications use for their rankings typically favor wealthy, elite colleges. By contrast the Washington Monthly criteria recognizes the value of social mobility, transformative education and service, which are consistent with our ‘Great Commitments’ that inform Berea’s work and inspire support from donors.”

Berea’s distinctive mission is serving low-income students. Between 80 and 90 percent of Berea students receive federal Pell grants and annual household of students’ families is about $29,000. The national graduation rates for that demographic averages only in the mid-teens. By contrast, about two-thirds of Berea’s students graduate on time and a healthy number go on to earn doctoral and other advanced degrees.

The Washington Monthly College Rankings and guide appear online here.

Berea College Welcomes Public to 2019 Opening Convocation

Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College

Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College

The public is invited to join the entire Berea College community in marking the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year at the College’s Opening Convocation on Thursday, August 29, 2019, at 3 p.m. in the Seabury Center. The program is free.

The theme for this year’s opening convocation will be Berea Stories.

“Berea consists of 1,600 great stories, stories of challenge, accomplishment and triumph,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “Every Berea student has a compelling story, as do all other Bereans— faculty, staff, alumni and retirees—who together constitute our wonderful community. Opening Convocation 2019 is a celebration of all those stories and how they connect and reinforce one another.”

This Opening Convocation will feature remarks by President Roelofs and representatives from the College community—including student, faculty, staff, alumni and retiree speakers—who will briefly share their own Berea stories. Special music will be performed by Berea College students and faculty.

This annual event opens the College’s year-long convocation series of lectures, symposia, concerts and performing arts productions. The series includes the Stephenson Memorial Concerts and offers outstanding scholars, artists and leaders that enhance the intellectual, aesthetic and religious life, and make important contributions to students’ educational experience at Berea College. View the schedule of all convocations this academic year. All convocations are free and open to the public.