Le Vent Du Nord Brings Quebec Celtic Folk Experience to Berea College


Le Vent Du NordLe Vent Du Nord will perform the Quebec Celtic Folk Experience as part of the Stephenson Memorial Concert Series Thursday, April 12, at 8 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.

Le Vent Du Nord is an award winning and highly acclaimed band in Quebec’s progressive francophone folk movement. The group draws from both traditional sources and original compositions as it continues to heighten its soulful music, rooted within the Celtic Diaspora and many other global influences. This group rocketed to success, performing more than 1,800 concerts in five continents. The band consists of singers and multi-instrumentalists including Nicolas Boulerice, Simon Beaudry, Olivier Demers, Rejean Brunet and Andre Brunet, who demonstrate the ability to retain tradition while implementing a unique style.

Convocation events, provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. This is the final convocation for the spring semester.

For more information on Le Vent Du Nord, please visit their website here.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Convocation, folk music, Le Vent Du Nord

Dr. Jill Biden to Speak at Rural College Access and Success Summit


Dr. Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden (Photo: Ece Ogulturk)

Partners for Education at Berea College will host the 2018 Rural College Access and Success Summit. The keynote speaker, Dr. Jill Biden, EdD, Board Chair of Save the Children US, will address the need to prepare students of all ages for academic and life success.

The Summit will bring together educators, legislators, non-profit leaders and many others to share ideas and strategies for ensuring that rural youth have the resources to successfully transition from high school to college and career. During the Summit, participants will explore best practices and highlight the unique opportunities to be found in rural America. The event will be held May 13-15 in Lexington, Kentucky.

A lifelong educator, Dr. Biden served as Second Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2016, but her real passion has always been teaching. Biden often says, being a teacher isn’t just what she does — it’s who she is, which is why she spent over three decades teaching in community colleges, high schools and a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.

As Second Lady, she worked to underscore the critical role of community colleges in creating the best, most educated workforce in the world. She hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges and led the Community College to Career Tour across the country to highlight industry partnerships between community colleges and employers. Today, she continues to teach at a community college in Northern Virginia and is the honorary chair of the College Promise National Advisory Board, leading the effort to make community colleges free for responsible students.

Along with her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, she leads the Biden Cancer Initiative to spur cancer research and deliver better patient outcomes and the Biden Foundation, which works to strengthen the middle class, protect women and children against violence, ensure LGBTQ equality, support military families and advocate for community colleges.

Registration information can be found here.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Dr. Jill Biden, Jill Biden, Partners for Education, Rural College Access and Success Summit, Second Lady

“Three Women” to Discuss being African-American and Growing up in Appalachia


Three Berea Women—Monica Jones, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, and Crystal Wilkinson—will be the featured speakers at the Berea College Appalachian Lecture on Thursday Apr. 5 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. This roundtable discussion will focus on what it was like being African American and growing up in Appalachia.

Jones currently serves as the director of the Black Cultural Center in the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. A Zanesville, Ohio native and graduate from Ohio State University, Jones is no stranger to being the only African American in a room. She has used it as a way to stand out and excel in everything she sets her mind to.

Turley, a noted author and scholar from Powell County, Ky., is the director of the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. Since 2012, she has served Berea College as an associate professor of African and African-American Studies. Turley earned a BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Georgetown University, where she graduated with honors, and an MPA in Public Policy Administration from Mississippi State University. She earned an MA and Ph. D. in History from the University of Kentucky.

Wilkinson, an award winning author, has been the Appalachian Writer-In-Residence at Berea College since 2014. A Kentucky native raised in Casey County, Wilkinson emanates what is means to be an African-American woman who celebrates her Appalachian roots. She is noted for her ability to inspire and teach writers about the Appalachian area. Wilkinson has won numerous awards for her non-fiction novels and her poetry. Her book, The Birds of Opulence, won the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award in Literary Excellence.

The roundtable discussion at this convocation will be bring light to what it is like to be an African American, Appalachian woman. This group of accomplished women will discuss barriers they faced and how they were able to push through and embrace all sides of their culture.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Appalachia, Black Cultural Center, Carter G. Woodson Center, Crystal Wilkinson, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Monica Jones

Exhibiting Art and Community Service


Dr. Valeria Watkins Feminist Artist Exhibit

Dr. Valeria Watkins showcasing some of her work at the “Engaging Communities to Impact Social Justice” art exhibition.

An art exhibition, on display at the Hutchins Library through the remainder of March, features the work of the Feminist Artists of Kentucky. The exhibition, “Engaging Communities to Impact Social Justice,” includes works of six Berea artists, Trish Ayers, Pat Cheshire Jennings, Jackie Pullum, Mary Ann Shupe, Patricia Watkins and Valeria Watkins.

The artists were at the opening event on March 16 to talk with students, faculty and community members about their inspiration, motivation, and the people who benefit from the sales of their artworks. Proceeds are designated each year to support local causes such as a spay/neuter program and international projects. After a trip to Ghana, a member of the group suggested they raise funds to cover the expense of installing a roof at a village school and community center there, which they did. They also have raised funds to provide school uniforms by using Ghanaian textiles to make decorative fabric covers for composition books and journals.

The artists use a wide range of materials for their works, including acrylic and watercolor paints, three-dimensional fabric creations, mixed media, fibers, and quilted designs. Their work has included decorative art as well as utilitarian art, such as the colorful aprons they make and sell to support their projects.

Members of the Feminist Artists of Kentucky were recently interviewed about their work by KET-TV for a segment on Kentucky Life, which will be broadcast May 5 at 8 p.m.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Art Department, Feminist Artist of Kentucky, Hutchins Library, Jackie Pullum, Mary Ann Shupe, Pat Cheshire Jennings, Patricia Watkins, Trish Ayers, Valeria Watkins

Weatherford Awards for Best Appalachian Books Announced


Winners of the Weatherford Awards for the best books about Appalachia in 2017 are The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash (fiction), Palindrome by Pauletta Hansel (poetry), and James Still: A Life by Carol Boggess (nonfiction).

The Weatherford Awards honor books that best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South. Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association for 47 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., who was Berea College’s sixth president (1967-84).

These winning authors will be recognized at the 2018 Appalachian Studies Conference at the Millennium Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 6.

Fiction Award

Set in North Carolina, Wiley Cash’s historical novel The Last Ballad re-examines the tragic events of a 1929 textile union strike. The book is published by HarperCollins press.

Cash lives with his wife and two young daughters in Wilmington, North Carolina. He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program. He is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels A Land More Kind Than Home (2012) and This Dark Road to Mercy (2014).

One judge says The Last Ballad “not only reclaims a nearly forgotten piece of Appalachian history, it explores serious social issues that still plague the country: racism, sexism, capitalism and the exploitation of people and resources; the gap between rich and poor; the loss of innocence; greed; the politics of oppression and more.” Another judge praises how the “relationship between Ella May and Violet opens readers’ eyes to the possibility of relationships that have often been ignored in Appalachian literature.”

The finalists for this award were Jim Minick’s Fire is Your Water from Ohio University’s Swallow Press, Sheryl Monks’ Monsters in Appalachia from West Virginia University Press, and Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators from Random House Press.

Poetry Award

Palindrome, Pauletta Hansel’s sixth poetry collection, follows the title’s vision by balancing her experience as a daughter while being a caregiver to her mother who is suffering dementia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a palindrome is “a word or a sequence of words that reads, letter for letter, the same backwards as forwards.”

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memoirist and teacher who resides in Paddock Hills in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband. She is Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate, leading writing workshops and retreats in the greater Cincinnati area and beyond. Hansel serves as managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel and is a core member of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition.

A judge said Hansel’s collection of poetry “is a meditation not only on what it means to lose a parent to dementia, but it makes new the meaning of the word palindrome as it journeys back into memory then forward into a diminishing present, seeking all the while a point in time where we can be still, with reverence for those we love most.” Judges also praised Hansel’s collection for being “very compelling” and using “form and music and image so well.”

The finalists for this award were Rebecca Gayle Howell’s American Purgatory from Eyewear Publishing, and Ron Houchin’s Planet of the Best Love Songs from Salmon Poetry.

Nonfiction Award

James Still, one of the most beloved and important writers in Appalachian literature, is most easily recognized by his seminal novel River of Earth. Carol Boggess writes the definitive biography of Still in James Still: A Life, published by the University Press of Kentucky.

Deemed by one judge as “a major addition to the Appalachian literary canon,” others describe it as “everything a biography should be: very well written, meticulously researched and highly engaging.” Boggess “skillfully hints at how [James Still’s] experiences, including a continual and increasing reaching out to distant lands with their own mysteries of people and place, and reaching back to childhood memories of family-linked locales such as Texas, shaped the search for self in his evocative poetry and prose, including his posthumously-published work.”

Boggess lives on her family farm in Yancey County, North Carolina. She serves as the president of the Appalachian Studies Association and professor emerita of English at Mars Hill University. In 1995, Boggess wrote her dissertation on Still’s River of Earth, leading to a long term interest in the author. She also serves as a member of the North Carolina Humanities Council.

The finalists for this award were: Olive Dame Campbell’s The Life and Work of John C. Campbell (edited by Elizabeth McCutchen) from the University Press of Kentucky, Ron Lewis’s The Industrialist and the Mountaineer: The Eastham-Thompson Feud and the Struggle for West Virginia’s Timber Frontier from West Virginia University Press, and Carter Taylor Seaton’s The Rebel in the Red Jeep: Ken Hechler’s Life in West Virginia Politics from West Virginia University Press.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Appalachia, Carol Boggess, Literature, Pauletta Hansel, Weatherford Awards, Wiley Cash

Berea College Professor Publishes Book Exploring New Facet of African American History


Dwayne Mack

Dr. Dwayne Mack, Carter G. Woodson chair in African American History

Dwayne A. Mack, the Carter G. Woodson chair in African American History at Berea College, has collaborated on a newly published book Freedom’s Racial Frontier: African Americans in the Twentieth-Century West along with Herbert G. Ruffin II.

Between 1940 and 2010, the black population of the American West grew from 710,400 to 7 million. That growth has prompted a burgeoning interest in the history of the African American West—reflected in the remarkable range and depth of the works collected in Freedom’s Racial Frontier. Editors Ruffin  and Mack have gathered established and emerging scholars in the field to create an anthology linking past, current and future generations of African American West scholarship.

Freedom's Racial Frontier Book Cover

Front cover for “Freedom’s Racial Frontier: African Americans in the Twentieth-Century West”

The West as revealed in Freedom’s Racial Frontier is a place where black Americans have fought—and continue to fight—to make their idea of freedom live up to their expectations of equality; a place where freedom is still a frontier for most persons of African heritage. The book is published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Ruffin is an associate professor of History and chair of African American Studies at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, and author of Uninvited Neighbors: African Americans in Silicon Valley, 1769–1990.

Mack is a professor of History at Berea College, author of numerous articles on African American history, and co-editor of Beginning a Career in Academia: A Guide for Graduate Students of Color.

Categories: News, People
Tags: African and African American Studies Department, Dwayne Mack, faculty, History Department, Literature

Berea College Service Award Recipient and Speaker to be Celebrated at Annual Service Convocation


The 2018 Berea College Service Award will be presented to alumna Geraldine “Jeri” Baker on Thursday, March 22 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel, during the annual Berea College Service Convocation. The Berea College Service Award honors persons who exemplify Berea’s Great Commitments in their daily lives and service to humanity. The award honors practical service by persons in all walks of life.

Baker graduated from Berea College in 1962 and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in human services from George Washington University. Her career as a social worker spanned more than 30 years and focused on advocacy for children. In her retirement, she has collaborated with residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where she started a non-profit organization called One Spirit. The organization’s programs address hunger and other basic human needs, and it promote Lakota cultural initiatives that honor traditions and develop opportunities for Lakota youth.

The annual service convocation address, titled, “Building Bridges to a Hunger-Free World” will be delivered by Shannon Maynard, executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center since 2015. Prior to working at CHC, Maynard served as chief talent and knowledge officer at Grameen Foundation, a global poverty-alleviation organization, and as the executive director of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation during the George W. Bush administration. Maynard now works on understanding the root causes of hunger and finding solutions to food insecurity, both domestically and globally. Her convocation address will include a focus on empowering individuals to become involved in community-based solutions in the fight against hunger.

Categories: News, People
Tags: alumni, Berea College Service Award, Convocation, Geraldine "Jeri" Baker, Service Convocation

Berea College Student Wins Prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship


Sunaina Sherchan

Sunaina Sherchan, winner of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2018-2019

The Center for International Education is proud to announce that Berea College nominee Sunaina Sherchan won the national competition for the 2018-2019 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. The Watson includes a cash prize of $30,000 to provide a year of international discovery for select graduating college seniors in many disciplines.

Sherchan’s project, “Exploring Identity Through Folktales,” will include travel to Japan, New Zealand and Finland.

Sherchan explains that folktales provide a window into the past and examine the cultural and moral reasons behind a community’s beliefs. Her Watson year will explore the relationship between folktales and identity formation in Japanese, Maori and Sami communities. Documenting traditional storytelling practices, Sherchan will seek to understand how these communities preserve their cultural and ethnic identities, and where their commonalities and differences lie.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” Sherchan said after learning she had won a Watson Fellowship, “but I am so thankful to all the people who helped and supported me on my Watson application and interview. I can’t wait to begin my Watson journey!”

Berea College is the only school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky from which The Watson Fellowship accepts candidates. This year, which marks the 50th Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows, includes student winners from eight countries and 17 states who will travel to 67 countries exploring topics ranging from foster care to opera; from the Cambrian Explosion to human augmentation; from threatened big cat species to spoken word.

“This year we celebrate a half century of investing in remarkable students and the vivid value that has been provided by the program over five decades,” said Chris Kasabach, executive director of the Watson Foundation. “Watson Fellows have gone on to argue America’s most influential education legislation before the US Supreme Court, reinvent affordable housing, journalism, Broadway, contemporary music, computing and data science, and change how we think about the earth’s formation. The importance of investing in young leaders has only grown over the last 50 years and we are thrilled by the aspirations, courage and creativity of this landmark class.”

Watson awardees come from private colleges and universities across the United States. From the program’s 40 partner institutions, 152 finalists were nominated to compete on the national level from which 40 Fellows were selected. Fellows use their cash award for 12 months of travel and college loan assistance as needed.

About the Watson Foundation

In 1961, the Watson Foundation was created as a charitable trust in the name Thomas J. Watson Sr., best known for building IBM. Through one-of-a-kind programs, and more than 100 global partnerships, the Foundation provides students with personal, professional and cultural opportunities that expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and build their confidence and perspective do so for others.

About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Nearly 3,000 Watson Fellows have been named since the inaugural class went abroad in 1969. A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project that is cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become global leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations; college presidents; Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award winners; Pulitzer Prize awardees; artists; diplomats; doctors; faculty; journalists; lawyers; politicians; researchers; and inspiring influencers around the world.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Students, Sunaina Sherchan, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Book Talk on Police and Minorities, Community Welcome


Law Enforcement in the age of Black Lives Matter posterThe Carter G. Woodson Center is hosting a book talk with faculty members on “Violence Against Black Bodies,” Wednesday March 14 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Panelists in this community discussion will include Sandra Weissinger, Elwood Watson and Dwayne Mack. Lunch will be provided. Another session, “Policing Black and Brown Bodies,” will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. with panelists, Sandra Weissinger, Elwood Watson, Tyler Sergent, Dee Hill-Zuganelli and Dwayne Mack. Weissinger and Mack edited the book.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Carter G. Woodson Center, Dee Hill-Zuganelli, Dwayne Mack, Elwood Watson, Policing Black and Brown Bodies, Sandra Weissinger, Tyler Sergent, Violence Against Black Bodies

Berea College Student Honored as 2018 Newman Civic Fellow


Hunter MaloneBerea College student Hunter Malone has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based, non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Malone, a junior sociology major with a history minor, is one of 268 students from colleges all across America who will make up the organization’s 2018 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.

“Hunter is a creative and collaborative student leader who is actively involved in mentoring and training others,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “He is also committed to developing opportunities for others to learn and take action on the issues that are important to them. Hunter is particularly interested in exploring intersections of human rights and social issues.”

Malone has worked for three years in Berea College’s Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS). Currently, he trains and supervises first-year students who have committed to making service and civic engagement an integral part of their college careers, too. He has developed trainings about diversity for other student civic engagement leaders and provided leadership for a large-scale refugee simulation on campus.

“Although I was involved in service work prior to coming to Berea College, it wasn’t until then that I began to fully understand why I served,” Malone said. “Serving others opens my mind to think critically about policies and the people that are affected. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to serve my community through being involved with training first-year college students to engage with the community and serve in the areas they feel called. It is my belief that everyone has something to offer.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate and engage with such an extraordinary group of students,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are bringing people together in their communities to solve pressing problems. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it’s what our country and our world desperately need.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Categories: News, People
Tags: CELTS, Hunter Malone, Newman civic fellowship, Students

Brian Owens to Sing The Soul of Ferguson


Brian OwensSoul singer Brian Owens will perform “The Soul of Ferguson” at the Berea College convocation on Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. This event is a part of the Stephenson Memorial Concert Series.

Owens performs soulful, jazzy pieces while conjuring up the spirits of such Motown legends as Marvin Gaye and the Temptations. Growing up as a preacher’s kid in Ferguson, Missouri, Owens was no stranger to the beauty of music. His songs encapsulate his shared love of soul music and humanity. Owens uses his music to engage in conversation with his listeners, build community and share a powerful message about his hometown of Ferguson.

Rolling Stone magazine hailed Owens as a “vibrant soul singer,” who “bridges a racial and generational divide.” People are intrigued when they discover that he was inspired by well-known country artist, Johnny Cash, even though Owens’ genre focuses on soul and Rhythm & Blues. His music is able to bridge the gap between genres, while still allowing his personal style to shine through.

The Stephenson Memorial Concert Series was established in 1987 by the late Louis B. Stephenson Jr. and Edna M. Stephenson in memory of their daughter, Nancy Anne, a pianist who died early, and later, their son, John B. Stephenson, president of Berea College, 1984 to 1994. The programs reflect the interests of Nancy Anne, with the piano as a solo and ensemble instrument, and of John, in traditional world and ethnic music and dance that foster an understanding of diverse cultural traditions, in contemporary themes.

Convocation events, provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. Visit the Convocations website for the schedule of all convocations this academic year.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Brian Owens, Convocation, Event, music, Stephenson Memorial Concert

Reynolds Named Dean of the Chapel at Berea College


Loretta ReynoldsDr. Loretta Reynolds has been appointed as Dean of the Chapel at Berea College.

Reverend Reynolds’ experience in the work and mission of Berea College began in 1998. Since then, she has served as Title IX coordinator, a member of the Residence Life Team, a professor in General Studies and, most recently, as senior College chaplain and interim director of the Campus Christian Center. Reynolds is trained in first responder emergency pastoral care and in brief pastoral counseling, and she is also a Berea College Green Dot trainer.

“Reynolds has become a spiritual leader and a key pillar of our community in her 20 years of service at Berea College,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “Under her leadership, the Student Chaplain program has made great strides in serving students and our community. Loretta, as we all know her, is widely appreciated for all she has done in emergency response and pastoral care in our community.”

Reynolds has earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi; a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Theological Seminary; a Master of Theology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia. Her professional experience includes work with youth and young adults in Zambia, the British Virgin Islands, California and Botswana. She has worked as a hospital chaplain in Louisville; a case worker at various shelters in Louisville; as pastor; administrator for various international programs in Switzerland; professor of homiletics in Australia; homiletics supervisor at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary; and Dean of Whitley College, Melbourne, Australia. Reynolds has been a member of the Homiletics Academy and has served as executive officer, vice-president and president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains.

After the tragic vehicle accidents last fall that killed three Berea College students and injured one other, Reynolds was a key member of the team that worked so hard to uphold the community and to support the families in their grievous loss.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Campus Christian Center, Dean of the Chapel, Loretta Reynolds, Staff

Raj Patel to Speak on the World That Food Made


Raj PatelRaj Patel will speak about “The World That Food Made” at the Berea College convocation on Thursday, March 1 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. During the convocation, Patel will discuss the 15th century origins of how we feed the world and suggest a hopeful vision for re-imagining the way food is grown. The convocation is co-sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology departments.

An activist, academic and award-winning writer with degrees from Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, Patel is a research professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a senior research associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa.

Patel has numerous scholarly publications in economics, philosophy, politics and public health journals. He was an advisor to Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the Right to Food.. Patel taught alongside Michael Pollan at UC Berkeley in the 2014 Edible Education class. Patel regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to highly-ranked magazines such as the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Times of India and more.

The convocation events, which are provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. Visit the Convocations website for the schedule of all convocations this academic year. All convocations are free and open to the public.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: agriculture, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Convocation, Event, Raj Patel

Berea College Hosting Annual Festival of Spirituals Workshop and Concert February 24


Berea College’s annual Festival of Spirituals will be Saturday, Feb. 24 in Gray Auditorium at Presser Hall. The all-day event includes a combination of free workshops, recitals and concerts featuring presentations and performances led by members of the Berea College Music Department faculty and guest artists including Diane White-Clayton, Patrice Turner, Shareese Arnold, Nyghél Byrd, Lindsay Clavere, Gabriel Evans and James Dreiling and Combo.

Activities begin at 9 a.m. in Presser Hall Music Building on Berea’s campus, with sessions on spirituals and African American composers.

At noon, a recital of spirituals and African American art songs by African-American composers will be performed by Berea College music faculty members and guest artists. The recital will feature works by Dr. Diane White-Clayton.

Festival of Spirituals 2017

A Choral Workshop and Festival Chorus will take place from 2-5:30 p.m. at Union Church. These choral sessions are open to all. The workshop participants, expected to number approximately 200 people, will learn selected songs that will be performed as the culmination of the evening concert to be sung as a Festival Chorus.

The Evening Concert will begin at 7 p.m. at Union Church, which is adjacent to the Berea College campus. Performers will Include choruses from regional schools and churches as well as guest artists.

The Festival of Spirituals is open to the public, so everyone is welcome to attend all sessions and concerts and to participate in the Festival chorus.

For more information, please contact 859-985-3466 or visit the Music Department’s website.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Diane White-Clayton, Event, Festival of Spirituals, Gabriel Evans, James Dreiling, Lindsay Clavere, Music Department, Nyghél Byrd, Patrice Turner, Shares Arnold

Dr. Jafar Mallahati to Discuss Friendship among Religions at Berea College Robbins Peace Lecture


Jafar Mahallati

Dr. Jafar Mallahati will speak about “Friendship Among Religions and in World Politics:  How Religions Can Help Expand Apology and Forgiveness,” at the Berea College Robbins Peace Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.

Mallahati is the presidential scholar in Islamic Studies at Oberlin College where he also holds the Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in Middle East and North African Studies. Mallahati received a BA in Economics from the National University in Tehran, Iran; a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas; an MS in Political Economy from the University of Oregon; and a Ph. D. from McGill University. For two years Mallahati served as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations where he worked to end the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, gaining experience in conflict resolution and international relations.

He has served as senior scholar and affiliate with several academic and religious institutions focused on international relations, including the Middle East Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Affairs, and Search for Common Ground (all in Washington D.C.) and has taught graduate courses at Colombia, Princeton, Yale and Georgetown.

This Robbins Peace Lecture is sponsored by the Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Campus Christian Center as part of the annual Robbins Peace Emphasis each year. The Earl G. and Sue D. Robbins Peace Lecture occurs in the Berea College Convocation Series. Former Berea College student Earl G. Robbins established this lectureship on peace in 1988, stating that at Berea College, he had learned “what is important in life,” the true humanity “of all of us.” Robbins intentionally instituted this program with a connection to the Campus Christian Center because of his experience as a student.

“While I was a student at Berea, the Chapel programs were the most stimulating, ideal-building facets of the entire educational program,” Robbins said.

The convocation events, which are provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. Visit the Convocations website for the schedule of all convocations this academic year.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Campus Christian Center, Convocation, Jafar Mallahati, religion

South African Couple to Serve as Guest Faculty at Berea College


Dr. Elna Boesak and Dr. Allan BoesakDr. Elna Boesak and Dr. Allan Boesak will join Berea College as guest faculty during most of the Spring 2018 term.

The Boesaks, who are from South Africa, were introduced to Berea by Archbishop Desmond Tutu—who received an honorary degree from Berea in 2005—and by a former trustee.

Dr. Allan Boesak recently completed a five-year appointment as chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice Center at Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. A fervent advocate for direct, non-violent action, Dr. Boesak completed his doctorate in theology at the Protestant Theological University in the Netherlands and held positions in the South African Council of Churches where he worked closely with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He completed a degree at the Dutch Reformed Mission Church Theological Seminary at the University of the Western Cape and a doctorate in theology at the Protestant Theological University in the Netherlands. He will be teaching a course on peace and social justice in Berea’s Religion Department.

Dr. Elna Boesak’s career spans three decades in print, radio and television journalism in South Africa, working as a producer, television reporter and anchor. Her work put her front and center in some of South Africa’s most turbulent transitions from apartheid to democracy. She was the first journalist to conduct a live interview with former South African President F. W. de Klerk immediately after the last raced-based general election in South Africa in 1989. Since 2003, she has been an independent journalist, producer and communication strategist working in leadership development and coaching programs, especially focused on youth, media ethics and responsible citizenship. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pretoria and a Ph.D. in Gender and Religion from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She will be teaching courses in Berea’s Communication Department.

The Boesaks will present “Oppression, Resistance, Liberation—Two Journeys, One Path” at a public event on Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. at Union Church. A reception following their remarks will be held in the church’s Community Room.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Communication Department, Dr. Allan Boesak, Dr. Elna Boesak, faculty, Peace and Social Justice Department, Religion Department

Dr. Pamela Ronald to Discuss Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food at Berea College Science Lecture


Dr. Pamela RonaldDr. Pamela Ronald will be the featured speaker at the Berea College Science Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Ronald’s presentation will explain how integrated approaches are needed to enhance sustainable agriculture. The lecture is co-sponsored with the Agriculture & Natural Resources Department.

Ronald, a plant pathologist and geneticist, specializes in cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and genomics. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California, Berkeley. Ronald has received many accolades from her research and ground-breaking discoveries, including the Honorary Scientist at the National Institute of Ag Biotechnology, Korea; John Simon Guggenheim Fellow; 2008 USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award; and the 2012 Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award.

Currently a notable professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at UC Davis, Ronald and her collaborators engineered rice that is able to resist diseases and withstand floods. This new discovery can be used to solve the problems associated with floods within less-developed countries. Although her research is controversial because of the use of genetic engineering, Ronald advocates the benefits of genetic engineering in solving serious problems.

Convocation events, provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. Visit the Convocations site for the full schedule of all events this academic year.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, biology, Convocation, Dr. Pamela Ronald

Dr. Kennaria Brown Recognized for Work in Police Diversity Training


Work featured in national magazine

Kennaria Brown“Empathetic, strong and fearless” were some of the words describing Dr. Kennaria Brown, associate professor of Communication at Berea College, in a feature article by Rachel James Clevenger published in the January issue of Private University Products and News Magazine.

For the past five years, Brown has assisted Berea City Police Chief David Gregory in diversity training to improve community and police communications, particularly related to cultural, racial and social differences. Brown is adamant that the Berea police officers were “not reflective” of what was happening across the nation, such as in Ferguson, Missouri.

This past year, Brown included two of her students in the diversity training project though Berea College’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects program, a summer mentor-apprentice program designed to enhance student learning through collaborative, challenging, directed programs with a faculty member.

Chief Gregory appreciates Brown’s passionate and professional approach.

“Brown is special, one of the best educators [I have] met in more than 20 years of policing,” he said. “Dr. Brown is great at communicating and worked a lot of hours in making her police department one that believes in respect and understanding its community.”

View the full article here.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Communication Department, Community, diversity, Dr. Kennaria Brown, Police

Dr. Ricky L. Jones to speak at the Carter G. Woodson Memorial


In this place, at this time: The Mission of Education in 21st Century America

Ricky L. Jones

The Carter G. Woodson Memorial Convocation will feature Dr. Ricky L. Jones on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m., in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Jones will discuss the mission of education in the 21st century, exploring how education can be used to reinforce or resist social and political marginalization in post-modern America.

Jones is a graduate from the University of Kentucky and the second African American to earn his Ph. D. in political science, specializing in political philosophy and comparative politics. Currently the chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, Jones hosts the award-winning “Ricky Jones Show” on 93.1 FM in Louisville. Jones also is the author of two editions of Black Haze: Violence, Sacrifice and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities and What’s Wrong with Obamamania?: Black America, Black Leadership and the Death of Political Imagination.

Jones is a prominent scholar whose work focuses primarily on American race, politics, leadership and male identity. He is a contributing columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal as well as the Louisville Eccentric Observer.

Convocation events, which are provided free to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. Visit www.berea.edu/convocations/ for the schedule of all convocations this academic year.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Convocation, diversity, education, Ricky L. Jones

Berea College President Featured in University Business Magazine


President Lyle Roelofs running with studentsThe January issue of University Business magazine features a recent interview with Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. Matt Zalaznick’s article highlights Berea’s mission and legacy of interracial and coeducation for low-income students. Roelofs also discusses the challenge of maintaining Berea’s no-tuition policy in today’s economic climate, the College’s response to external social pressures and Berea’s distinctive Labor Program.

To get a more personal glimpse of President Roelofs, read Zalaznick’s article on the president’s interests and hobbies.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Economy, Lyle Roelofs, Mission

bell hooks to be Inducted Into Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame


bell hooks speakingBerea author, feminist and social activist, bell hooks, is one of four writers to be inducted into the 2018 Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame on Jan. 31 at the Lexington Carnegie Center.

“bell hooks is one of the most influential cultural critics of our time,” said Neil Chethik, executive director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. “She has built a worldwide readership over 40 years with unique insights on such topics as love, race and power.”

hooks, who is the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, is being inducted along with three posthumous awardees—John Fox Jr., Annie Fellows Johnston and Walter Tevis. The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was created to recognize Kentucky writers whose work reflects the character and culture of our commonwealth and to educate Kentuckians about the state’s rich literary heritage. To be eligible for induction, an individual must be a published author whose writing is of enduring stature and who is connected in a significant way to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

hooks will speak at the ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at the Carnegie Center, 251 West Second Street, Lexington, Ky. Berea College alumnus Sam Gleaves, an Appalachian singer and multi-instrumentalist, will perform. The event will be recorded by KET-TV for broadcast at a later date.

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning empowers people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts. The Carnegie Center is a family learning and literary arts center devoted to helping all people improve their quality of life. Its open-door policy invites people young and old to learn something new. The Center offers seasonal classes in writing, publishing and world languages; tutoring for students grades K-12; vibrant youth and family programs; literary readings; and other arts-related events, designed to encourage an appreciation for all art forms, and learning in general, among all Kentuckians.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Activism, Appalachia, bell hooks, Literature

Berea College Observes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day


MLK Day Celebration March from Union Church to Presser Hall

Berea College students, faculty, staff and community members marched from Union Church to Presser Hall during the 2018 MLK Day Celebration

Berea College staff, faculty and students observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, Jan. 15 with events throughout the day co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education, Black Cultural Center, Willis D. Weatherford Campus Christian Center, Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service, Berea College Music Department and Union Church.

The celebration activities began at 9:30 a.m., when representatives from the College and the wider Berea community gathered at Union Church before members of the College’s Black Music Ensemble and community led a march from Union Church to Gray Auditorium in Presser Hall on Berea’s campus. The keynote performance at 10:30 a.m. featured “The Good Food Revolution,” by Malik Yakini, co-founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

The afternoon convocation featured “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: A One-Woman Play,” which was performed by Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye in Phelps-Stokes Chapel. Following the convocation, the College’s Black Male Leadership Initiative hosted a reception and conversations with Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye and Malik Yakini in the Gallery of the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education.

View a gallery of photos of the day’s events below.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Black Cultural Center, Campus Christian Center, Carter G. Woodson Center, CELTS, Martin Luther King Jr., Office of the President, Students

Berea College Alumnus John Fleming Plays Major Role in Opening Mississippi Civil Rights Museum


John FlemingShowcasing the significance of history is nothing new to John Fleming.

Dr. Fleming  ’66, is known throughout the country for his scholarship, particularly in the African-American experience. As a historian, author, academician and museum expert, Fleming has increased inclusion of African American stories and culture into museum presentations and education, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and most recently the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

The newly-opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, in Jackson, is designed to tell the full history of the era from 1945 to 1976.

“I think it helps to tell a fuller American story,” Fleming stated in a recent article about the Museum. “For so long, museums and history textbooks have either excluded African-American history or dealt with them only during the period of slavery, some relating to reconstruction and maybe some relating to the Civil Rights Movement.”

The museum’s 16,000 square feet feature multiple exhibits that highlight the consequences African Americans and their supporters faced for speaking out.


To read a recent article about Fleming, visit: http://www.morganton.com/news/morganton-native-plays-major-role-in-opening-mississippi-civil-rights/article_d9dfd1ea-e1fa-11e7-94b6-8f6f2ae6d1ce.html

To learn more about the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, visit its website at: www.mcrm.mdah.ms.gov

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: alumni, Civil Rights, History

Berea Recognized 47 Graduates During Mid-Year Ceremony


Dawneda WilliamsBerea College’s Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates was held Sunday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Dawneda Williams, an honorary Berea College trustee whose work has made a difference in the lives of many in Appalachia, addressed the 47 seniors who will complete their degree requirements at the end of the fall term. Williams is an advocate and supporter of educational opportunities for young people in Appalachia and beyond.

The Berea College graduates recognized at this mid-year ceremony represent 13 American states and three countries.

Williams earned an undergraduate degree in Education from the University of North Carolina and Master of Arts in Education from the University of Virginia. She taught various grade levels at schools in Virginia and Ohio early in her career. She also was a founding trustee of the Appalachian School of Law. Williams served Berea College as a member of the President’s Advisory Council at for eight years, then served on the Berea College Board of Trustees for 11 years. She has continued as an honorary trustee for four years. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Virginia at Wise and the UVA-Wise Foundation Board.

Williams serves as partner for Fowler Enterprise, and director and general manager of B. F. Foundation. Her civic responsibilities include serving as director, Junior Achievement of Tri-Cities TN/VA Corporate Board; co-chair, “Investment in Tomorrow” Campaign, Appalachian School of Law; director, Big Stone Gap Bank & Trust Co., Big Stone Gap, Va.; and campaign cabinet member for UVA-Wise.

She resides with her husband S. Hoyt Williams, Jr., in Wise, Va.


Those who were unable to attend the ceremony can view the recorded live stream here: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/7824688

Categories: News, People
Tags: Appalachia, commencement, faculty, Students

Berea College Christmas Concert This Week on December 1 and 2


Black Music Ensemble - Christmas Concert 2016

The annual Christmas Concert, co-sponsored by the Berea College Music Program and the Campus Christian Center, will be held on two successive nights, Friday evening December 1 and Saturday evening December 2. Although tickets to attend this popular yearly event are already gone, it will be live streamed for those that would like to watch the Christmas Concert from the comfort of home or elsewhere via the following Livestream links:

Friday, December 1: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/7934561
Saturday, December 2: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/7934565

Both links are scheduled go live at about 7 p.m. The concerts start at 7:30 p.m. each night.

The concerts feature music of the season performed by students and music faculty in groups such as the Black Music Ensemble, Bluegrass Music Ensemble, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Women’s Chorus.

For guests with tickets, the doors at Union Church will open to the public at 6:45 p.m. each night.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Campus Christian Center, Christmas, faculty, Music Department, Students