Berea College Student Nationally Honored as Major of the Year in Health & Human Performance

Jaden Johnson

Jaden Johnson named Major of the Year in Health & Human Performance by Shape America

By Joey Martelli, Shape America

SHAPE America–Society of Health and Physical Educators honored Jaden Johnson of Berea College as a Major of the Year during the organization’s 136th National Convention and Expo, held April 26-30th in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The award celebrates outstanding undergraduate students in the health, physical education, recreation, and dance professions who are nominated by a faculty advisor or professor. Johnson was recognized on Tuesday, April 26th during the Opening General Session.

“The outstanding achievements of future professionals like Jaden is integral to the future of SHAPE America and our profession.” said SHAPE America President Terri Drain, the Founder and Coordinator of the Health and Physical Education Collaborative.


Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: graduation, Health and Human Performance Department, shape america

Two Berea College Students Selected as Watson Fellows

Berea College sign on campus in the spring

Photo: Tyler Rocquemore ’22

Berea College students Maria Alejandra Hernandez Diaz ’22 and Hunter McDavid ’22 have been named Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

The 54th Class of Watson Fellows was selected from just 41 private colleges and university partners across the United States. This year, 42 students were selected from a national pool of finalists in an extremely competitive process.


Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: graduation, Student Life, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Ezell National Tour Launches in Berea Over Earth Day Weekend

Ezell becomes the Appalachian Eagle during the Clear Creek premier of the full Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man performance (photo by Erica Chambers)

Ezell becomes the Appalachian Eagle during the Clear Creek premier of the full Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man performance (photo by Erica Chambers)

Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man, an award-winning outdoor eco-cultural theater, music and meal experience will be presented at the Berea College Forestry Outreach Center and the Pinnacles over Earth Day weekend, April 21 to 24, 2022.

Ezell is an environmental, cultural and spiritual parable derived from living in the foothills of Appalachia, one man among many seeking to make sense of the time, place and condition in which we live. In the story, Ezell’s choices, traumas, ancestors and more intersect with themes of domination and resilience as he seeks to take advantage of an anticipated fracking boom and the opportunity to reconnect with the people and land of his raising.


Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Forestry Outreach Center, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, music, Pinnacles

Founding Member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sule Greg Wilson, to Perform at Berea College

Súle Greg Wilson

Súle Greg Wilson

Súle Greg Wilson, founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, will perform at Ballad Night at Berea College on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Gray Auditorium, Presser Hall. The evening is hosted by the Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble.

Wilson will present a 30-minute set of African American ballads which will be followed by a ballad round robin. The performance is free and open to the public. All audience members must be masked as per college policy due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Concert, music, Music Department

National Book Foundation Authors Present “The Environment of Now” at Berea College

Can readers escape the end of the world? Join National Book Award–honored authors Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth, 2019 Fiction finalist) and Jackie Wang (The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void, 2021 Poetry finalist) for readings and conversation on writing the environment of place and people in the 21st century.

The free event takes place on Tuesday, April 12, at 6 p.m. in the Berea College Alumni Building’s Baird Lounge. Refreshments will be available. Masks are required.

To bring cutting-edge authors to Appalachian Kentucky, the National Book Foundation’s public programming arm, NBF Presents, arranged these authors’ visits in partnership with Berea College and Appalshop (Letcher County).


Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Ansel Elkins, Jason Howard, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, National Book Foundation, Silas House

Berea College Joins New Collegiate Conference of the South Following USA South Separation

Basketball player dunking

Photo: Tyler Rocquemore ’22

Nine member institutions of the USA South Athletic Conference (USAS) have officially formed and have been approved by the NCAA as a new Division III athletic conference, following a planned separation of USAS. This new conference, the “Collegiate Conference of the South” (CCS), will include Agnes Scott College, Belhaven University, Berea College, Covenant College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Maryville College, Piedmont University, and Wesleyan College.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: athletics, NCAA, NCAA Division III

Berea College Woodworking School at Pine Croft Spring Registration Now Open

Kelly Mehler

Kelly Mehler, who ran his own woodworking school on the Pine Croft site, led a previous class at the Woodworking School at Pine Croft.

Berea College’s Woodworking School at Pine Croft will be buzzing with activity beginning in April with a new slate of classes that include guest instructors teaching their trade.

The first full session in October 2019 was attended by students from Kentucky as well as Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Minnesota. Andy Glenn, head of the Woodworking School at Pine Croft, hopes to see an even greater interest this time around.

“We are just getting started with Pine Croft,” Glenn said. “2020 and 2021 proved challenging, but we’re excited for the future. We have a great slate of instructors scheduled for 2022 and a wide range of classes.”

Three guest instructors will be part of the Spring 2022 class schedule.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Crafts, Pine Croft, Woodcraft, Woodworking School at Pine Croft

Berea College Library Offering ‘Tour’ of 500 Historic, Regional Cookbooks

Extensive collection is part of the library’s Special Collections and Archives

Photograph of a Page from a Vintage Recipe Book for Turkey

If you’re looking for that special recipe for the upcoming holidays—maybe an “Emergency Cake” from the 1922 Chestnut Street Christian Church Cook Book or a “Very Plain Venison Pie” from Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book published in 1857—Berea College’s Special Collections and Archives (SCA) has the cookbook collection to peruse.

Beginning the first Friday in November, patrons of Berea College’s Hutchins Library can “tour” selections from the 500 historic, regional cookbooks housed in the library’s SCA. Participants will receive free blank recipe cards for recording their favorite recipes while learning more about cooking styles from as early as the 1700s.

The weekly tours are part of the library’s “Friday Finds” programs, led by Tim Binkley, an assistant professor of library science who heads SCA.

“We have all seen cookbooks, but not everyone has had the opportunity to see cookbooks as old as some of the ones we have right here in the Hutchins Library,” Binkley said. “It is fascinating to flip through old cookbooks that have been donated to the library, including titles from the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, to find variations of familiar recipes and unusual recipes as well. Some of these publications originated from social clubs, churches and families. The variety of recipes in our collection is vast, and we are looking forward to sharing them with the public and learning more about cooking through the years.”

Binkley will encourage all participants to take home recipes to make and share on social media.

“My hope is that these tours will open the minds of participants not only to different ways of cooking, but also to the vast resources we have in the library’s Special Collections and Archives,” Binkley said. “Our library resources are tremendous, and I encourage students and the community to learn more about historic research materials that are available right here in their back yards.”

“Friday Finds” cookbook tours will be held from 2-3 p.m. on Nov. 5, Nov. 12, Nov. 19, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 at the Hutchins Library, located at 100 Campus Drive in Berea. To register, visit and look for “Hutchins Library.” Each tour is limited to 12 participants. Attendees must provide proof of COVID vaccination to participate, and masks are required to be worn at all times.

SCA offers Berea College students and the public access to one-of-a-kind materials, including historic campus photographs, oral history recordings, traditional regional music and letters from Berea’s founders, early faculty and students. Special Collections and Archives supports the educational mission of Berea College by building and maintaining an extensive collection of primary-source materials documenting the history of Berea College, the Southern Appalachian region and the Berea community.

The SCA reading room is available by appointment by visiting For more information on SCA, visit

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives

48th Celebration of Traditional Music at Berea College: October 14-17, 2021

Written by Liza DiSavino

The 48th annual Berea College Celebration of Traditional Music (CTM) will take place Oct. 15-17 and will feature, due to COVID, a mixture of both in-person and live-streamed events.

The CTM seeks to represent homemade music passed on from person to person in the Appalachian Region, and the musicians who play it. It is supported by a generous grant by the L. Allen Smith Memorial Fund and is presented by the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, the Music Department, the Celebration of Traditional Music Committee, and the members of the Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble.

A pre-CTM Stephenson Memorial convocation concert performance by John McCutcheon will take place Thursday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at Phelps-Stokes Chapel. This is the only evening concert open to the public. The event is free, and masks and COVID-19 vaccination are required.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Celebration of Traditional Music, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Music Department

Berea College, City Officials Dedicate Boone Trace Trail at Brushy Fork

Mayor Fraley, Dr. John fox, Berea College President Lyle Roelofs and First Lady Laurie Roelofs

Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley, Dr. John Fox, Berea College President Lyle Roelofs and First Lady Laurie Roelofs cut a ribbon celebrating the opening of Boone Trace Trail at Berea College’s Brushy Fork Park. The new trail is open to college students and the public, and follows the trail made in 1775 by Daniel Boone. – Photo by Gaston Jarju / Berea College

Visitors to Berea College’s Brushy Fork can now walk along the path blazed through Kentucky by Daniel Boone and his axemen, thanks to a collaboration between Berea College and the city of Berea.

Boone Trace Trail is open to Berea residents, students and visitors, with a rock-paved ¾-mile trail that lines up almost exactly with the path Boone and his team took in 1775 from North Carolina through the Cumberland Gap and on to Boonesborough.


Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Bruce Fraley, Brushy Fork, Dr. Lyle Roelofs, Trail

Berea College Again Named No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck in the South in the Washington Monthly 2021 College Guide and Rankings

Washington Monthly has again ranked Berea College the No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck College in the South in their 2021 College Guide and Rankings.

Berea College placed No. 13 in the publication’s 2021 overall ranking of liberal arts colleges.

Washington Monthly rankings are based on “the degree to which they recruit and graduate students of modest means, produce the scholarship and scholars that drive economic growth and human flourishing and encourage students to be active citizens and serve their country.”


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Accolade, best bang for the buck, Washington Monthly

Brushy Fork Leadership Institute to Host 2021 Leadership Summit

By: Jacqueline Corum

Central Appalachian leaders will address the inequities exposed by the pandemic and other social issues

The annual Brushy Fork Leadership Summit, a strategic initiative of Berea College, will be conducted online Sept. 13 to 24. This year’s “Adaptive Leadership in Uncertain Times” summit will bring together nonprofit and grassroots leaders  to explore questions about how to design, fund and deliver programming in uncertain times; develop skills for adaptive leadership; and make connections to strengthen their organizations and their work.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Brushy Fork Leadership Institute, Community, leadership

Eleven Berea College Students Awarded U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to Study Abroad

Gilman Scholarship LogoBerea College has 11 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipients to study or intern abroad. They are among other American undergraduate students at 467 U.S. colleges from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This cohort of Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 96 countries through the end of 2022.

Berea College’s Gilman scholarship recipients include Bertrina Iransi, junior computer science major from Jefferson County, Ky.; Cora Allison, junior peace and social justice major from Washington County, Tenn.; Hannah Rapien, junior communications and Asian studies major from Blount County, Tenn.; Isabella Ray, junior communications major from Carroll County, Ky.; Kshitiz Dhungyel, sophomore business administration major from Jefferson County, Ky.; Lona Cobb, senior history and anthropological archaeology major from Bell County, Ky.; Maria Martinez, junior biology and child and family studies major from Whitfield County, Ga.; Megan McEahern, junior art history major from Roane County, Tenn.; Victoria Jackson, junior communications major from Pulaski County, Ky.; Yennifer Coca Izquierdo, junior political science major from Jefferson County, Ky.; and Zoe Medeiros, junior English major from Sumner County, Tenn.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Gilman International Scholarship, Study abroad

Nurturing Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, and a Healthier Future

Garden kits in crates

Garden kits packed for distribution to families.

Written by: Elora Overbey, Grow Appalachia

Cigna Foundation Grant Furthers Berea Wellness Hub in Partnership with Berea Kids Eat

Grow Appalachia, a Strategic Initiative of Berea College, has received a $30,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to work in partnership with school systems and the surrounding communities to supplement existing programming for children to help close nutrition gaps both within and outside of the school environment. The gift is part of the grant program, Healthier Kids For Our Future®, a five-year, $25 million global initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of children made possible by Cigna and the Cigna Foundation.

Grow Appalachia’s Berea Kids Eat Program has worked directly in Berea since 2016 to fight childhood hunger, increase healthy food access and support community food resiliency. To date, the program has served more than 400,000 meals to youth while supporting health and wellness initiatives and food security programming for low-income communities.

Bags of food in crates

Cooking kits prepared for distribution to families.

“We’re really excited that Cigna has helped to fully braid together all the goals of Berea Kids Eat, which is not just about reducing food insecurity but also increasing healthy food access by building food skills at the household level for the future,” said Martina Leforce, coordinator of Berea Kids Eat.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Berea Kids Eat, Cigna Foundation, Community, Grow Appalachia, Nutrition, wellness

‘Berea Kids Eat’ program feeds thousands of families for free

Martina Leforce distributing food in crates

Berea Kids Eat coordinator Martina Leforce ’07 preparing meals for children in the local community. Taken March 25, 2020.
(Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05)

By Jacqueline Nie
Originally posted on

When the pandemic hit Kentucky in March and schools were suddenly closed, children that relied on the USDA’s school lunch program were in turmoil after losing access to nutritious food.

The “Berea Kids Eat” program at Berea College responded and rallied together, serving up meals from local restaurants.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, there is a long line of cars, picking up breakfast and lunch for free.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Berea Kids Eat, Grow Appalachia, Martina Leforce, Strategic Initiatives

When your students are your workforce, what happens in a pandemic?


Edgar Ortiz weaving

Edgar Ortiz, a senior studying chemistry, works a loom at the weaving studio at Berea College, in Berea, Kentucky, Nov. 6, 2020. The college sells artisanal goods to the public, such as the placemat Mr. Ortiz is weaving, as well as other home goods made by students.
(Photo: Nick Roll/The Christian Science Monitor)

Originally posted by The Christian Science Monitor
By: Nick Roll, staff writer

Edgar Ortiz pauses as he operates a wooden loom several times larger than he is, reflecting on his college job as he fashions a place mat.

“Who comes to college and learns how to weave?” he asks.

For Mr. Ortiz, a chemistry major set to graduate this spring, weaving place mats wasn’t how he originally imagined he’d be spending his time outside the lab. But Mr. Ortiz attends Berea College, where every student is assigned a job on campus, ranging from farm work to artisanal craft skills – such as weaving or woodworking – to more routine posts such as cleaning or being a teaching assistant.

This past semester, though, Mr. Ortiz was missing more than half of his co-workers. Social distancing rules had limited the capacity of the weaving studio and the number of students able to work there. On a recent afternoon, he was joined by only one other student employee and their supervisor, who is overseeing seven students this year instead of her usual 16 to 18.

Students at work colleges like Berea – there are eight others in the United States – are employed by the school in an effort to keep costs down for both students and the administration. Working through the pandemic has meant adjusting to new health standards and working in smaller, socially distanced crews – if students are able to work at all. And for the colleges, disruptions to the student work programs lead directly to disruptions to day-to-day operations.

“We had to shift to a work program where we were covering the essential jobs first,” says Berea President Lyle Roelofs. This was especially true in agriculture, where the college’s crops and livestock needed diligent care, but there were fewer students on campus to provide it. “It was sort of amusing,” he says, recalling one student who was originally planning on working in the fundraising office but wound up “being asked to explore the dignity of labor by feeding the hogs.”


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Labor Program, Weaving, Work College, Work Colleges Consortium

Registration Now Open for Woodworking Classes at Berea’s Pine Croft

Aspen Golann carving wood

Aspen Golann, artist and 17th & 18th century-style furniture maker, will lead an introductory class on carving from April 16-18.

Berea College invites woodworkers to register for four classes with prominent instructors at the Woodworking School at Pine Croft.

The Woodworking School at Pine Croft is offering the following classes

  • April 10 & 11 – Wooden Carrier ($375) with instructor Andy Glenn
  • April 16, 17, 18 – Introduction to Carving – Traditional Techniques & Contemporary Applications ($625) with instructor Aspen Golann
  • April 30, May 1, 2 – Greenwood Stool ($550) with instructor Andy Glenn
  • May 14, 15, 16 – Dutch Tool Chest ($875) with instructor Megan Fitzpatrick


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Pine Croft, Woodcraft, Woodworking School at Pine Croft

Berea College and Lehigh University Break Boundaries with Win-Win Educational Pact

Berea College sign on campus

(Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05)

New Berea-Lehigh Partnership Agreement Enhances Student Access to Graduate Management Education

Berea College, a federally recognized Work College, and Lehigh University’s College of Business jointly announced this week a new 4+1 partnership agreement.  This unique “4+1” joint partnership calls for a five-year program (four years of undergraduate studies at Berea College plus one year of graduate management education at Lehigh University). Students from Berea College in Liberal Arts or STEM field majors can enter Lehigh University’s MS in Management (M2) program to earn the Master’s level degree in just 10 months. The combination of Liberal Arts or STEM as well as skills learned in Berea’s Labor Program, coupled with business training further positions Berea graduates to be workforce ready as they pursue careers in a variety of industries ranging from consulting to banking to finance to brand marketing to pharma, just to name a few.


Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Lehigh University, Liberal Arts, STEM

PBS Features Berea College in Craft in America: DEMOCRACY Episode

Student in Broomcraft Shop

A new episode of Craft in America: DEMOCRACY is available to stream now on the PBS Video, and in advance of the PBS broadcast premiere on Dec. 11, 2020.

Craft in America: DEMOCRACYexplores how craft intertwines with our nation’s defining principles, providing inspiring examples of artists and organizations working together to embody democratic ideals. The program highlights the historic and contemporary crafts Berea College students produce through the College’s distinctive Labor program. It features interviews with students and staff in Berea’s crafts program—which includes weaving, broom making, ceramics and woodworking—and Stephen Burks, an industrial designer and educator who headed Berea’s Crafting Diversity project. Burks worked with students to design products for the Student Craft program, ensuring the inclusive diversity of Berea’s student body was represented in the craft they created.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: broomcraft, Ceramics, Crafts, PBS, student crafts, Weaving, Woodworking Crafts

Smithsonian Features 100 Years of Berea College Brooms

Student braiding a broom

The Berea College Broomcraft Program—which marks its centennial anniversary this year—is highlighted in an online feature article in the Smithsonian Magazine

While Berea is a liberal arts college—not a craft or art school—it is home to the country’s longest continuously operating broomcraft workshop and carries on an American craft tradition that’s rarely practiced today. In the article, Chris Robbins, director of Berea College’s broomcraft program, estimates there likely are less than 200 people worldwide who make brooms by hand for a living. Yet brooms seem to be having a renaissance, he said, perhaps due to a market trend for handmade items or to the popularity of the Harry Potter book series (Berea has a “rocket broom” in its product line). More than 60 brooms were ordered on the morning the article appeared.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: broomcraft, Labor Program, Smithsonian, student crafts

Berea College’s Nursing Program Ranked No. 8 in the Southeast best nursing schools in the nation badge 2020Berea College’s nursing program has been ranked No. 8 out of 731 schools offering nursing programs in the Southeast U.S. for 2020. Nursing Process, a national organization that provides nursing students with education and career information to help them make better choices, conducted the ranking of programs that offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Accolade, Nursing Department

Berea College Seeks 1,600 Donors on Sept. 3

Giving Day Banner August 2019

Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05

Berea College is looking for 1,600 people to participate in its annual Giving Day on Thursday, Sept. 3. This event generates significant excitement and support for Berea’s students with contributions coming from donors locally, regionally and nationally.

Donors can support Berea’s Giving Day easily by making a gift online; by texting “BEREA” to 56512; by calling 800-457-9846; or by mailing a check to CPO 2216, Berea, KY 40404.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Giving Day, Philanthropy, Student Philanthropy

Berea College Named No. 1 Top Producer of Gilman Scholars 

2018-2019 Gilman Top ProducerContinuing a long tradition of students winning Gilman scholarships, Berea College was named the top U.S. college for having the most 2018-2019 Gilman International Scholarship undergraduates, 21, among colleges with enrollments under 5,000. Berea also was recognized in other categories, including top producers for first-generation students and top producer for most diverse destinations for studying abroad.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Center for International Education, Gilman International Scholarship

Berea College Offers Test Score Optional Admissions

Berea College will now allow its prospective students to apply for admission without requiring standardized test scores.

Berea College joins more than 1,000 elite institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Notre Dame who are offering test score optional admissions to their fall 2021 class. The COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable barriers for standardized testing for students across the country, and especially for the students and families that Berea College serves.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Admissions

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.


Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Engineering Technologies and Applied Design Department, photography, Westervelt program