Nearly 500 alumni from far and wide gathered this past weekend at the annual Berea College Summer Reunion.
The weekend’s festivities began with a reception for members of the Great Commitments Society, which recognizes alumni who have included Berea College in their estate plans to help the College carry out its Great Commitments. Family members of deceased donors whose names are being added to the Legacy Wall in Fee Glade on campus also were recognized.
The sun filtered through the many trees on the College Quadrangle cast dappled light during Friday evening’s annual picnic, catered by Berea College Dining Services.
The next morning, a special 50th Reunion Breakfast was hosted by President and Mrs. Roelofs for members of the Class of 1966, who were being inducted into the Charles T. Morgan Society. A Sweetheart Breakfast was held at Boone Tavern for couples who met at Berea College. It was hosted by Carl (’78) and Deborah (’80) Thomas.
Later that morning the alums gathered in Baird Lounge in the Alumni Building for the Alumni Awards Presentation and the State of the College address, delivered by President Lyle Roelofs. Following his presentation, awards were presented to Fred Baker, who received an Honorary Alumnus Award; Janie Adams Frazier ’72 who received the Alumni Loyalty Award; and Dr. Miles Hayes ’57 was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Fred Baker, better known as “Mr. Fred”, grew up in Winchester, Kentucky. He attended George Roger Clark High School He began working for IBM/Lexmark in 1978 and retired after 30 years. During his time at IBM/Lexmark, Baker worked on the IBM Selectric Typewriter, in the distribution area and in the inkjet clean room burning images on chips for the printers. After retiring in 2008, he began working at Boone Tavern as an ambassador. Baker has touched many lives through his work at Boone Tavern and has educated visitors about Berea College’s distinctive mission. He has spent his time assisting Berea College students and received the “International Friendship Award” from Berea College’s Center for International Education. The award is given to individuals who befriend international students and support global diversity and kinship. Baker was nominated for this award by the international students at the College. In 2015, he also received a Stars of Industry Award for Guest Service Excellence at the Front Desk. Baker has made a great impact on many at Berea College and the wider community. His philosophy is “everybody is somebody to Mr. Fred.”
Janie Adams Frazier grew up in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Encouraged to attend Berea College by a high school biology teacher, she entered Berea in 1968 and graduated in the top 10% in 1972 with a degree in history and secondary education. During her time at Berea, Frazier received an award for senior female citizenship, was a member of Pi Kappa Pi and Pi Gamma Mu, and served as a campus tour guide for four years. She went on to complete a master’s degree in secondary education from Morehead State University. Frazier has had a 40-year career with the Social Security Administration, where she received many awards including the Commissioner’s Citation, which is granted to individual employees who have made a superior contribution to the Social Security Administration. Throughout the years, she has remained involved with Berea College by serving as a member of the Alumni Executive Council, as Reunion Giving Chair for her class, hosting Berea College Presidents in Whitesburg, and assisting the Admissions Department with College nights at the local high schools.
Dr. Hayes, originally from western North Carolina, graduated from Berea College in 1957 with a degree in geology. He went on to earn a master’s degree in geology from Washington University at St. Louis and a Ph.D. in geology and marine science from the University of Texas. Throughout his career, Dr. Hayes has received numerous awards, including the Francis P. Shepard Marine Geology award by the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists. He also was named one of the four Legends of Sedimentology by the Houston Geological Society. In 1977, Dr. Hayes founded Research Planning Inc., which serves as a research leader in coastal science and technology. He has participated in over 100 scientific expeditions on all seven continents, published over 250 scientific papers, published and presented over 100 abstracts at professional meetings, has authored six books plus three that are currently in press, and has created Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) atlases for 24 coastal regions around the globe.
Alumni who were marking milestone years, including the classes of 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981 and 1986, celebrated at special reunions lunches, where lots of memories were shared and catching up on current events took place.
Other events during Summer Reunion included receptions for alumni of the Nursing Program, Computer Science Program and a special reception at Boone Tavern for all alumni. The weekend’s activities culminated in a worship service held at Union Church that was organized in collaboration with the Alumni Relations Office and the Willis D. Weatherford, Jr. Campus Christian Center.