Even though Destiny Harper, ’06, lives in Washington State, she still hasn’t taken the Berea College license plate off of her car. “I just can’t do it,” she says. “I love Berea!”
Coming from a military family, Destiny moved from home to home throughout her entire life. “I’m very nomadic,” she says. During high school, her family was stationed in the United Kingdom. For college, she initially wanted to go back to the one place she thought of as home—Texas—where she was born.
Divine intervention changed that, she says. She visited Berea and after a student-led campus tour, her mind was changed. She wasn’t drawn to Berea just because of the tuition-free policy. Like many students, the personality of the College appealed most to her. It was the size, people, quality of education and the atmosphere on campus. “That was a defining moment for me,” she recalls.
During freshman year, Destiny lived on the fourth floor of Pearsons Hall. “From the moment I arrived on campus, I was ready to spread my wings and fly!” she says. With the help of hall staff, friends, and professors, her transition from the U.K. to college in the U.S.A. was seamless.
Destiny came to Berea with strong support from her family. “But Berea helped me build a foundation beyond what my parents gave me,” she says. She took advantage of many opportunities on campus. “Anything you can think of, I did in my senior year.” She held leadership positions in the Black Music Ensemble and the Student Government Association, refereed for intervarsity sports, became a peer mentor, and worked at Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant.
But it wasn’t all about work. She also had her fair share of play time—staying up all night, taking long treks to Walmart, and watching movies. “Berea really symbolizes security and true friendship for me,” she says. “We were different geographically, sexually, religiously, but we all had a common passion—being a servant to our institution.”
She speaks affectionately of Berea, the “training ground” that prepared her for graduate school at Northern Kentucky University, where she earned a degree in Community Counseling and worked as the interim coordinator for African American Student Affairs.
Destiny’s passion for Berea stays alive through her work with the Young Alumni Advisory Council (YAAC). Currently serving a one-year term as president, she flies to Kentucky from Washington State at her own expense twice a year. The YAAC keeps alumni in touch and equips rising graduates with the tools they need to succeed. This fall, the YAAC will put on several events during Homecoming, including a career networking meeting where seniors and alumni can meet to discuss after-college employment or higher education options. “We work to create a more interconnected web for graduates to leave Berea and have the support they need,” she says.
As for the future, Destiny isn’t sure where the road will lead. Going to Berea and moving to Washington State were both unforeseen. Eventually she hopes to incorporate her two big interests: development and education.
Destiny currently works as an executive leader at Target. She enjoys mentoring college students while on the job, teaching them the values that Berea taught her. “I’m a servant leader at heart,” she says, “and I know that’s because of Berea.”