Berea College Ranked among Nation’s Top Colleges

The 2018-19 academic year is off to a great start at Berea College. Just two months into the semester, the school is making the grade with several national accolades highlighting diversity, affordability, the high-quality liberal arts education students receive, and sustainability.

In September, INSIGHT into Diversity magazine announced that Berea was one of 96 institutions to receive its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity or HEED Award. The award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campus. Continue reading Berea College Ranked among Nation’s Top Colleges

Historical Marker Unveiled at Middletown School

Ceremony attendees gathered around the Middletown Consolidated School historical marker

Crowds gathered around the Middletown Consolidated School historical marker on August 18, 2018.
(Photo: Jay Buckner)

The history of the Middletown Consolidated School in Berea was recognized with a ceremony unveiling the highway marker placed by the Kentucky Historical Society. The public event took place Saturday, August 18 at the old Middletown Consolidated School on Walnut Meadow Road in Berea.

The event included representatives from state and local governments, and officials from Berea College and Berea and Madison County School systems and numerous Middletown School alumni, faculty and staff. The occasion marked the significance of the site as a Rosenwald school for African American children during the segregation era. The unveiling ceremony was followed by building tours and a reception. Continue reading Historical Marker Unveiled at Middletown School

Berea College Welcomes Public to 2018 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 2018-19 academic year at the College’s Opening Convocation on Thursday, August 30, 2018, at 3 p.m. in the Seabury Center. The program is free. The theme for this year’s opening convocation will be Berea Stories. Continue reading Berea College Welcomes Public to 2018 Opening Convocation

Local Berea College Alums Invited to Join President’s Run/Walk Club

Student Life staff participate in the first Collegium Run with President Lyle Roelofs.

With the arrival of spring comes the resumption of the President’s Run/Walk Club, which has been on hiatus from the end of last semester to after Spring Break.
The President’s Run/Walk Club is open to current active members and anyone new wanting to join us—including Berea College alumni who live in the area.  The group meets at 7:00 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays (weather permitting) at Seabury Circle, on the side of the building facing the Danforth Technology Building. Continue reading Local Berea College Alums Invited to Join President’s Run/Walk Club

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.

Tax Bill Negatively Impacts Berea

Berea College was thrust into the national media spotlight when Congress voted to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today. The bill includes a proposed 1.4 percent excise tax on college endowment earnings in excess of $500,000 per student at colleges that enroll more than 500 students. As the bill was being finalized, President Roelofs worked with the Kentucky congressional delegation to include the phrase “tuition-paying” to shield Berea’s endowment from the excise tax. Just before the Senate vote, that language was removed from the bill. Continue reading Tax Bill Negatively Impacts Berea

President’s Medallion Presented to Carl Thomas ’78 and Deborah Byrd Thomas ’80

Carl and Deborah Thomas with Lyle RoelofsBerea College President Lyle Roelofs presented Carl Thomas ‘78 and his wife, Deborah Byrd Thomas ’80, with the President’s Medallion at a surprise ceremony during the College’s 2017 Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, November 18.

Established in 1988 by then-President John B. Stephenson, the award is given at the discretion of the President to honor those who have shown “exemplary service in the advancement of Berea College and its cause.” Together, the Thomases are the 16th recipients of the President’s Medallion. Continue reading President’s Medallion Presented to Carl Thomas ’78 and Deborah Byrd Thomas ’80

Broadcast Dates Announced for WoodSongs Programs Recorded at Berea College

WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour LogoThe NPR radio broadcasts of the two WoodSongs performance shows recorded at Berea College in September will be aired locally in November.

The first show, highlighting the U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band “Country Current” and young Parker Hastings, will air on WEKU-FM on Saturday, November 11, at 8 p.m. The second performance, featuring the McLain Family Band’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, will air on WEKU-FM on Saturday, November 18, at 8 p.m. These shows will be broadcast on NPR affiliate WUKY (Lexington) at 10 p.m. on both dates. Dates and times for NPR affiliates in other regions will vary. Continue reading Broadcast Dates Announced for WoodSongs Programs Recorded at Berea College

Berea College Welcomes Public to 2017 Opening Convocation

Berea Stories

Seabury Center, 3:00 p.m., August 31, 2017

President Lyle Roelofs

Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College

The public is invited to join the entire Berea College community in marking the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year at the College’s Opening Convocation on Thursday, August 31, 2017, at 3 p.m. in the Seabury Center. The program is free. Continue reading Berea College Welcomes Public to 2017 Opening Convocation

President Lyle Roelofs Weighs in on Student Loan Debt Burden in Facebook Live Q&A


Berea College President Lyle Roelofs spoke today on Facebook Live, discussing Berea’s unique mission and responding to recent news regarding growing student loan debt. “Education is the most important route for the transformation of lives,” President Roelofs said, pointing out that for many across the nation, attaining an education saddles individuals with mountains of debt. In his remarks, he describes some of the issues students and families currently face, what some of the proposed cuts in the federal budget might mean to low-income families, and how Berea College continues to provide an option for obtaining a high-quality college education for those who otherwise could not afford one.

President Roelofs to be Interviewed on “Community Conversations” Program

Lyle RoelofsBerea College President Lyle Roelofs will be the guest of program host Jeff Rubin on this week’s broadcast of “Community Conversations” on Richmond radio stations WEKY-AM and WKXO-FM. They will discuss the importance of good town/gown relationships and President Roelofs will talk about the long and beneficial relationship that Berea College has had with the community that grew up around it. Listeners can tune in to the hour-long program, which begins at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 11 on 1340 WEKY-AM or 103.5 WKXO-FM. Continue reading President Roelofs to be Interviewed on “Community Conversations” Program

Experiencing Black History

Students holding college motto on a sign behind them
Berea has made history, since its remarkable beginning as the South’s first interracial and coeducational college, to educating Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History.”

Berea’s students and faculty members continued to make history when they participated with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Continue reading Experiencing Black History

President Lyle Roelofs Affirms Berea’s Ongoing Commitment to Its International and DACA Students

Lyle RoelofsDear Bereans,

As you are aware, on Friday, January 27, President Trump issued an executive order that immediately suspended entry to the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days and halted the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. The situation continues to evolve as federal courts have issued temporary stays and the ACLU and others strive to reverse or limit the effect of this order. Continue reading President Lyle Roelofs Affirms Berea’s Ongoing Commitment to Its International and DACA Students

A Special Christmas Message from President Lyle Roelofs and First Lady Laurie Roelofs

Black Music Ensemble - Christmas Concert 2016

Black Music Ensemble – Christmas Concert 2016

From our family to yours,
May your Christmas and New Year be blessed and filled with rejoicing.

As we celebrate Christmas, we’re reminded that the message of Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at this season, is the message of Berea College, too. Jesus showed the world that love can triumph over hate, that peace can be achieved through justice, and that all of us are equal in the eyes of God. And nowhere is our mission captured better than in the diversity of our musical ensembles. Continue reading A Special Christmas Message from President Lyle Roelofs and First Lady Laurie Roelofs

Berea College Partners with KIPP Charter Schools to Increase College Completion Rates

KIPP logoBerea, KY – Berea College and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) public charter schools have announced a partnership aimed at increasing college completion rates for KIPP students from educationally underserved communities. Berea College is KIPP’s first college partner in the state of Kentucky.

KIPP is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating elementary, middle, and high school students. There are 200 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia educating nearly 80,000 students on their path to and through college, careers, and life. Continue reading Berea College Partners with KIPP Charter Schools to Increase College Completion Rates

President Roelofs Puts Benefits of Berea’s Labor Program in National Spotlight

Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College

Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College

Roelofs is the featured author of an article published by Inside Higher Ed today. He describes Berea College’s distinctive Labor Program and cites how other colleges and universities might want to consider establishing a work program to increase student access and affordability.

Read the entire article online at Inside Higher Education.

Roelofs Confirms Support for Student Rights and Title IX

Lately there has been considerable commentary regarding a Title IX case that was heard in the Spring of 2015.  The discussion has proceeded mostly on social media, but I have received a number of emails on the matter and some faculty members report that the issue has come up in classes.  Additionally, remarks about the issue were issued publicly during the discussion session following last week’s convocation. Continue reading Roelofs Confirms Support for Student Rights and Title IX

Washington Monthly Ranks Berea No. 1 Twice: As Best National Liberal Arts College and Best Bang for the Buck

Washington Monthly ranked Berea College as the nation’s top liberal arts college and also ranked Berea College as number 1 in the Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the South category again this year. Berea’s top rank in the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings Guide comes from its success in educating and graduating academically talented, low-income students who become service-oriented leaders in their professions and communities. Continue reading Washington Monthly Ranks Berea No. 1 Twice: As Best National Liberal Arts College and Best Bang for the Buck

Berea College Welcomes Public to 2016 Opening Convocation

Our Berea: Speaking the Great Commitments Anew

Seabury Center – 3:00 p.m., September 1, 2016

Opening Convocation 2015The entire Berea College community will mark the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year at the College’s Opening Convocation on Thursday, September 1, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. in the Seabury Center. The program is free and open to the public. Continue reading Berea College Welcomes Public to 2016 Opening Convocation

Love Over Hate

Love Over Hate

Tragic deaths occurred last week in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.  These evil acts are sad reminders of just how long and difficult is our nation’s journey toward peace and racial justice. I ask all Bereans to remember and raise up in prayer the victims and their loved ones and to continue to hold to our ideals in all you do, seeking peace with justice and trusting in the power of love over hate. 

Lyle Roelofs
President, Berea College

Alumni Reminisce and Reconnect at Summer Reunion 2016

Laughs at picnicNearly 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. Continue reading Alumni Reminisce and Reconnect at Summer Reunion 2016

President Roelofs Offers a Response to the Tragedy in Orlando on Behalf of Bereans

We share in the shock and grief resulting from the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, earlier today.  Berea’s Great Commitments, which emphasize love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice, markedly contrast with acts of hatred and terror such as this. While this incident is an attack on the values of all Bereans, we are particularly concerned for how it will be experienced by our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) members of our community. Continue reading President Roelofs Offers a Response to the Tragedy in Orlando on Behalf of Bereans

Berea Breaks Ground for New Science/Health Building

Berea College officials broke ground Thursday afternoon for a new building to house the natural sciences and nursing departments. The structure, to be named the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, will house Division I, which includes the biology, chemistry, mathematics, nursing and physics departments. Berea’s science departments currently are housed in the Charles Martin Hall Science Building, which was built in 1927 and updated in 1984. It will be transformed for other uses. Continue reading Berea Breaks Ground for New Science/Health Building

Berea College Participates in Meeting with U.S. Department of Education Officials on Increasing Access and Supporting Strong Outcomes for Low-Income Students

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs

On March 24, 2016,  Berea College President Lyle Roelofs attended a meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Education focused on highlighting institutions across the country that are making significant strides in increasing graduation rates among students eligible for Pell Grants.  Continue reading Berea College Participates in Meeting with U.S. Department of Education Officials on Increasing Access and Supporting Strong Outcomes for Low-Income Students

Diversity is in Our DNA

First published by the Louisville Courier-Journal on line March 8, 2016 and in print on March 12, 2016, the 112th Anniversary of passage of the Day Law.

by Lyle Roelofs and Linda Strong-Leek

President Lyle RoelofsSo much of the recent news about higher education has focused on campus unrest and protest about the lack of diversity in the faculty, staff and administration, and the perception that the voices of students of color are either not heard, or their particular experiences of racism are not acknowledged or addressed. Continue reading Diversity is in Our DNA