The work we do in support of Berea College’s mission is life changing, for both the students who realize their dream of attending college and the generous donors who contribute to the College year after year.
Our recent campaign to build a new natural sciences and health building on campus expands that life-changing work exponentially, and it brings to mind the words of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. She said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We learned that lesson firsthand during our campaign for the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building.
Faced with the daunting task of raising $10 million for the 125,000-square-foot building that will be home to the natural sciences as well as mathematics and nursing, we relied on the generosity of our donors. Without hesitation, their support came in record time and helped us eclipse our fundraising goal by more than $2 million. Those 968 committed donors helped position Berea College to construct a state-of-the-art learning facility that will change the world of our students, our region, the state of Kentucky and beyond.
That type of steadfast support has sustained the College for more than 160 years and helped produce several notable alumni whose contributions are impacting the world.
Berea’s storied history in the field of science and related disciplines includes alumnus John Fenn ’37. He received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2002 for his work with the electrospray mass spectrometry method. George Lester ’54 invented the catalytic converter, a device that removes toxic constituents from automobile exhaust. His creation cut the number of deaths suffered by people who work in tunnels and garages by 50 percent. Dr. Harold Rosenbaum ’41 performed the first heart catheterization in Kentucky. Dr. Rocky Tuan ’72 received a research award to conduct bone regeneration studies on the International Space Station. Dr. Charlotte Beason ’70 is the former executive director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing, and Dr. Donna Dean ’69 spent 27 years as a federal executive at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Another renowned Berean is Samuel Hurst ’47, a physicist who developed touchscreen technology that powers many of today’s communications devices.
Berea College will continue to develop scholars who influence the world and the future because of the investment our donors make in our promising students. Gifts of all sizes—from $25 to $250,000—are the lifeblood of this institution and demonstrate the power of philanthropy. We instill that power and the promise it provides in our students, who give as Berea Patrons. Now in its third year, the Berea Patrons initiative boasts a 54 percent participation rate among current students. The contributions they make today from their labor earnings plant the seeds of philanthropy that we hope will blossom into lifelong donors to the College.
With construction on the new science building complete and classes underway, we are excited about the future of the sciences and health studies here at Berea. Not only are we educating future doctors, scientists, researchers and nurses, we are creating a dynamic environment that will attract top researchers to Kentucky to share their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of our students, the local community and the state. The next major breakthrough in science just might come from this small liberal arts college in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. We’ll have our donors to thank for the role their gifts played in helping us create a space for such discovery.
Bernadine M. Douglas
Vice President for Alumni and College Relations