Alumni Award Recipients

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Dreama Gentry, ’89, Rodney C. Bussey Award of Special Merit

SR 15 Dreama GentryDreama is a first generation college graduate from rural Appalachia. She worked in the public relations department during her time as a student, and graduated with a political science degree in 1989. After completing her Juris Doctor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, she worked for three years in Bowling Green, before returning to Berea College in 1995. She worked in two part-time positions at Berea College. One was with the Special Programs/Elderhostel/Community Ed department and the other was the Lifting Aspirations program supported by the Jessie Ball Dupont grant. During Dreama’s time at Berea College, she has served as the Title IX/VII coordinator, and served on various committees including the Scenario Planning Taskforce and as facilitator for the Staff Forum. She currently serves on the Budget Committee and chairs the Benefits Committee. Her current position at Berea College is director of Partners for Education, where she advocates for rural students living in poverty to ensure that the national dialogue around educational success includes the voices of rural students. She was recognized with the Outstanding Alumnus of Kentucky award during the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship, and received the 2012 University of Kentucky College of Law Community Service Award.

Michael S. Clark, ’67, Distinguished Alumnus Award

SR 15 Michael ClarkOriginally from western North Carolina, Mike entered Berea in 1963 and graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He was a member of The Pinnacle newspaper staff for four years and served as editor of the paper in his junior year.   He participated in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and took photos of that event.  After graduation, he worked for the Mountain Eagle newspaper in Whitesburg, Kentucky, joined the staff of the Highlander Center in Tennessee and eventually served as its president for ten years.  His career spans over four decades of advocacy work. Mike served as the executive director of nine different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and The Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He also served on over 25 non-profit boards during a 45-year time period. Mike currently lives in Bozeman, Montana and works as an independent consultant who provides strategic and management services to non-profits, private foundations, and community groups. His work focuses on the environment, human rights, and the roles of government, industry, and communities that are grappling with complex, long-term issues and conflict.

 Dr. Jack Christopher Blanton, ’57, Distinguished Alumnus Award

SR 15 Jack BlantonJack’s legacy with Berea College began with his grandfather, William Joseph Blanton, who completed the “Normal Course” for teachers in 1902. His grandfather helped to make bricks for the construction of Phelps Stokes Chapel as part of his student labor. Jack’s father, Christopher Lindsey, began employment with the Berea College Press in 1937, and retired in the mid-sixties. Jack attended Knapp Hall, Foundation School, and then graduated with a degree in history and political science in 1957. He was student editor of The Pinnacle, and later became a general news reporter for the Knoxville Journal. After graduation, Jack was one of six students chosen from the country to be awarded a full scholarship from the Southern Regional Training Program in Public Administration. He went on to complete a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate degree in educational policy studies from the University of Kentucky. In 1966, Jack was selected as one of 12 mid-career government employees and one state employee nationally for a Ford Foundation Fellowship. This selection allowed him to spend the 1966-67 school year studying at Stanford University in California. Jack worked for 11 years in the Budget Division for the state of Kentucky. He was named state budget director in 1971. During his time working for the state, he was elected president of the Southern Region of State Budget Officers. Jack moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1973 and served as associate director of finance for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.  In 1974, he was named vice chancellor for finance of the Tennessee Board of Regents.  In 1975, he returned to Kentucky and the University of Kentucky where he worked for 28 years in various positions, including vice president and treasurer, vice chancellor for administration, and senior vice president for finance and administration. Since retirement he continues to teach as an adjunct professor at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. He is also on the list of Who’s Who in America and America’s Best Teachers. In 2000, he was named the Outstanding College Business Officer nationwide.

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