portrait of Abbie Darst, Berea College Magazine editor

In early November, I was reading and came across this challenge: “What if we started to seek the welfare of others? What if we actively went out of our way to contribute to the good of others right where we are? What if we prayed for others’ health, security, situations and relationships?”

What if?

If the urge of our hearts and the action of our hands leaned into what was ultimately best for others—and not ourselves—think of how beautiful our world could be.

Berea College has stood as a beacon of service and love for more than a century and a half, and its graduates steep in these values for four (or five) years, being challenged not just to learn and grow themselves, but more importantly, to be empathetic toward those around them as they seek to leave their communities (or the world) better than when they arrived.

Berea alumni go on to be teachers who inspire generations of students in communities across the nation. They run programs that bring hope and restoration to refugee families. They provide love, healing and happiness to abandoned children. They use their talents to write about truth and fight for justice. They dream of radical organizations where volunteers serve side-by-side with community members across the globe—and help make it happen.

And the world is better for it.

Throughout this issue, you will find examples of service fueled by love for humanity and a desire to give back, which was partially instilled through the mission and values of Berea College—a mission that started with the radical inclusivity and love that created an interracial, coeducational college in the midst of a slaveholding state.

There are more examples of students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the College who have given of their love, time, energy, money and lives to serve others empathetically and passionately. We could never capture every selfless act, altruistic initiative or others-focused program that has originated from the heart of thousands of Bereans for generations. But I hope as you read these stories, you are inspired to look at those in communities around you and seek their welfare. I encourage you to “be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).

Abbie Tanyhill Darst ’03


Executive Director of Marketing and Communications


Abbie Darst '03 is an article writing, husband loving, kid raising, cheer coaching, God serving, busy woman. Whether it's been in sports, law enforcement or higher education, Abbie has dedicated her career to telling stories that speak of mission, passion and the best parts of human experience. She's been telling Berea's amazing stories since 2017.

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