I’m pleased to present to you our second annual Impact Report, and the final one of my tenure as president of this storied institution. In it, you’ll find details of Berea College’s strong financial position, the sound management and growth of our endowment, sources of fiscal support and the faithful stewardship of that support. In addition, you’ll discover stories—stories of students, alumni and donors who encountered this place and came away changed because of it.
Change. Change has always been the goal of this college since Rev. John G. Fee founded it as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Fee wanted to change the life of the freed person of color, to change the situations of Appalachian youth, male and female, and to change the heart of a society that was violently reluctant to change. All these years later, change is still at the core of what we do. We still work to change the hearts and minds of people toward a more just and equitable world. We still accept the challenge of changing a student’s financial situation and creating a mindset in that student to strive toward positive change at home and abroad.
To come to Berea is to change. I know because in the past 10 years, I, too, have changed for the better. Berea College showed me it was possible for an entire academic community—students, staff and faculty—to engage with the mission of the College and to embrace it, removing all remaining skepticism I might have had about working in higher education. They believe in this place, and because of them, I believe in it, too, not just because of what they say but because of what I have watched them do over the past decade. Year after year, their faith has increased my faith, and their works have proved it.
Supporting Berea College is supporting change. As you read, you’ll learn how your financial contributions impact students, many of whom are the first in their families to go to college, and what that change in their family trajectories means to them. You’ll find stories of donors, as well, and the remarkable gifts they made to Berea College and what inspired them. Their stories, together with yours, illustrate the profound effects a culture of philanthropy can have on countless lives.
This Impact Report reveals the true, meaningful and lasting change brought about by your support. My hope is that you will enjoy it and share with others so they, too, can learn how to make a real and tangible difference in the lives of hundreds of graduates each year, graduates who go out into the world bent on changing it for the better because of what they learned at Berea College.