Headshot of Abbie Darst
Dear Berea Alumni and Friends,

Everyone’s heard the saying, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” A great image can convey a depth of emotion, reaction and understanding that words often fail to capture. However, as a lifelong writer, I will never underestimate the sway words have over the human soul. As Nathanial Hawthorne once said, “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

In this issue of the Berea College magazine, we sought to not only combine words to inform and entertain our readers, but to fuse them with historical images from the depths of Berea’s archives to bring to life stories of College history—some little known or little understood.

It’s hard to decide if my favorite part of these stories was the research put into each one or connecting the past to the present. We spent many days in the library’s Special Collections and Archives digging through more than a century’s worth of photos. We spent hours leafing through old documents, letters and books and arranged a dozen interviews with faculty, staff and alumni from decades gone. All the research and conversations were fascinating, but we also talked to those faculty, staff and students leaving their mark on today’s campus. Hearing their stories of struggle and growth as they related their Berea experience was captivating, motivating and, often, humbling.

As you scroll down your screen, I hope you connect to the voices and experiences you encounter. Join us in celebrating our newest cohort of faculty of color entering our ranks this fall semester, giving the College the largest number of faculty of color it has ever seen. You will learn about the early pioneers in diversifying Berea’s faculty and the way their experiences and knowledge have shaped the Berea experience for generations of students.

For nearly every alumnus who has come through Berea, the TRUE story of Berea’s undefeated-since-1907 football team will clarify the legends that have surrounded the beloved sport, which has become a staple of Berea’s intramural sports program.

Discover the story of one of our young alumni who is taking the fashion industry by storm. Find out how Derek DeAndre ’13 became a two-time semi-finalist on the hit TV show “Project Runway,” and what he’s doing today.

And explore the first album recorded in 1971 by Berea’s Black Ensemble—now known as the Black Music Ensemble. Be sure to follow the link provided to listen to their inspiring voices on the album.

There are so many more enthralling stories in this issue. I hope you find as much joy in reading them as we did bringing them to life.

Abbie Tanyhill Darst ’03
Director of Publications and Media Relations and Editor


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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