The DAR School Tour - Berry College

Written by: Joyce Patton, Georgia State Regent
October 12, 2016

When the DAR School Tour Buses rolled onto Berry College’s 27,000-acre campus we were met at the gate by staff and students who served as our Tour Guides. First stop was the Cage Building which houses the indoor sports including an Olympic size pool. The beautiful castle-like buildings built by the hands of the students are a lasting testament to the will, work, and fortitude of Martha Berry, Georgia DAR member and Berry College Founder.

Berry College was rated as one of the most beautiful College Campuses in the world by Buzzfeed. The tour buses meandered through the campus viewing the first log cabin where Martha Berry began her school when a few children came to her house on a Sunday afternoon when she was reading her Bible. The children continued their visit to Miss Berry’s home where she began teaching them to read and write.

We had the opportunity to visit the Mountain Campus and see Frost Chapel. A beautiful stone building with stained glass windows given by the Georgia Daughters in 1953 in memory of the young men who had given their lives during World War ll. The Georgia Daughters plan to restore these historic windows during the next two years.

Martha founded Berry College in 1902, but at the time, it was a boy’s industrial school. In 1904, Martha presented the school to the Daughters at Continental Congress, and successfully earned the first DAR school sponsorship. Since then, with aid from members nationwide, the school rapidly grew, adding a girl’s school, becoming a junior college and, in 1932, graduated its first class as a full four-year college. Berry College educates the “heads, hearts, and hands” of its students who go on to achieve great success as anything from CFOs to nurses and everything in between. This year that mission will extend to current high school students as the College was selected to host the Governor’s Honor Program over the summer.

Martha had a saying “there is a joy in doing good work that the slacker never knows.” Georgia Daughters and members nationwide live an example of this in their constant devotion to Berry and all DAR schools. This year the Berry College Chapel celebrated its 100-year anniversary and the DAR was proud to be an integral part of its celebration. The National Junior Membership Committee, New York’s Le Ray De Chaumont Chapter, and the Georgia State Society all played large parts in chapel’s maintenance during its 100th year, including repairing the bells and providing new pew bibles. Two of Berry’s scholarships are named in honor of two Georgia State Regents.

It was a beautiful evening to have dinner under the stars on the lawn of Martha Berry’s home listening to one of Berry’s choral groups. President General Ann Turner Dillion presented a check to President Steve Briggs in excess of $100,000.00. The Daughters of the American Revolution holds the record for the longest continuous supporter to Berry College. When the buses left Berry College the Daughters were already planning their next visit to this magical place. 

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Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.