The seeds of education and hard work planted in Charlie Hudson (62C) during his years at Berry blossomed into a successful career as an educator. Today, they continue to bear fruit as the loyal Martha Berry Society member gives to provide opportunities for others to attend his beloved alma mater.
Tilling Fertile Ground
Charlie came from a small town, and in his family, "no one had even thought about going to college." But the young man drew the attention of and encouragement from Tom Glover (50C), then dean of admissions at Berry. "Tom brought me the application and even mailed it for me."
Once on campus, Charlie discovered a passion for education and developed a work ethic that would serve him well throughout his life. One class experience that he still recalls more than six decades later taught him how one teacher can impact a life.
"My literature teacher was Ms. Eleanor B. North, who was noted for her poetry. Every day, she would write a quote on the board and would have us write the quotes in our notebooks. She called them our safe kept memories. My favorite, which I've thought about a lot over the years, was 'I believe in miracles because I have watched a small seed grow, from out the ground, where nothing was, into a Golden Glow.'"
The Small Seed Grows
Charlie saw the seed of education grow in his own life throughout his career as a teacher and school administrator. He served as principal at West Rome High School before being named assistant superintendent for the Gwinnett County Schools. Along the way, he earned his doctorate in education.
Throughout his professional life, he relied on the strong work ethic Berry instilled in him while he had held several on-campus jobs from working on the grounds crew at Ford to the garden crew and from working in the laundry to hauling food to the hog farm.
"I learned that, no matter what, get to work on time and do a good job."
Seeing the Golden Glow
Now, as he reflects on his time at Berry, Charlie encourages his fellow alumni to give to Berry and see if they can increase their giving over the years.
"I wish I had started giving earlier. I would encourage everyone to start small and give what they can. Then, let it grow as they are able."
Through the years, Charlie has supported numerous initiatives at Berry, including the theatre and student scholarships. He has also returned home to Berry for several reunions, including a recent visit to campus with his best friend and former Berry roommate Glenn Cornell (62C). This experience was different from their time as students; they stayed in the guest cottages and played golf nearby. They discovered some things - like friendship and "seeing all the deer and a skunk" - were exactly the same.
The Martha Berry Society is a special group of alumni and friends whose collective generosity ensures that Berry remains a place of opportunity for students from all walks of life.