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DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT: ALEXANDER “WHIT” WHITAKER (81C, FFS)

Alexander "Whit" Whyte Whitaker (81C) first arrived on campus in 1966 at six years old when his father came to Berry as an English Professor. He grew up on campus and graduated in 1981. Five days later, he traveled to Rhode Island for Officer Candidate School, beginning his 25-year career in the United States Navy. When a position opened at Berry College in 2007, he retired from the Navy as a Captain and joined Berry's Advancement Office as Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts before transitioning to Chief of Staff and Board and Corporate Secretary, positions he held from 2008 until 2016. He participated in most of the large strategic decisions at Berry throughout the past decade and in the planning of most of the building projects during that time, including preservation and restoration projects for Roosevelt Cabin, the Cabin in the Pines, the World War I memorial, Martha Berry's piano, Martha Berry's gravesite, and more. Upon his departure in 2016, Berry's Board of Trustees named him Secretary to the Board Emeritus.

Education has been a centerpiece of Whit's career. He received a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988; Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1996; Master of Arts in Religion from the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 2012; and Master of Theology from Duke University in 2018. After serving as a Navy Special Duty Intelligence Officer from 1982 until 1985, he completed the Law Education Program at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988, then served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps for the rest of his Navy career. Today, he serves as the President, chief executive officer, and ex officio member of the university Board of Trustees at King University.

Throughout his exemplary career, Whit has always focused on serving and mentoring others, with one fellow alumni saying that he "always made his lifetime of achievement about enabling the achievements of others." He has received numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards). He has also held countless civic, community, and professional leadership positions, including as a founding member, parish chancellor, and adult church school teacher of the St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Rome, GA. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Trinity School for Ministry; the Board of Directors for the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Bristol, the Appalachian College Association, and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association; the President's Committee for the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas; and as a member of the Rotary Club of Bristol Virginia/Tennessee.


Always Berry