Distinguished Alumni Awards

Excellence in Our Ranks

About the Distinguished Alumni Awards

On an annual basis, the Berry Alumni Association solicits nominations for four Distinguished Alumni Awards. Learn more about the requirements for each of these awards below.


This award shall be given to a nominee who has achieved success far beyond average.

Distinction may be interpreted as: Notability for outstanding leadership or success within a locale, recognition or honors within an occupational or professional field, or outstanding leadership within a significant organization above local level.


This award shall be given for selfless service over and beyond normal obligations. Requirements are as follows:

  1. The service must have been of significant value, although it may have attracted little public attention or recognition.
  2. The length of involvement in this type of service shall be noted. (For example, a service rendered over forty years would have more weight than service for a period of a year.)


This award shall be given to an outstanding young alumni based on the following criteria:

  1. The nominee must have attended Berry within the past twenty years.
  2. Outstanding distinction in one's career and/or community will characterize the recipient.
  3. The recipient shall have made contributions to the general welfare of his/her community and represent Berry's motto of "not to be ministered unto; but to minister."
  4. Service contributions to Berry will be considered. These contributions may include involvement in alumni chapters, participation in alumni events, volunteer service in various projects, and /or membership on the Alumni Council.


This award shall be given for significant contribution to the advancement of a business or enterprise with the following criteria:

  1. This individual demonstrated a commitment to turn a vision into reality, the courage to assume risks, and the ability to make changes and take advantage of new opportunities.
  2. The length of time the individual has been involved, as well as the role played, will be considered. (For example, involvement over a period of years would be more significant than involvement for a year.)

2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners


Berry Alumni Winner Dr. Beverly A. Smith

Dr. Beverly Philpot Smith (69C, FFS)

An educator and active civic leader whose passion for inspiring others and strong belief in fair play and respect led her to excel in 38 years of multifaceted leadership roles for Floyd County public schools before joining her alma mater - where she was one of the first two African American graduates - as director of the Pathways to Teaching program; sits on multiple community boards, including the Floyd Polk Health Foundation.


Berry Alumni Award Karen Houghton

Karen Houghton (01C)

An entrepreneur who has founded both a nonprofit and a software company and currently impacts thousands of lives as vice president of Atlanta Tech Village - America's fourth-largest technology startup hub with more than 7,500 jobs created and $1 billion+ in funds raised in its first seven years; also serves as a venture partner with software-startup capital investment firm Atlanta Ventures and was named Women in Technology's 2019 Woman of the Year.


Berry Alumni Award Dr. Melanie Bliss

Dr. Melanie Bliss (96C)

A clinical psychologist who has dedicated her life to promoting awareness of violence against women and children and serving the underserved; actively seeks to create systemic societal change through public speaking and writing, training police officers, educating juries, and testifying in courtroom cases and depositions; works in private practice at the THRIVE Center for Psychological Health in Decatur, Ga.


Berry Alumni Award Chad Michael Nash

Chad Michael Nash (13C, FFS)

A creative nonprofit professional who first was the engine behind Berry's Save a Student Scholarship and Young Alumni Partnership Program and then raised direct-mail revenues 200% for EARTH University, a school based in Costa Rica dedicated to educating young leaders from developing nations about sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship; now works as manager of corporate relations and individual giving for Park Pride, helping Atlanta communities activate the power of neighborhood parks.

Meet our previous Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Nominate a Berry Alumna/us

To nominate a deserving alumna/us for one of the four annual Distinguished Alumni Awards, complete and submit the nomination form below, or print, complete and mail the form to the Office of Alumni Relations at P.O. Box 495018, Mount Berry, GA 30149-5018.

Nominations should be submitted before October 31 to be considered for that academic year. Winners are announced and inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame during Alumni Weekend each year, and nominees not selected remain on the Distinguished Awards slate for a period of three years.

I've Been Nominated

If you have been nominated for an alumni award, please complete a nominee information form:

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