Berry College Vice President for Advancement Bettyann O’Neill has announced she will retire by the end of this year.
O’Neill is getting married and relocating to Florida. According to Berry President Steve Briggs, her departure represents a significant loss for Berry and the Rome community, for she has served both well.
O’Neill has held many leadership roles in and beyond the Rome/Floyd County community, including service with Rotary on the district level and as a club president and co-chair of the Rotary Foundation. She chaired the Board of Directors of Floyd Healthcare Resources and served as a director for Coosa Valley Technical College, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, Rome YMCA and the Advisory Board of Wachovia Bank. Additionally, she chaired the Greater Rome Chamber Business, Service and Technology Committee and was a member of the Citizens for Excellence in Government Executive Committee. She is currently a lector at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Her honors and awards include the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Women of Excellence Award, Berry College Alumni Association President’s Award, Rotary Foundation Leadership Award and the W. Lee Arrendale Award, the highest level of Rotary recognition at the district level.
O’Neill came to Berry in 1994 as assistant dean in the Campbell School of Business. In 1999 she accepted a pivotal role at Berry when President Scott Colley challenged her to lead Berry’s advancement division into a new era.
O’Neill developed the team that launched and successfully executed the largest fundraising campaign in Berry history, the $107 million Century Campaign. Next came the Campaign for the Cage, followed by the current LifeReady Campaign, which already has amassed more than $102 million on behalf of Berry students.
“In the days and weeks ahead, we will determine how we will move forward to fill the void her departure will create,” Briggs said. “Her efforts to support the college’s most critical strategic initiatives have left an indelible mark on Berry’s firsthand educational experiences and have transformed the face of the campus physically.”
Among the many projects O’Neill has worked to fund on behalf of Berry students over the last 23 years are the McAllister Hall science center, Cage Center, new theatre, Valhalla stadium and Kilpatrick Commons. Under her leadership, more than $235 million has been committed by alumni and friends to advance Martha Berry’s vision and mission, including more than $65 million in support of student scholarships. Among her most prized honors was receipt of honorary status as a Berry alumna.
“Berry college and Rome will always hold a special place in my heart,” O’Neill said.