Energetic Alumnae Embrace Three Board of Trustees Seats

July 10, 2006

Nowhere is it written that after graduating from Mary Baldwin University, one must remain connected to the institution. No legal documents are signed committing alumnae/i to devote their time, energy, and funds to help the college grow and evolve. Fortunately, many do it anyway. They are the men and women who represent Mary Baldwin at events, unfailingly donate to the Annual Fund, open their homes for college events, and give countless other gifts. Three alumnae took the next step in their service to the college, joining the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees July 1. Spanning four decades as students at the college, Charlotte Jackson Berry ’51, Kelly Huffman Ellis ’80, and Kellie Warner ’90 will officially be welcomed to the Board during its July meeting.

Charlotte Berry '51Charlotte Jackson Berry ’51actually isn’t new to the Board at all. She served nearly 30 years (1976 to 2005), stepped down from the position for only a year, and rejoins the group as vice chair. It would be a challenge to find a woman more passionate about or devoted to Mary Baldwin University.

“I’m very enthusiastic about being back on the Board to work on many things, the key ones for me being promoting civic engagement and participation, and enhancing development efforts by encouraging women to give back to their alma mater,” Berry said. She is also looking forward to seeing the progress of the campus master plan. “When I graduated, Sky High and the Covered Way were still fixtures on campus. It will be fascinating to watch this unfold and give students opportunities the likes of which we didn’t have,” she said.

Just months ago Berry delivered her second Mary Baldwin Commencement address, entertaining the audience with experiences from a life of service and volunteerism. Berry has taken on a staggering number of volunteer roles for the college as well as for other organizations of interest to her. As an alumna, she has been president of the Mary Baldwin Alumnae/i Association and served as membership chair of the Advisory Board of Visitors in addition to her service as a trustee. Berry was honored as Woman of the Year in 1981 in Asheville, North Carolina in recognition of her community activism that included membership in some 20 civic and service organizations, among them leadership in the national United Way and the American Red Cross. Berry continues to be involved in those major organizations, and her most recent efforts include working with a Charlottesville-based organization that records books for the blind and dyslexic, and with a leadership training program called South Carolina Youth Corps.

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“I arrived at Mary Baldwin as a tentative freshman — lacking confidence and unsure of my place in the world,” saidKelly Huffman Ellis ’80, another of the most recent additions to the Board. “I left campus, after completing four years, a much more mature, confident, and empowered young woman.”

The college’s “positive force,” in Ellis’ life, as she says, drives her continued involvement in the college as it continues to make a difference in young women’s lives. She is a former Alumnae/i Board of Directors member who has held alumnae/i events at her home in Roanoke, Virginia, and chaired her class reunion gift committee in 2005. A psychology major as a student, she was a cartoonist for the student newspaper, a resident advisor, vice president of the senior class, a member of Psi Chi, and a Big Sister to an 8-year-old girl. These days, Ellis is passionate about travel as an endless source of knowledge, and she is involved in organizations such as Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, Roanoke Valley Garden Club, and Junior League of the Roanoke Valley, among others.

Ellis is eager to be part of the buildings and ground committee as the college enters another period of intense physical transformation. “I was at Mary Baldwin during a time of great change with the college and its physical campus. I think the current plans to unite the upper and lower campus are ambitious and well thought out,” she said.

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Kellie Warner '90Kellie Warner ’90recently embraced not one, but two, new leadership positions at Mary Baldwin University. As the freshly elected president of the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors, her primary responsibility is motivating and engaging more than 12,000 Mary Baldwin alumnae/i nationwide. That title also confers a non-voting (ex officio) seat on the college’s governing board, one Warner is already relishing as an opportunity to learn more about the Board’s decision-making process and vision for the future of the college. She is specifically interested in guiding two major projects: strengthening the college’s financial endowment and implementing the campus master plan, Renewing Our Environment.

“[Dr. Fox’s] vision is going to take the college to tremendous places. The plans are as aggressive as they are exciting,” Warner said, referring to the 2005 strategic plan and more recent campus master plan.

Warner has been skirting the globe since graduation, making time for visits to Bali, Italy, and Mauritius (an island near Africa in the Indian Ocean) between career relocations and travels in Hong Kong, Mexico City, England, and South Korea. She started working with First Data in credit card processing after graduation from Mary Baldwin and received her first taste of international living and learning. She later took a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and currently works with Bank of America, where she is leading the company’s expansion in Asian markets for credit card processing technology.

After five years on the Alumnae/i Board, Warner said leading that organization and sitting on the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees “feel like natural steps. It may sound trite, but it really is an honor and a privilege for me to serve this college.”