The dignitaries who were present at the funeral of Dr. Charles A. Berry Jr. show the esteem he was held in by Grambling State University and the significance of his contributions to higher education in general.
The funeral for Dr. Berry was held Monday at Lewis Temple C.M.E. Church in Grambling. He died March 20 at the age of 83.
He was dean of GSU’s College of Education before he left to become president of Jarvis Christian College, a post he held from 1980 to 1988.
In attendance at Dr. Berry’s funeral were GSU President Dr. Horace Judson, Dr. Lamore Carter, former president of Wiley College and one-time vice president for Academic Affairs at GSU, and Dr. Sebetha Jenkins, current president of Jarvis Christian.
Dr. Mildred Gallot, a member of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, also attended the funeral.
"To me, Dr. Berry was one of the finest deans we’ve had in the College of Education," said secretary Hannah McCarty. "He was strong and firm, yet pleasant, honest and fair. His commitment to education made him stand out above all others."
Louis Frazier remembered Dr. Berry for his service to the university and students.
"Several programs were institutionalized under Dr. Berry’s guidance at Grambling State University," said the GSU retiree. "He encouraged the neighborhood young men to stay in school … . He had an open door policy and he would never say no, as long as he could help you," Frazier said.
Dr. Loretta Jaggers, a professor of education, said Dr. Berry was "a dynamic and dedicated teacher and administrator."
"He demonstrated exemplary qualities of an excellent educator as he worked with students, parents and colleagues," Dr. Jaggers said.
Dr. Berry was an alumnus of Jarvis Christian, where he received his bachelor of science degree in 1942. He was awarded a master of social work degree from Atlanta University in 1947, and a doctorate in education from the University of Indiana in 1954.
Dr. Berry had a long and distinguished career in higher education, beginning with his post of instructor and dean of men at Bishop College in 1947-48.
From there, he moved on the Alcorn A&M University until 1954, holding the positions of associate professor, dean of students and head of the Department of Education.
Dr. Berry worked at Grambling State University in 1954-1965, 1966-1970 and 1971-1980. His jobs at GSU included manager of Favrot Student Union; professor and head of the Department of Secondary Education; and dean of the College of Education.
He served as a visiting professor at the University of California Berkeley in 1966 and was coordinator of the Training Trainers of Teachers Project at Texas Southern University in 1970-1971.
Dr. Berry was also an adjunct professor at Kansas State University from 1977 to 1980.
After retiring from Jarvis Christian in 1988, he became president emeritus.
He held and maintained many professional and religious affiliations. Among them were the American Association of University Professors, Phi Delta Kappa, National Education Association, American Association of Educational Research, and Commission on Multicultural Education.
Dr. Berry was a charter member of the Louisiana Educational Research Association and the National Teacher Examinations Policy Council. He served on the boards of directors of the Texas Association of Developing Colleges, where he was chairman; the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education; the United Negro College Fund; the Church Finance Council and the Division of Higher Education for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.
He also served as president of the Texas Association of Developing Colleges and vice president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education.
During his tenure as president of Jarvis Christian, the college increased its endowments four-fold, and he oversaw the construction of a $1.7 million Religious and Cultural Center.
Returning to Grambling in 1988 after his retirement, he joined the chapter of the American Association of Retired Teachers and became a certified ombudsman and served as a volunteer at nursing homes in Ruston.
Dr. Berry is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sarah Janet Berry, son Charles Berry III and daughter Monica Berry.