SAC Atrium, Ceremony Celebrate Berry’s Contributions to UT


Marisa Vasquez

Margaret C. Berry smiles after being surprised by Alpha Phi Omega with a giant Texas flag at the AT&T Conference Center Friday night. Berry was honored earlier that day as the namesake of the ground floor atrium of the Student Activity Center.

David Leffler

After her many contributions to the University, Margaret C. Berry’s presence will now be permanently ingrained on the Forty Acres.

On Friday, President William Powers Jr. announced that the ground floor atrium of the Student Activity Center will be named after Berry. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered outside the activity center to commemorate the event.

Berry, who has been involved with UT for more than 50 years as a staff member, alumna and dedicated mentor, was choked up and at a loss for words.

“I’m overwhelmed. It’s just too much, too much,” she said. “I’m so grateful to all of you for coming, to all of you who’ve done so much.”

Berry said her belief that everyone is capable of succeeding allowed her to play a positive role in so many students’ lives throughout the years.

“Don’t ever count someone out,” she said. “Give them another chance. Don’t ever give up on somebody.”

Berry said the possibilities at UT are endless when we all work together.

“This is a great place to be,” she said. “You make your own place in it when you come, and we can all do the little things that help others.”

Powers said although many superlatives describe Berry, most are insufficient.

“Admiration, respect, gratitude. All of these are accurate, but inadequate descriptions of what is in our hearts this afternoon,” Powers said.

However, Powers said there is one word that is appropriate.

“We thank you Margaret for everything you’ve done and all that you’ve meant for generations of Longhorns,” he said. “But let it be said more plainly. Simply, we love you.”

Several distinguished members of the UT community spoke on Berry’s behalf. This included Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who proclaimed April 13, 2012 as Dr. Margaret C. Berry day.

“This place is named for a woman who is not only one of Austin’s most worthy citizens, but one of UT’s greatest treasures,” Doggett said. “Someone who has never forgotten that the eyes of Texas are upon her.”

Later that night, while Berry was attending a dinner with friends and family at the AT&T Conference Center, she was led out onto its balcony for a surprise. Waiting below the balcony was a giant Texas flag being held by members of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity singing “The Eyes of Texas.”

Following the surprise, Berry said words could not fully describe how she felt. “Incredible,” Berry said. “It was just something else. The whole thing has been hard to believe.”

Kyle Walker, an anthropology and geography senior, has been in APO since last spring and the experience was unique.

“It was very special,” Walker said. “We don’t get to do flag events for personal individuals very often, and Margaret C. Berry was actually an advisor to APO years and years ago.”

Printed on Monday, April 16th, 2012 as: Ceremony at SAC honors Berry's lifetime of contributions to UT