Spartanburg, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Upstate will hold its annual Freshman Convocation on Wednesday, September 2 at 10:00 a.m. in the G.B. Hodge Gymnasium. Nationally-known speaker Dr. Bertice Berry will deliver the keynote address to the 850 freshman students, the largest freshman class in University history.
“This is an important milestone for our newest students marking the beginning of their college career,” said Dr. Marsha Dowell, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at USC Upstate. “Freshman Convocation is a wonderful event to begin our academic year, especially as we celebrate the introduction of a new class of students into our community of scholars.”
Dowell thinks the students will relate to and be inspired by Dr. Bertice Berry, a sociologist who uses her inspirational humor to make audiences think and laugh at the same time. A former professor of sociology and statistics at Kent State University, Berry left Kent to become an award-winning entertainer, lecturer and comedienne. From 1991 through 1994 she won the coveted national Comedian of the Year Award, and was also named Campus Lecturer of the Year and Campus Entertainer of the Year. She had created a niche as both a gifted speaker with a comic edge and a comic with a serious message. Her busy schedule included over 200 appearances a year.
"A colleague said to me, 'You're funny’, and I said, 'No I'm not, I'm a scholar," recounts Dr. Berry. It was then that she realized by using humor in her lectures to address such difficult subjects as racisms and sexism she was making a more profound impact.