President and company founder, Dr. Charlie Elrod shares his special connection with Berry College.
“Today, I was honored to be present for the dedication of the new Animal Science Department building at Berry College. Animal Science is the largest major within the college, which was founded with deep agricultural roots. It was incredibly meaningful to me that we were also able to honor my grandfather, Julius Elrod, by naming one of the student teaching labs in his memory. My grandfather joined the Berry College agriculture faculty in the early 1930’s and, with my grandmother, was a lifelong supporter of the programs at Berry. Their legacy today includes an endowed scholarship which provides funding for a dozen or more animal science students at Berry each year. My father, who graduated from Berry in the late 1930’s was, with my mother, also a lifelong supporter of Berry. In addition to funding this lab, my parents have endowed a scholarship program supporting several Education students each year. During my sophomore year at Berry, I took a hiatus to build and operate a dairy through the early 80’s. Returning to Berry with a wife and young daughter, I benefitted from the generosity of Berry’s friends and alumni in the form of scholarships which allowed me to graduate debt free. While there, I had the opportunity to help manage the renowned Berry Jersey herd, breed cows in the beef cattle program and also to work in the expansive 20,000+ acre forestry program. These were all experiences which are ingrained in Berry’s heritage and the incredible student work program. The lessons and experience I gained there helped to instill in me a strong work ethic, a sense of meaningful work well done, and a deep appreciation for Berry’s emphasis on educating the hearts, hands and minds of its students. So today, my wife Lori and I began the process of creating the Elrod Animal Science Entrepreneur Award. This award will help support students from the Animal Science Department who are also participating in Berry’s Entrepreneurship program. This is just one small way for us to pay it forward to students of the future, but also to pay it back for the support we were shown very early in my career in animal science.”