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Berry makes planned gift to support UA Little Rock STEM students

Dr. Brian Berry, vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School, has made a planned gift, currently valued at about $50,000, to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to support the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

“I love this institution, and I love its mission,” Berry said. “This place has meant a lot to me. I am a first-generation college student. I couldn’t even dream of a Ph.D. when I first got here, but this place gave me more to dream about. I got hooked into chemistry and research, and I decided to get my Ph.D. I’ve always been thankful for the opportunities that UA Little Rock has given to me, and it’s natural to want to establish something to give back to the institution that has given me so much.”

The Dr. Brian Berry Endowed Scholarship for the Sciences will provide funds for undergraduate UA Little Rock students who are majoring in the sciences in the Donaghey College of STEM for education-related expenses, including tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

“The great thing about being in STEM is there are so many opportunities,” Berry said. “Majoring in STEM gives you a broad-based education. Moving into the future, a STEM major gives you a lot of possibilities. The skills that you learn are transferable to so many different areas. The future is consistently moving in a technological direction. STEM majors will be set up well to achieve great things as society continues to move in that direction.”

Dr. Lawrence Whitman, dean of the Donaghey College of STEM, thanked Berry for providing students a way to achieve their dream of a college education.

“Our college reaches students from many backgrounds with different needs,” Whitman said. “This scholarship is a welcome addition for our students who would not previously be able to complete a science degree, but will now have a scholarship opportunity to fulfill their dream of a career in the sciences.”

Berry earned a Ph.D. in applied science/chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, both from UA Little Rock. He completed a postdoc at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a National Research Council postdoc fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) before returning to UA Little Rock as an assistant professor of organic chemistry in 2008. He’s served as the graduate coordinator and chair of the Department of Chemistry as well as the director of the Applied Science Program at UA Little Rock. 

Berry’s advice for students to be successful in college is to choose a major that they love.

“My parents never pushed me in a particular direction,” Berry said. “They told me to find something that you love, and you’ll never do a day of work in your life. That is what I would encourage students to do. Find something that you love and are passionate about, and everything will fall into place after that.”