New chapter begins after 45 years
Perhaps Dr. Charles Berry’s approach to life and work is illustrated most compellingly on the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains. He once summited four 14,000-foot peaks in one week, declaring to his weary trail companions, “We’ve got to get to the top!”
That drive and perseverance have been steady companions throughout Berry’s long career at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. A March 8 retirement reception celebrated his 45 years of dedication to students, staff and faculty.
“Charles is a steadfast leader and determined optimist,” said Dean Lawrence Wolinsky at the reception, highlighting Berry’s commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes. “He challenges those around him to stretch themselves as well. Thank you, Charles, for putting your heart and soul into our college.”
After joining the faculty in 1973 as assistant professor, Berry, who holds a doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry from Baylor University, taught the microbiology course and lab, mentored summer research projects with students and rose through the administrative ranks, ultimately spending 17 years as associate dean for academic affairs.
Most recently, as special assistant to the dean, he focused on accreditation, coordinating the self-study for the 2018 Commission on Dental Accreditation site visit. His tenacity was evident over that intensive two-year stretch, including the “all-nighter” he pulled to answer site visitors’ questions before their final day on campus.
Of Berry’s career highlights, being named Teacher of the Year in 1991 ranks right at the top. Another high point, he says, is participating as a member or chair of college committees and ensuring smooth operations and a voice for everyone.
“I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of an institution that cares about people,” Berry says. “I’ve been so amazed by things people have mentioned to me recently about how they were helped, their problem was solved or I helped them get through a difficult situation I had long since forgotten. It’s been something to savor.”
This newly appointed professor emeritus will continue as an adjunct professor at the college and CODA curriculum site visitor for the American Dental Association. First up, though, is spending time with his five grandchildren — ages 3 to 11 — and a sixth on the way in July.
“My time in retirement will provide me the opportunity to be a resource and counsel to them as they grow up,” Berry says.