PAST SPEAKERS

Bertice Berry
Growing up poor in Wilmington, Delaware, the sixth of seven children, Bertice Berry was told by a high school teacher that she was "not college material.” Fortunately, another teacher believed in her. Berry applied to colleges with no funds to pay tuition. The day her application arrived at Jacksonville University, a wealthy benefactor calld the Admissions Department looking for a potential student "who could swim if they had the right backing.”

Bertice Berry certainly could “swim” – she graduated magna cum laude, and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Kent State University. She became a very popular teacher at Kent, realizing the power of humor in addressing difficult subjects like racism and sexism.

Dr. Berry then became an award-winning lecturer and comedienne, winning the coveted national Comedian of the Year Award several years straight.

Dr. Berry hosted a national talk show, The Bertice Berry Show, and hosted USA Live on the USA Network. She has appeared often on television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and ABC's 20/20.

Dr. Bertice Berry is the author of many best-sellers, including: her memoir, I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head; the hilarious Sckraight From the Ghetto, You Might Be Ghetto If and You STILL Ghetto; her novel Redemption Song; and The Haunting of Hip Hop. Her other books include the award-winning Jim & Louella Homemade Heart-fix Remedy; When Love Calls, You Better Answer; and her family history, The Ties That Bind. A Year to Wellness and Other Weight Loss Secrets shares her journey of losing 150 pounds.

Despite her many honors and achievements, Dr. Berry is most proud of becoming the "instant mother" to her sister's four young children. "When you walk with purpose," Berry says, "you collide with destiny!"