By Faythe Choate, Berry College Public Relations Student Assistant 

Berry College has awarded its first-ever Sullivan Scholarship to a freshman with a passion for animal welfare – animal science major Hailey McMahon. She has been awarded $10,000 annually for her four years of study at Berry, the Sullivan Foundation partner school recently announced.

Sullivan Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate model character and a commitment to service above self, aligning with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s ideal traits of character, including honesty, morality, ethics, responsibility, determination, courage and compassion.

Before coming to Berry, McMahon was involved in youth leadership and volunteered in her school’s Biology Club, cleaning animal cages and coordinating events for elementary school students. She also worked with a Marine Science Station to replant eel-grass and assisted with hurricane clean-up in Florida. McMahon cares deeply about animals, specifically felines. She hopes to use her time at Berry as a Sullivan Scholar to explore and promote animal welfare in the community.

“I’m researching organizations in Rome (Ga.) that have trap, neuter and return programs,” McMahon said. “Every cat deserves a chance to thrive. Just because they may not live in your home doesn’t mean they’re not worthy.”

this photo depicts Hailey McMahon, winner of the Sullivan Scholarship at Berry College

Hailey McMahon, who earned the first-ever Sullivan Scholarship at Berry College, majors in animal science. (Photo by Bryan Chamberlain/Berry College)

Students apply for the Sullivan Scholarship with an essay detailing their careers of service, leadership and community outreach. Recipients are asked to remain in good academic standing. Recipients are also expected to actively participate in community engagement such as service, community-based research, or social entrepreneurship.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s roots date back to the 1880s when U.S. President Grover Cleveland and a group of other influential persons created the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to honor those that inspire a life of integrity and service. Recipients include First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers” fame, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, to name a few. In addition to the award, the Foundation has been funding service-based Sullivan Scholarships at colleges across the American South since 1925.

The Sullivan Foundation remains dedicated to alleviating socio-economic issues. Today, the Foundation remains as strong as ever and is expanding the reach of the Sullivan spirit by focusing on social entrepreneurship education, which equips universities, students and community members with the tools necessary to apply business models to social issues.

“I have a strong belief that this program will help me achieve so many wonderful things throughout my years here at Berry and those that follow,” McMahon wrote. “I can’t wait to further develop my leadership skills and social skills and to really dive into how I can help my community.”

Nationally recognized for academic excellence and as an outstanding educational value, Berry College is an independent, coeducational, comprehensive liberal arts college of approximately 2,100 students. For more than a century, the college has offered an exceptional education that balances intellectual exploration, practical learning, and character development. Its 27,000-acre campus is the world’s largest. Visit




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