Student Center Atrium to be Named for Margaret Berry

The University of Texas at Austin will name the ground floor atrium in the Student Activity Center for Margaret Berry, an alumna who has long served the university community.

A dedication ceremony will be held Friday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m. A reception will follow.

Throughout her life, Berry, 96, has played many roles on campus: student, administrator, teacher, historian of the university, and friend and mentor to generations of students.

"For decades, Dr. Margaret Berry has been a treasure to The University of Texas, as a historian with a passion for capturing and preserving the essence of the Forty Acres and as a beloved teacher who transmitted that essence to generation after generation of Longhorn students," says President Bill Powers. "It's very appropriate that her name be associated with our campus and its students for years to come."

Berry came to the university in the 1930s, graduating as a history major. After college, she taught high school history and, during school breaks, earned a master's degree from Columbia University.

She returned to Austin in 1961 to work on her Ph.D. She studied student life in the first 50 years of the university. In 1962, Berry became the associate dean of women, the first of her many administrative posts.

Ever the history student, Berry wrote several books about the university.

Her first, published in 1974, was "UT Austin: Traditions and Nostalgia." Others included "The University of Texas: A Pictorial Account of Its First Century," "Brick by Golden Brick: A History of University of Texas Campus Buildings," "UT History 101: Highlights in the History of The University of Texas" and "Scottish Rite Dormitory: A History: 1920-2007."

Berry officially retired in 1980, but remained involved with university life. She taught freshman seminars about university history and served on the Commission of 125, an appointed group of students, faculty members, staffers and alumni, which set priorities and goals for the university for its next 25 years.

Berry's contributions have been recognized by the university and the community at large. She received the Texas Exes Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, and in 2005 she was named "Austin's Most Worthy Citizen."

Opened in 2011, the Student Activity Center, at 2201 Speedway, provides students space for diverse social, cultural, educational and recreational programs.