College President Stephen R. Briggs an-nounced to faculty and staff Tuesday thathe has been working through a medicalcondition known as myasthenia gravis(MG) since mid-August.The announcement was made at 3:20p.m. via an email entitled “Personal Letterfrom Steve Briggs to the Berry Faculty-Staff Community.”MG, according to the Myasthenia GravisFoundation of America, Inc. (MGFA), is a“chronic autoimmune neuromuscular dis-
order that is characterized by uctuating
weakness of the voluntary muscle groups”and, as stated in Briggs’ email, is not con-sidered “degenerative or life-threatening.”Briggs added that MG does not causeany pain or numbness, nor does it impair brain functioning. However, it does result
in “signicant muscular weakness.”
“At present, I am working with special-ists at the Harbin Clinic and the Universityof Alabama Birmingham Medical School toinitiate and sustain remission,” Briggs saidin the email. “The process has been encour-aging, and the doctors are optimistic that astable remission can be achieved by 2013.”The symptoms of MG, which can followa pattern of remissions and relapses, aretypically treated with daily medication tomanage muscle weakness.
Briggs said he rst dealt with MG when
symptoms of it occurred in 1986, whenhe was 30 years old. The symptoms “pro-gressed rapidly over the course of severalmonths,” but he underwent surgery to re-move a tumor of the thymus gland, whichresulted in complete remission in 1988. Thisremission lasted for more than 20 years.This year, however, the symptomsreturned.“In January of this year, I experiencedsome minor eye symptoms (double-visionand a droopy eyelid) that all but disap-peared by mid-July. In mid-August, myMG symptoms returned in a generalizedform, involving rapid muscle fatigue andmotor weakness,” Briggs told faculty andstaff. “Currently, day-to-day challengescenter on my arms, hands and upper legs,whereas complications in the openingweeks of school involved more my voice,eyes and general fatigue.”Despite these complications, Briggs saidhe has remained active at work “with somemodest adjustments.”“In general, the adjustments have in-volved sharing on-campus responsibilitiesand speaking roles with members of mycabinet and other campus leaders so that Ican focus my efforts on the college’s com-prehensive campaign and related priori-ties,” Briggs said.This sharing of responsibilities entailsintentional planning with Briggs’ schedule,to ensure that other college leaders—suchas vice presidents, deans and others—are
present at each event, so that any uctua
-tion in Briggs’ strength will not interfere.“These leaders are all gifted and deeplycommitted to Berry, and perhaps the bestthing that has happened this fall is thatthey have been able to step forward andshare in these opportunities,” Briggs said.“I have realized that we are professionallystronger as a team today because of myphysical weakness these last two months.”Vice President for Student Affairs andDean of Students Debbie Heida said the biggest change as a result of Briggs’ MGwill be that he may not be seen as oftenaround campus.“He is one of the most involved campuspresidents in the life of the campus I haveever known,” Heida said. “And in this pe-riod of healing for him and recovery, youwon’t see him as often.”Heida added, however, that Briggs hasalready been working with this conditionfor two months, which is indicative of whatthings will continue to look like.“If you haven’t seen much differencein how the college has been functioningsince (the middle of August), and how hehas been interacting since then, it’s a goodindication we still have his leadership, hispresence and he’ll do what he can,” Heidasaid.
Volume 104 ∙ October 25, 2012 ∙ Number 8
Please recycle our paper.
Fact of the Week:
The lion used inthe original MGMmovie logo killed itstrainer and two as-sistants the day after
the logo was lmed.
President supported through medical condition
Stadium receives name, frst donation
Berry alumnus Stephen J. Cage (74) haspledged $2.5 million to kick off fundraisingfor construction of the new football stadium.Cage, also the major benefactor of the CageCenter, announced his donation at the Boardof Trustees meeting Saturday, Oct. 20.
According to a press release from the ofce
of public relations, Cage has named the sta-dium “Valhalla” after the Great Hall of Vikingwarriors according to Norse mythology.Dean of Students Debbie Heida said shewill be working with the Student GovernmentAssociation (SGA) to coordinate an effort torename the Valhalla meal area in Krannert.“We’re planning on creating a contest forstudents to come up with a new name for thecurrent Valhalla,” Heida said.The planned stadium will seat 1,200 andwill include concessions, viewing and press boxes. The stadium will also feature Clark Track, named for Board of Trustees memberand alumnus Bert Clark (82), who has com- bined his donations with fellow board mem- ber and alumnus Roger Lusby (79), in antici-
pation of adding a track and eld team in the
future. Heida said there are plans to start a
track and eld team in fall 2014.
The date that construction will begin will bedetermined after the location for the stadium
is nalized and more donations are secured.
The construction project will also includea renovation of Richards Gymnasium into a
football practice eld house with a weight
-room, locker rooms and a neighboring prac-
Stephen R. Briggs announces relapse of non-life-threatening myasthenia gravis to faculty, staff
Berry’s annual HIV/AIDSAwareness Week sponsored bythe Black Student Association(BSA) was last Wednesday Oct. 17to Saturday Oct. 20. BSA co-pres-ident and junior Nina Pelletiersaid that in years past, BSA raisedmoney to pay for a trip to Atlantafor the annual AIDS walk, but thisyear the walk fell on Berry’s fall break. Instead, on campus eventsfor fundraising and educating
took place. This marks the rst
year that the BSA has conductedan on campus Awareness Week within the Berry community.This year’s HIV/AIDS Aware-ness Week was also separatefrom those in the past because of its collaboration with the Romecommunity.
Bert Clark, Roger Lusby, Victor and Steve Cage gather
in front of the Cage Center afterannouncing their donations to the stadium and track.
CONTRIBUTED BY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
“I have realized that we are professionally stronger as ateam today because of my physical weakness these last two months.”
PRESIDENT STEPHEN R. BRIGGS
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