November 13 2015 – It’s been 40 years since Fort Valley State’s Class of 1975 marched with their college degrees. This year, the alums are celebrating by giving back to the campus that gave them their start by raising more than $50,000 for the university’s scholarship fund that will help other young people become future Wildcat alums.
“Our initial goal was to raise $100,000, and we’re making a gallant effort toward reaching it,” said Cedric Newberry, co-chair for the Class of 1975 40th Anniversary Celebration. “I don’t know if we’ll quite obtain that, but we’re making a major thrust toward giving it.”
Newberry, along with his co-chair for the Class of 1975 celebration, Rose McRae – a former Miss FVSU – spearheaded the initiative to ask for donations from their classmates. According to McRae, organizers wanted their classmates to donate $25 for every year since their graduation from FVSU, or a total of $1,000 from each graduate.
“Two series of letters were sent out in May and in August, informing our classmates about the upcoming celebration, and asking them for individual contributions,” McRae said. The co-chair said the group met on Saturday, Oct. 31 to determine which areas at the university are in greatest need so they could donate the funding to those areas.
Newberry says he wants to give back to the campus that helped him to succeed in life. After he earned his bachelor’s degree from FVSU in Agronomy, the alum earned his master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin, and took a job with the Monsanto Corporation as a research biologist in 1977. He stayed with the corporation for six years, when he decided to earn his master’s degree in business administration. He left the Monsanto Corporation in 1983 to start his own company: C.C. Newberry Automotive Corporation. The entrepreneur now owns several Meineke Car Care Centers.
“Fort Valley really gave me what I consider a well-rounded education,” Newberry said. “I started in 1971, which was the end of the Vietnam War. Right after the 60s there were some real, turbulent times we were experiencing in this country. I learned a lot about life and dealing with society. There is a reason why they call you a freshman, because I was green and naïve about college life, and they molded me into a really good student. Not only did I perform well, academically, I had a really good time at the university and it was a good environment. I believe other students should experience everything the university has to offer.”
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