Freed-Hardeman Alum John DeBerry inducted
The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) is proud to announce its second class of Hall of Fame inductees. TICUA and its member institutions have proudly selected 24 alumni, highlighting their contributions to our state, country and world in a variety of disciplines.
One of the inductees is Freed-Hardeman University alum, John DeBerry.
His bio lists him as a former Tennessee state representative, a life-long preacher and a civil rights champion.
His bio states: “John DeBerry has long been an example and inspiration to his alma mater, Freed-Hardeman University, through his public service and preaching. He lives out the values of the university—academic excellence, family, and Christianity—in his daily life.
Born in Memphis in 1951, DeBerry learned at a young age how to navigate the tumultuous times of the American Civil Rights Movement. As a teen DeBerry integrated an all-white school and peacefully marched alongside his father with Martin Luther King Jr. and witnessed his final speech in Memphis.
While studying the Bible at Freed-Hardeman, DeBerry began preaching and continues to minister today. He served as Pastor at Parkway Village Church of Christ for 28 years and is currently the Pastor of Coleman Avenue Church of Christ in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1995, he was elected to serve House District 90 in Memphis as State Representative and was re-elected thirteen times. He also served two terms as the Democrat Caucus Minority Leader Pro Tempore and the Chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State.
In 2020, Governor Bill Lee appointed DeBerry as a senior advisor and cabinet member.DeBerry also has more than twenty-five years of experience as a marketing, advertising, and public relations executive and is president of John J. DeBerry and Associates, which he founded in 2005.
DeBerry was married to his wife, Georgia, for more than 40 years prior to her death in 2015. The DeBerrys have two daughters, Chevida and Victoria.”
TICUA President Dr. Claude Pressnell said, “We launched the TICUA Hall of Fame last year to honor the accomplishments and impact of graduates and the institutions who helped to prepare them. We are proud to once again recognize an astounding group of alumni who have made significant contributions to their institutions, communities, and society. Their stories are worthy of recognition and accolade and, on behalf of our member institutions, we are proud to offer this small token of our appreciation for their achievements.”
The 2021 class of inductees includes civil rights and women’s rights activists; veterans; civic and faith leaders; news, entertainment, and business professionals; and passionate philanthropic and humanitarian leaders, all hailing from Tennessee private non-profit institutions.
Other TICUA Hall of Fame Class of 2021 are:
Dr. C.T. Vivian – American Baptist College
Steve Bachus – Aquinas College
Denese Shumaker – Baptist Health Sciences University
Harry Allen – Belmont University
Dr. Ken Hanna – Bryan College
Ted Russell – Carson-Newman University
Joe Birch – Christian Brothers University
Howell Edmunds Jackson – Cumberland University
Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni – Fisk University
Dr. Martha Raile Alligood – Johnson University
Dr. Catherine Peeke – King University
Donald Hollowell – Lane College
Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon – Meharry Medical College
Nathaniel Owens – Sewanee: The University of the South
Terry Shaw – Southern Adventist University
Dr. Glen Steele – Southern College of Optometry
Dr. Lynn Massingale – Tennessee Wesleyan University
Dr. Melvin Welch – Trevecca Nazarene University
Dr. Larry Brotherton – Tusculum University
Dr. George Savage – Union University