John W. Coleman (04C)
Award: 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Achievements: It would be difficult to find a young alumnus who has fulfilled the early promise he showed at Berry College as much as John Coleman. At the age of 30, John has distinguished himself as a scholar, a writer, public speaker, and management consultant, all the while doing credit to his alma mater with dedication to the service of others.
“I think that John Coleman reflects the best that we have to offer – an engaged critical thinker who masters several genres,” says Robert Randolph Richardson, director of the forensics program at Berry.
Since graduating Berry with a 4.0 GPA, John earned an MBA at Harvard Business School and an MPA at Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard, he was awarded numerous fellowships, including the prestigious Zuckerman Fellowship, a full-tuition fellowship for public leadership, and the George Fellowship, also for leadership.
Upon graduation, he was awarded as a Baker Scholar, the school’s highest academic honor, received one of only eight Dean’s Awards, Harvard Business School’s highest award for Leadership and Service, and was honored as Class Day speaker.
John has also done credit to his National Forensic Association Pentathlon award as the nation’s overall college public speaking champion, which he won while leading the Forensics Union at Berry. He has received more than 100 awards for public speaking, and has spoken in forums around the world including Seoul National University in South Korea and George Mason University. His speech at Berry’s Mountain Day in 2010 was so well received that the college took the unusual step of printing it in Berry magazine.
An avid and talented writer, John has published two books and dozens of articles, essays, and reviews. His first book, How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator was published by Crossway Books in 2009, while his second book, Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders was published by Harvard Business Review Press in 2011. The latter has received coverage in numerous outlets including the LA Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and Fast Company.
At Harvard, John continued the tradition of service that truly distinguished his time at Berry. He led the Community Impact Fund to provide financial support for student-led initiatives with an impact outside the school, helped to create an official Christian Fellowship Alumni Organization to better connect students and graduates, and worked at the Housing Partnership Network in Boston to help stabilize families and communities affected by financial crisis, among many other charitable activities.
Since graduating, he has stayed involved with Berry despite living in London, Boston, and Washington, DC. He has served as a judge for the Berry College forensics program, both in local tournaments and at Berry’s national tournament, served on a career panel, at student dinners, and as a guest lecturer in a persuasive speaking class.
He is also an active member of the Berry Alumni Association’s Young Alumni and Student Relations Committee, as well as Berry’s Young Alumni Advisory Board, and regularly assists current Berry students who are looking for internships or career advice.
John is currently an engagement manager in the Atlanta Office of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that advises Fortune 500 companies and government organizations on critical issues in locations including North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
As Alexander W. Whitaker IV (81C), Berry’s chief of staff, says, “John has since graduation excelled in ways few alumni have done – however many years it may have been since their graduation. And in all he has done he has reflected by his words and example great credit upon his alma mater.”