In the spirit of Black History month, we take time to salute A. Ronald Berryman whose zeal for education makes history with each student who is assured a brighter future one scholarship at a time.
Berryman was raised in South Central Los Angeles by a single parent and became the first in his family to graduate from college when, in 1962, he received a B.S. degree from Pepperdine College on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. In addition, he takes pride in being the first African American to graduate from Pepperdine’s inaugural MBA program in 1967. “Dr. Donald Sime, head of the business division at that time, called to inform me that they were starting an MBA program and invited me to be part of the flagship class,” said Berryman. “Helen Pepperdine, the wife of George Pepperdine, founder of the college, also encouraged me along the way.
Berryman attributes his success to his Pepperdine education. “Pepperdine prepared me to excel in the private sector,” said Berryman. He worked full-time while in business school and over the years secured several management positions with major corporations, including the National Broadcasting Company (Administrator of Business Affairs and Television Production) and Computer Sciences Corporation (Chief of Financial Planning). In 1968, he became one of three partners in what would become one of the largest minority-owned management consulting firms in the United States. Cunningham, Short, Berryman and Associates Inc. was based in Los Angeles with offices in Washington, DC, and Omaha, Nebraska.
Berryman currently holds several distinguishing professional designations and continues his practice as a certified management consultant with more than 40 years of experience. Since 1980, he has supervised more than 400 client engagements as principal of Berryman and Company, a consulting firm in the financial and management areas. The firm serves clients in the public sector, including Federal, State and Local governments, as well as Fortune 500 companies. He has also served as past president of the Institute of Management Consultants, Southern California, which is the certifying body for the management consulting profession.
Despite his demanding practice and unforgiving schedule, however, Berryman still finds time for service. His spare time is spent serving on policy making and advisory boards, including past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes, Los Angeles Division and the Los Angeles Executive Advisory Council for the United Negro College Fund. He currently sits on the Pepperdine University Board, the Graziadio School of Business and Management Board of Visitors and was a founding member of the Pepperdine University Alumni Leadership Council.
Now Chairman Emeritus, Berryman was the first Chairman of the Pepperdine Black Alumni Council (BAC) that he organized in 2010. The primary purpose of the BAC is to provide scholarships, advocacy, support and networking opportunities for black students and alumni. He remains active in the council and committed to raising funds to help minority and low-income students through college. He not only mentors students and helps them get accepted into college, but he and his wife Jacqueline Berryman funded the A. Ronald Berryman Endowed Scholarship for African American students at Pepperdine University. The endowment is $100,000 and provides financial support to students that are pursuing an MBA Degree at Pepperdine.
“I felt the need to give back to Pepperdine by helping minority students achieve their dreams and educational pursuits,” said Berryman. “I think it’s important for all African Americans who have made it or achieved their educational and professional pursuits to give back so that other African Americans may have an opportunity.”
While Pepperdine holds a special place in Berryman’s heart, he demonstrates a strong commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for today’s youth by supporting several other charitable programs, as well. He provides scholarships to the Kappa League of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is a supporter of the Mount Carmel Foundation, the Delta Sigma Pi Foundation, the Kappa Foundation, the Crespi Carmelite Educational Fund, and the Boule Foundation where he is a William B. Dubois Fellow.
In recognition of his leadership and other achievements, Berryman has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University and the Institute of Management Consultants Leadership Award. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Business and Finance.
He also graduated from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Executive Program on Pension Funds and Investment Management in 1999. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Pepperdine University, and, for more than ten years, he was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Redlands where he taught in the Undergraduate and Graduate Business and Management Degree programs.
Berryman advises our future leaders to be consistent, dedicated and diligent in whatever their profession. “We see a lot of progress for minority executives,” said Berryman. “African Americans are in the C-Suites, so that should serve as motivation for minority students to be focused on fulfilling their dreams.”
He resides in San Dimas with his wife Jacqueline and their four children.