It was clear the day Devan R. Berry started planning his collegiate career that St. Clair County Community College was in his future.
“My father (Jim) said ‘I don’t care where you go to school, but you're going to start here (SC4) first,’” Berry, who is now a dentist in New York, said. “I’m glad I went to SC4. I wish I would have stayed longer and took care of more of my pre-med requirements.
“It was a great experience, and I had fabulous teachers. My biology class would have 10 to 20 students in it. At Michigan State, it was nothing to have 500 in a class.”
Berry, 35, said instructors Joe Gibbons, Buzz McNash, Larry Mavis and the late Bob Collins had a big impact on his SC4 experience. The 1998 Port Huron High graduate started taking classes at SC4 during his senior year of high school.
Berry graduated in December of 1999 with two degrees from SC4. His brother, David, also earned an associate degree from SC4.
Following his stay at SC4, Berry transferred to Michigan State University where he earned his BS and his MS in plant pathology. He earned his master’s degree doing field work for three months in Alaska.
Berry returned to Lansing and took courses at Lansing CC to get refreshed in the medical field. He was accepted into dental school at State University of New York-Buffalo. He did a year of general practice residency at the Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio.
“My wife Karen had a teaching job with a good salary and benefits in the Lansing area,” Berry said. “So the whole time I was going to dental school in Buffalo I commuted home to Lansing on weekends. It was 350 miles one way.
“Even when I did my residency in Akron, I drove home on weekends to see the family. There were a lot of challenges along the way, but we made it work.”
Berry lives in Farmington, N.Y., less than 10 miles from his dental practice in Livonia, N.Y. He and Karen have two boys - Joseph, 9, and Matthew, 6.
His advice for students?
“Take advantage of the benefits
(great professors, small class size, convenient location and scheduling
options) of SC4 to create or strengthen your knowledge base! Most credits
transfer and are significantly less expensive than four-year colleges and
universities. This can facilitate sampling a wide variety of subjects and maybe
discovering what excites, motivates and drives you toward a fulfilling lifetime