Five Questions with Holly Beretto
Jan 20, 2020
Holly Beretto '93 with former New Hampshire Governor and Franklin Pierce President Walter R. Peterson
Writer and Marketing Specialist Holly Beretto graduated magna cum laude from Franklin Pierce College in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication in hand and a Sigma Tau Delta cord draped over her shoulders. Never did Holly think, as she crossed that commencement stage, that she would be back as editor of Pierce Magazine nearly a quarter of a century later.
Yet here she is, taking the magazine of Raven Nation to the next level in 2017 with Pierce Pride coursing through her veins as she lauds the successes of Ravens past and present. Why Pierce then? Why Pierce now? Learn more about this Texas-based Raven in her own words.
I chose Pierce because…
“My high school guidance office had the course catalog, and the back cover was the panorama of the Manor and the student center on the other side of Pearly Pond and I was intrigued. I hated high school, and actually left after my junior year, doing my senior year as a senior/freshman at Rhode Island College (RIC). I'm from Cranston, Rhode Island and an alumna of the Henry Barnard School on the RIC campus, so that was like coming home.
But after my first year there, it was time to leave home. My dad didn't want me in New York City (NYU was my dream school), and I wasn't wild about the idea of Ithaca, which had a top communication program, but I couldn't do much until I was an upperclassman. I had my own public access TV show in Rhode Island at 15, my first published newspaper story at 14… I'm not into waiting.
So, my family and I agreed that New Hampshire was a good place, close geographically from home, and I recalled that catalog of the school by the lake. We visited and it's the only place I applied to transfer. I fell in love with the quiet – I'm a city kid and it was so different from anything I knew. I came up in January of 1991 and moved into the Sawmills.”
How would you describe life at Pierce?
“Life at Pierce is what you make it. It's a place where you can do almost any crazy thing you think of—make a movie, start an organization, design a major, get into something out of your comfort zone—and you'll be supported by faculty, administration, and friends. It's a close-knit place where you can explore and wonder and grow.”
What is your favorite memory about Pierce?
“I have two, which are very different:
The spring of either my junior or senior year, the yearbook staff threw me a surprise party for my birthday. I'd mentioned offhandedly like, months before when we were doing one for someone else, how I'd always thought one would be fun. This was back in the day when they gave students keys to the Manor, when the yearbook and Pierce Arrow were on the third floor.
We were pals with security guards and half the administration, so no one thought twice if we were there at weird hours. So, it was maybe a Saturday night, and I was just hanging out with John Daly '95 and his roommate Andy Clevenger '93. John's phone in the room rings, and he says, "We have to go to the yearbook office." And I just shrug and tag along with him, never questioning how dumb this is, because we did as much hanging out in the yearbook office as we ever did working on the book. And we unlock the door to the office and Ricky Davidson '93 and a whole bunch of other staff are there, and they all yell, "Surprise!" I'm sure John put on his TV theme song CD and we had this party. I was stunned then and I'm still stunned now. My husband has taken me to London, Paris and Hong Kong for my birthday, but that Pierce party is one of my favorites.
The other is of proofreading the commencement program. I worked in the communication office, and I got to do all kinds of things I had no idea would serve me well later on (writing press releases, assisting with the weekly newsletter, creating a photo file system). In the weeks leading up to commencement, my boss, Grace McNamara—who is now the Station Manager for Lakes Region Public Access—and I would sit across from each other at her desk after 5 p.m., when everyone had left, with these sheets from the Registrar's office and a Word doc of the program copy. One of us would read a name, "Holly Beretto," and the other would spell it aloud, "H-O-L-L-Y B-E-R-E-T-T-O," and we'd check it to be sure it was correct. It was long and tedious, but it worked. And we did it over and over, as we changed the program, and the Registrar updated the listing with graduates and their ranks and awards.
To this day, when I have lists in publications, if I can corral someone to look at and read them with me like this, I do it. Grace was… I don't even know how explain how influential Grace was on my life. We're still in contact and I have saved every Christmas card she's ever sent me (it's a family tradition of hers that she and her husband and daughter design their own card, with elaborate cut outs and colors; they're glorious.)”
Editor of Pierce Magazine
What makes you most proud to be (virtually) back in Rindge, telling others’ stories
of success through Pierce Magazine?
"I'm so very proud of being given the keys to the kingdom, honestly! Some days, it doesn't feel real. (Other days, it's work and nuts and I question my sanity; any editor will understand!) When I saw the revamped magazine, I contacted both the editor and [Director of Alumni and Parent Relations] Julie Zahn and said I had to write for it. I got the feature on Jason Lassen '92, as well as a couple of other things. And then, the communication manager at the time asked if I'd take over the magazine. I was floored. I'd edited a smaller magazine here in Houston, but nothing on this scale. I think my favorite accomplishment in my short tenure as editor, though, is expanding the coverage to include alumni, faculty, staff and students. Every one of those groups is a part of Raven Nation, and every one of those groups has interesting stories to tell. I am so looking forward to telling more."
What is your number one goal for the future of Pierce Magazine as its editor?
"I want to make it a must-read for Raven Nation. We're in a weird age of journalism right now: newspapers are laying off staff, magazines are struggling, everyone gets what they need online. News cycles move so quickly, it's hard to separate gossip, from facts, from fantasy. Storytelling is less important than eyeballs. I want to make our magazine something our alumni cannot wait to see in their mailboxes, not only to keep up with fellow alumni, but to see what great things are happening on campus, with faculty, with students, and with staff. We have so many wonderful stories to tell. I so look forward to finding them – and sharing them."
Check out the latest issue of Pierce Magazine , featuring retiring Athletic Director Bruce Kirsh, a look back on a decade as a University, the 15th anniversary of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, the Camino Walk, and more. If you have a great Pierce story to tell, contact Holly at