Grand Marshals Announced for Sewanee Fourth of July


Nancy J. Berner and David B. Coe met and married while in graduate school, and moved to Sewanee in 1992, when Nancy was hired by the University as an Assistant Professor of Biology. She wasted no time making herself an integral part of the University community. In just her second year as a faculty member, she proposed and helped establish “Scientific Sewanee,” which later developed into “Scholarship Sewanee,” an annual event that highlights undergraduate research, scholarship, and artistic works. She served as Chair of the Department of Biology, and secured many grants that allowed her to maintain an active research laboratory where she mentored undergraduates. In 2009, she was named the William Henderson Professor of Biology.

In 2012, Nancy joined the University Administration, serving as Associate Provost, Vice Provost for Planning and Administration, and then Provost. During her time in these positions, she was Title IX coordinator for the University and eventually established the Title IX office. She led efforts to diversify the University’s faculty, staff, and student body, and she oversaw the reaffirmation of the University’s accreditation.

In January of 2022, with the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety, nominated by President Biden to become U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Nancy became Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South, the first woman in the history of the school to serve as Vice-Chancellor.

David, after completing his Ph.D. in United States history, embarked on a career as a writer of fantasy. Over the past 25 years, David has published, under his own name, and also under the pen name D.B. Jackson, more than two dozen novels and as many short stories. He is a recipient of the William Crawford Fantasy Award as well as an Audie Award. His novels have been translated into a dozen languages. He has also edited four short story anthologies, and has published a collection of his own short fiction.

Together, Nancy and David have raised two daughters, Alexis (Alex) and Erin. Both attended Sewanee Elementary School and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee before leaving Sewanee to attend college, Alex at New York University and Erin at Elon University.

Nancy has been a soccer league referee, and a summer swim league timer and scorekeeper. David has been treasurer of the soccer league, and a swim league stroke and turn judge. He has also served as Vice President and President of the SAS Parents’ Council and as coordinator of the Sewanee Food Buying Club. Both Nancy and David have served on the Sewanee Community Council.

They are proud and honored to be chosen as Grand Marshals for the 2022 July Fourth parade.

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