Five New Members Added to Alumni Hall of Fame During Annual ‘May Day’ Celebration

embers of the May Court prepare to weave around one another to wrap the Maypole while the May Queen, Brenau senior Lea Mason, stands at the center.

Members of the May Court prepare to weave around one another to wrap the Maypole while the May Queen, Brenau senior Lea Mason, stands at the center.

The Brenau University Alumni Association named two educators, two public health leaders and a real estate executive to the 2014 class of inductees in the Alumni Hall of Fame during the annual class reunion and “May Day” celebration at the 135-year-old institution.

More than 500 people attended the celebration on the front lawn of the historic campus. The colorful celebration commences as graduates of the Women’s College break out stylish hats and new spring attire for a champagne brunch and culminates in the ritualistic wrapping of the May Pole by current students. However, because of the academic schedule, the traditional celebration now occurs a couple of weeks before actual May Day.

The Alumni Hall of Fame honors graduates for their contributions to Brenau and the rest of the world. This year’s inductees include:

Nelwyn Bagwell Turk of Gainesville who has been a Hall County, Ga., educator for more than 30 years.

Sonya Wood Hancock, one of Brenau’s first nursing school graduates who for three decades served as director of emergency services at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

Dr. Irene Okech of Nairobi and Atlanta, a Kenya native and public health official who six years ago founded Imbako Public Health, which builds sustainable initiatives to improve quality of life for vulnerable populations.

Sara Margaret Patterson of Atlanta, assistant director of the independent non-denominational Christian Heiskell School, who at 71 remains actively engaged in developing young minds.

Marsha Wyatt Sell of Marietta, Ga., who over the past four decades has become one of Coldwell Banker’s largest producers – earning the Atlanta Board of Realtors Gold Phoenix award for exceeding more than a million dollars in sales in each of 30 consecutive years.

Brenau also recognized three younger graduates for outstanding achievements:

Jessi Barker Shrout of Gainesville, assistant professor of biology and the lab director at Brenau; Ya’Sheaka Campbell of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., a member of the Florida bar who is a certified Workers’ Compensation Insurance instructor; and Jennifer Lewis of New York whose career has taken her from work on Martha Stewart’s television program to a job with Office of the United Nations Secretary-General.

More than 500 people attended Alumnae Reunion Weekend and May Day celebrations where the university's alumni association inducted five new members into its Alumni Hall of Fame.

More than 500 people attended Alumnae Reunion Weekend and May Day celebrations where the university’s alumni association inducted five new members into its Alumni Hall of Fame.

The Alumna Service to Brenau Award went to 1982 graduate Lee Ann Romberg White, an author, artist and photographer who lives in Cumming, Ga.

The Alumna Professional Achievement Award recipient was Kimberly McCoy of Cartersville, Ga., a 1992 graduate who runs the Victim Witness Unit and Domestic Violence Training Project for the Cobb County district attorney.

The Alumna Community Service Award recipient was Dana Fowler Miller of Gainesville, a 1985 graduate who works with the Gainesville-Hall County Chamber of Commerce.

The newly established Brenau Academy Alumna of the Year award recognizes a graduate of Brenau Early College for service to the institution. The first recipient is Austin McCord, a 2007 graduate from Atlanta.

For more information about the Brenau University Alumni Association visit http://www.brenau.edu/alum/ or call (770) 534-6163.

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