Because of a spring calendar filled with significant university events, Brenau University announced today that the annual Brenau Barbecue Championship scheduled for Memorial Day weekend in Gainesville has been placed on hiatus – at least for 2014.
Brenau President Ed Schrader said the university will decide later whether to resume the event, which has become a well-attended community activity for the past five years.
“We really hope that we can reintroduce the barbecue as a sustainable event,” Schrader said. “This year, however, it did not make sense to try to push this through on an already full calendar that demands more and more staff attention and resources.”
As the university marks its 135th anniversary, the focal social event this spring will be the much anticipated March 29 “Brenau Gala,” an elegant dress-up affair that celebrates both the public opening of the completely renovated Brenau Downtown Center for a new Doctor in Physical Therapy program, the premier of the “Manhattan Art Gallery” of New York-themed artworks from the university’s permanent collection, and Brenau’s vision for the future.
“The Gala is the most important social event of the year for Brenau,” Schrader said, “and making it a unforgettable occasion must be the highest priority for the university at this time.”
Brenau’s Downtown Center is the centerpiece of a $6.7 million investment on the part of the university to establish a nationally recognized school of physical therapy, which is expected to generate millions each year in economic impact for Gainesville and the surrounding region. The university already has world-class professional physical therapy faculty and leadership in place and awaits final accreditation of the doctoral-level program from the nation’s physical therapy education oversight authority. Brenau has converted the arena area of the former Georgia Mountains Center into two floors for classrooms, laboratories, offices and other facilities for physical therapy and other programs.
The main Gala theme, “The Art and Science of Brenau,” recognizes the university’s national leadership in two distinct areas: for its major educational programs in allied health care and for one of the most significant collections of fine art held by a private university in the eastern United States. Brenau owns one of the most impressive permanent art collections of any university– many of the pieces from the post-modern and pop art genre with some connection to New York City. The new “Manhattan Gallery,” populated with newly acquired works from such artists as Andy Warhol and art from the famed Dorothy and Herb Vogel Collection, will be unveiled at the Gala.
The guest list for the Gala includes current and future supporters of the university, community and state leaders, as well as corporate sponsors who are integral to Brenau’s strategic growth initiatives. Schrader said some of those same people and groups also would have been called on to support the barbecue event, the net proceeds from which benefits local scholarships.
“We are concerned that the two programs draw from the same sponsorship pool in the Gainesville area and would be competing too much for their attention and resources,” Schrader said.
“We really appreciate the visibility that the barbecue brought to Brenau. It is a great, fun event for the community, and we would like to see it continue.”
For information about the Gala and sponsorship opportunities call 770-534-6163. To purchase tickets for the event call 770-534-6163.