Brenau Welcomes Class of 2016

Junior studio art major Rachel Siegfried, from Gainesville, Ga. and freshman Nichele Nibbs, from Lithonia, Ga., a fashion design major, on “Move-in Day.”

Brenau University welcomed the Class of 2016 as well as its largest crop of graduate students as it begins the 2012-13 academic year.

The undergraduate residential Women’s College at Brenau included about 175 first-year students and another 140 students transferred in from other institutions.

“Our enrollment includes a good, diverse group,” said Scott Briell, senior vice president for enrollment and student services at the 134-year-old institution. “We’re already off to a great year on all campuses and with our online students.”

Classes for all students began on Monday, Aug. 29, on Brenau’s main campus in Gainesville and other Georgia locations, including Norcross, Fairburn, Augusta and Kings Bay. Online classes began as well with ranks of students continuing to increase as they take advantage of the platform for both totally online degree tracks as well as for “hybrid” programs that involve both online and on-campus studies.

Brenau Scholar Rachel McFarland, a music education major, with parents Craig and Sandra McFarland of Ball Ground, Ga.

In the fall term the university launched new undergraduate and graduate initiatives, including solidified offerings in the College of Education under a new dean, a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree theater program in acting, a strengthened program in musical theater and a continuing growth and expansion of Brenau’s Master of Business Administration program, which ranks as the seventh largest in the region in a recently published survey.

With total enrollment for the fall term expected to top the 2,800 mark, Brenau President Ed Schrader said Brenau maintains its attractiveness as a full doctoral degree-granting institution with a small university atmosphere in which students get personal attention from faculty and plenty of interaction with other students.

“There is no place to hide at Brenau,” he told Women’s College students gathered during the traditional fall convocation at historic Pearce Auditorium on the Gainesville campus. He challenged Brenau students to use the unique environment “not only to find your voice, but also to use it to speak freely about all those things you hold dear.”

Although the event was a “formal” convocation with Brenau faculty and administrators in full academic regalia, the featured speaker for the occasion, Barbara A. Schell, associate dean of the College of Health & Science and director of the School of Occupational Therapy, brought home the point that students should invest themselves in their academic careers in a very non-formal way. Wearing her doctoral robe, she waded in to the audience leading the students – not to mention the president and other faculty and administrators on the stage – in an animated group performance of the old “Do the Hokey-Pokey” song, which included the line, “Put your whole self in….”

“We all understand that learning involves risk, and that you are not perfect,” Schell said. “We want to support your becoming you best self, but that means you have to do things and do them in a way that involves being honest with yourself and with others.”

“Figuring out of who you are often occurs in part by what you do – sometimes we choose to do it and sometimes it is something we have to do,” Schell said. “One of the really exciting things about college is that there are a lot of choices, and you can try out or ‘try on’ a lot of things to see if they resonate with who you are or want to be…. It is not just what you do, it is how you do it. That, in time, becomes who you are.”

“Doing that means you have to do things, and do them in a way that involves being honest with yourself and with others. It also involves how others see you and how you see yourself – and creating a coherent ‘match’ between these things is a process of seeking and maintaining integrity.”

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