Expanded Reunion Weekend and ‘May Day’ Activities Draw Hundreds to Brenau Gainesville Campus April 12-14

May Queen Eleanor Kahn, center, laughs as she sits inbetween Princess Christina Evans, left, and Prince Ty Parker, right, during the May Queen ceremony on the front lawn of Brenau's historic Gainesville campus during the May Day festivities of Alumni Reunion Weekend Saturday, April 13, 2013.

May Queen Eleanor Kahn, center, laughs as she sits inbetween Princess Christina Evans, left, and Prince Ty Parker, right, during the May Queen ceremony on the front lawn of Brenau’s historic Gainesville campus during the May Day festivities of Alumnae Reunion Weekend Saturday, April 13, 2013.

In a traditional showcase for spring millinery, more than 300 Brenau Women’s College and Brenau Academy alumnae plus families and friends converged on the Brenau University campus  Friday through Sunday, April 12-14, the annual day of class reunions and the “May Day” celebration for current students.

The weekend marked the return to inductions for the Brenau Alumni Association Hall of Fame, which recognizes career and community service accomplishments of men and women who earned diplomas and degrees from the preparatory academy, the Women’s College and all other programs of the university.

The weekend also featured two major milestones for two sororities on campus: Alpha Gamma Delta’s “Century of Sisterhood” celebrated the national sorority’s 100th year on campus – the third Brenau sorority to pass the centennial milestone – and Chi Omega celebrated its 50th year.

“We are always glad to welcome our alumnae back to the Brenau campus,” said Jenny Dell, alumni director at the university. “But the reunion weekend, coupled with the ‘May Day’ activities for students, provides a unique opportunity for members of the Brenau family to connect across generations. One of the great advantages of the Women’s College is that women thrown together here as students form lifetime bonds and this each a chance to nurture old friendships and form new ones.”

To strengthen the connections, Dell said the alumni association added several new features to the program: “Back to Class” seminars for alumnae showcasing things that are on campus now, an outdoor gift shop, and a service of remembrance for alumni who have passed away to close the weekend in historic Pearce Auditorium on Sunday morning. Alumnae also had an opportunity to participate in a video history project – telling their favorites stories about their student days at Brenau on camera. 

Kelley McHam Carlisle, right, recieves a hug from her friend Renee Loggins during the brunch and champagne toast portion of the Alumni Reunion Weekend Satuday, April 13 on Brenau University's historic Gainesville campus.

Kelley McHam Carlisle, right, recieves a hug from her friend Renee Loggins during the brunch and champagne toast portion of the Alumnae Reunion Weekend Satuday, April 13 on Brenau University’s historic Gainesville campus.

In the past, activities for the annual reunion weekend primarily were confined to the picturesque Victorian-era main campus. However, recognizing the university’s most significant physical expansion in recent years, some of the activities took place at the Brenau Downtown center, just off the town square in Gainesville. The university leased the former Georgia Mountains Center convention and events venue – where most Brenau graduates received their diplomas in the last quarter century – for renovation as a home for major expansions in health care professions graduate studies, including physical therapy. 

Otherwise, most events remained true to tradition. Most visible was the annual champagne brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday for returning alumnae. It was a chance for graduates of all ages to swap stories, share family photos and, in some cases, show off their new spring fashion, including hats and bonnets of every description.

That was followed immediately by the “May Day” celebration – another tradition from bygone eras that remains alive and well at Brenau, very much the same as it has been since at least the early 1900s with young women representing each class and from all walks of life wrapping the May Pole and cheering on their sisters who are members of the May Court.

Mycharia Spurling, center, works her way around the May Pole on the front lawn of Brenau's historic Gainesville campus during the May Day festivities of Alumni Reunion Weekend Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Mycharia Spurling, center, works her way around the May Pole on the front lawn of Brenau’s historic Gainesville campus during the May Day festivities of Alumnae Reunion Weekend Saturday, April 13, 2013.

The link between the past and present for the 134-year-old institution also included special activities on Friday for the members of the Class of 1963, the university’s 24 Karat Club – for alumnae who graduated at least 50 years ago, and reunions for other class years at different locations around Gainesville.

Saturday afternoon festivities also included open houses for various sororities on campus. Public programs featured a runway-style fashion show featuring work by students in the university’s fashion design and fashion merchandising departments, an opening reception in Brenau art galleries for exhibitions of students in various arts and design disciplines, and an evening dance program that features performances by student dancers and visiting professionals as well as choreography by a graduating senior dance major.

For a complete schedule of activities, see the schedule on the Brenau Alumni Association Web page.

-.-
General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100