Pytron Parker raises her hands as she stands up during the commencement exercises on the front lawn of Brenau University's Gainesville campus. On Friday the graduating 2013 Women's College students walked across the stage and received their diplomas in front of faculty and staff, their friends and family.

It’s Official: Class of 2013 Gets Great Send-offs May 3 and 4

This spring Brenau University recaptured a tradition that has been on hold for close to a quarter of a century when it moved its commencement exercises for 738 graduates on May 3 and 4, 2013, to the outdoor venue on the “front lawn” of the historic Gainesville campus. However, inclement weather on May 4 altered the plan slightly moving the ceremony indoors to the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.

The ceremonies for those eligible to receive graduate and undergraduate diplomas featured two internationally renowned speakers:

Princeton University professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly the top official for policy and planning in the U.S. Department of State and recently named president of the New America Foundation, and

Newsweek/DailyBeast political columnist and television commentator Eleanor Clift.

Slaughter spoke at the ceremony for the 149 Women’s College graduates on Friday, May 3. Clift spoke at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 4, for the 589 who received undergraduate and graduate diplomas from all other Brenau programs on five campuses around Georgia and online.

For 25 years Brenau University has held graduation ceremonies in the 2,500-seat arena at the city-owned Georgia Mountains Center. As the facility’s new lessee, however, Brenau has begun extensive renovation on what it calls the Brenau Downtown Center. It will convert the single-floor 19,000-square-foot arena into two floors of about 36,000 square feet of classrooms, laboratories, offices and other academic space for a doctoral program in physical therapy and other health care-related disciplines, making the arena  no longer available.

To read more about each ceremony, check out photo galleries and hear the commencement addresses visit out post on the Friday and Saturday ceremonies.

Books by both Eleanor Clift and Anne-Marie Slaughter are available for purchase at the Brenau Barnes & Noble campus bookstore located at 510 Washington Street SE and can be reached at (770) 534-6208.

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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