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.

Alumnae Reunion Weekend and ‘May Day’ Activities Expected To Draw Hundreds To Campus April 11-12

In a traditional showcase for spring millinery, more than 400 Brenau Women’s College and Brenau Academy alumnae plus families and friends will converge on the Brenau University campus Friday and Saturday, April 11-12, for the annual day of class, reunions and the “May Day” celebration for current students.

The Brenau Alumni Association will also induct five into the Alumni 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. Other awards will be given to exceptional alumnae who have made a lasting impact on the university and the community.

The weekend also features two major milestones for sororities on campus: Delta Delta Delta celebrates the national sorority’s 100th year on campus – the sixth Brenau sorority to pass the centennial milestone – and Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates its 20th year.

Mary Kathryn Wells, WC 2000, laughs with friends after Brenau University President Ed Schrader gave his toast during brunch at this year's Alumnae Reunion Weekend on Brenau's Gainesville campus.

Mary Kathryn Wells, WC 2000, laughs with friends after Brenau University President Ed Schrader gave his toast during brunch at this year’s Alumnae Reunion Weekend on Brenau’s Gainesville campus.

“This year, alumnae reunion weekend serves as the capstone of Brenau’s celebration of 135 years of educating women,” said Jenny Dell, executive director of alumni and events at the university. “We have a weekend packed full of activities that will appeal to everyone. From complimentary career counseling and opportunities to mingle with professors and students to the beloved traditions of the annual champagne brunch, wrapping the Maypole, and crowning the May Queen, it will surely be a celebration to remember.”

To strengthen the connections, Dell said the alumni association has added several new features to the program: “Back to Class” seminars for alumnae showcasing things that are on campus now, a wine and cheese opening reception at 4 p.m. on Friday, and a fountain dedication to honor the memory of Grace Hooten Moore on the campus’ front lawn on Saturday. Alumnae also can enjoy the “Elements of Timeless Strength” dance concert at the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts Hosch Theatre or the Gainesville Theatre Alliance’s production of “Sense and Sensibility” performed at the Ed Campbell Theatre in Oakwood. Both events are Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

In the past, activities for the annual reunion weekend primarily occurred on the picturesque Victorian-era main campus. This year, however, activities branch out all around Gainesville, as various class reunions and parties will be held at Scott’s Downtown, Recess, Chattahoochee Country Club, the Gainesville Civic Center, Mellow Mushroom, El Sombrero and even as far as Walter’s Barn in Lula, Ga.

From left, Women's College juniors Jessica Anderson, Hannah Scheel, Anna Claire Dover, Amber Durden, Amber Boyd, Katey Kibler and Jackie Willis carry the ivy chain from Brenau's fountain to the Crow's Nest during the Class Day portion of Alumnae Reunion Weekend.

From left, Women’s College juniors Jessica Anderson, Hannah Scheel, Anna Claire Dover, Amber Durden, Amber Boyd, Katey Kibler and Jackie Willis carry the ivy chain from Brenau’s fountain to the Crow’s Nest during the Class Day portion of Alumnae Reunion Weekend.

Otherwise, most events will remain true to tradition, including the annual champagne brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, for returning alumnae. It is 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 will be 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, from all walks of life, wrapping the Maypole and cheering on their sisters who are members of the May Court.

The link between the past and present for the 135-year-old institution also includes special activities on Friday for members of the Class of 1964, who will be inducted into the university’s 24 Karat Club for alumnae who graduated at least 50 years ago. Other class year reunions take place at different locations around Gainesville.

Saturday afternoon festivities also include open houses for various sororities on campus. Public programs feature a runway-style fashion show of work by students in the university’s fashion design and fashion merchandising departments, and an opening reception in Brenau’s art galleries for student exhibitions in various arts and design disciplines.

For a complete schedule of activities visit http://www.brenau.edu/alum/arw/.

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