History at a Glance
Brenau University was founded in 1878 as the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary by Dr. W.C. Wilkes. In 1900, H.J. Pearce, who was the institution’s president at the time, named it Brenau, which is a linguistic blend of the German word “brennen,” meaning “to burn,” and the Latin “aurum,” which translates to “gold.” This combination embodies our motto, “As gold refined by fire.”
Today, Brenau University consists of The Women’s College, the coed Undergraduate School, and the Sidney O. Smith, Jr. Graduate School.
First Steps and Opening Ceremony
On their first day, new students receive T-shirts in their class color. They wear these shirts to an orientation ceremony that begins at Daniel Pavilion on Washington Street and concludes in Pearce Auditorium. The Daniel Pavilion, named for Carole Ann Carter Daniel, a 1968 Women’s College alumna, replaced the brick-and-wrought iron arch that for decades served as the symbolic gateway to the Brenau educational experience.