Notable Women Who Left a Legacy

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Brenau has been home to innumerable remarkable women in its 140-year history to date. To recount the stories of every one of these inspiring individuals would be impossible, but here are glimpses into the lives of some of our most notable alumnae.

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Dotty Eleazer Alexander WC ’60

Dotty Eleazer Alexander was a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees, class correspondent, Brenau Member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Past Coordinator for Friendship Trays Route, Coordinator for Junior High Sunday School, Past member of church fundraising campaign (Building Program), Past Girl Scout Leader, Past President of PTA for elementary, middle and high school, Board of Directors, Brenau, Alumnae Association Served as an Alum Chum, Volunteer, Discovery Place nature museum, N.C., and the 1997 Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to Brenau.

Dotty Eleazer Alexander, a 1960 alumna of the Women's College, chats with friends before the dedication of the fountain on the Gainesville campus.
Dr. Dana Barr in a lab at Emory University.

Dana Boyd Barr, Ph.D., WC ’87

Former Chief of the Pesticide Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control, after 23 years at the CDC, she accepted a full-time faculty appointment at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2010. She was recognized as a Thomas Reuters Top Cited Scientist in Environment/Ecology, 2014 and 2015 and was listed in Thomson Reuters World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, 2014. Dr. Barr was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2017.

Read more about Dr. Barr in “The ‘Very’ Quotable Dr. Dana Barr” in the Summer 2015 issue of Brenau Window.

Margaret Owen Blackstock WC ’66

The former National President for Phi Mu Fraternity, Panhellenic Woman of the Year 1984, member of the board of trustees for Riverside Military Academy, Margaret Owen Blackstock is a well-known Atlanta philanthropist. Margaret received the 1995 Service to Brenau award, and was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2001.

Amanda Blake A ’47 (1929-1989)

Most commonly known for her role as Miss Kitty on the popular 1950’s television show, Gunsmoke, Amanda Blake attended the Brenau Academy in 1944 and 1945. She subsequently became a college trustee and served on the Board of Advisors. She also served as a judge for the Miss Brenau Scholarship Competition. In 1968, Blake was the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Great Western Actors and Actresses in Oklahoma City.

Katherine Jane (Janie) Bryant

Katherine Jane (Janie) Bryant, the 1985 Brenau Academy graduate who attended the Women’s College for a year, is an Emmy Award-winning costume designer for the celebrated HBO television series, Deadwood. Among many television and motion picture credits, she is best known for her highly acclaimed work on the TV series Mad Men (three Emmy nominations for that work), which led her to design a line of clothing inspired by the series for Banana Republic.

Clyde Dixon Connell WC ’19 (1902-98)

A professional artist specializing in sculptures constructed from “found objects” hammered into wood and then covered with papier-mâché, Clyde Dixon Connell’s works capture the environment and her personal experience of living on the Louisiana bayou. A major retrospective exhibit of her work that includes 74 pieces has toured nationally. Her work is in the permanent collections at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington D.C.); Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); Dallas Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art. She is the subject of an independently produced documentary The Life and Art of Clyde Connell. She was awarded the Outstanding Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement from Brenau University.


Carole Ann Carter Daniel, WC ’68

Carole Ann Carter Daniel is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees and serves as the Senior Executive of Carroll Daniel Construction. She served as co-chair of Brenau University’s $40 million ForeverGold campaign. Daniel established the Carroll Edmondson Daniel Endowed Scholarship in memory of her husband. In addition, she provided the funding for the Daniel Pavilion that sits on front campus at Brenau’s Historical Gainesville campus.

Carole Ann Daniel headshot

Barbara Mitchell Disque WC ’53 (1932-2007)

Barbara Mitchell Disque served on the Brenau University Board of Trustees from 1986 until her death in 2007. She was awarded the Brenau Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to Brenau in 1993. She was the Brenau Sullivan Award recipient in 2003. She participated in the funding of the Disque Room in the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts and the Lockett-Mitchell Parlour in Yonah Hall.

Brenau Trustee Robin Dudley

Robin Smith Dudley, WC ’78

Robin is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees. She attended the Hall School of Nursing which then became the Brenau School of Nursing and is now the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing. Robin along with her husband, Mike, established the Mike and Robin Smith Dudley Nursing Scholarship in 2000, which provides financial support to rising senior nursing students. Robin taught Healthcare Science at Thomson High School for 30 years and received the Masters in the Art of Nursing Award in 2015 and the Alumnae Service to Brenau Award in 2016.

Read more about Robin Smith Dudley in “2016 Alumni Award Winners” in the Summer 2016 issue of Brenau Window.

Kathryn (Kit) Long Dunlap, WC ’64

President and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Chairman and Board member of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism, Kathryn (Kit) Long Dunlap was founding member of the Gainesville/Hall County Economic Development Council and a board member of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.  In 1994, she was awarded Woman of the Year by the Gainesville Rotary Club. She was a member of the Board of Advisers for Brenau University and the Brenau Galleries. She served on the Main Street Gainesville Board, the Georgians for Manufacturing Board and the German American Chamber of Commerce /South. She was also a SunTrust Bank, Northeast Georgia Board member.

Trustee Kat Dunlap during the Brenau University Board of Trustee's Annual Spring Meeting on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Downtown Center in Gainesville, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Maria Ebrahimji, 2015 Alumni Hall of Fame

Maria Ebrahimji, WC ’98

Maria Ebrahimji is the Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer for I Speak for Myself, Inc. She is former Editorial Producer, CNN International, has served as the Vice Chair for CNN’s Diversity Council, and is editor of the anthology, I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim. Maria was inducted in the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015.

Read more about Maria Ebrahimji in “Communicator: Maria Ebrahimji” in the Fall 2012 issue of Brenau Window.

Martha Edens WC ’49 (1928-2015)

Martha Edens is former District President, Province President and National President of Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity, and Republican National Committeewoman for South Carolina. She was the Vice Chair of the Brenau Board of Trustees for many years and is now a Trustee Emeritus. She was Chair of the Richland County Republican Party and the republican National Committeewoman for South Carolina; a board member of Easter Seals Society; Lutheran Theological Seminary, Salvation Army, South Carolina State Museum and the Richland Memorial Hospital Foundation. She received the Alumnae Certificate of Merit from Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. She received the Sullivan Award from Brenau University and the Outstanding Alumnae Award for Community Service from Brenau University.

Read more about Martha Edens in “Boundless Energy: Martha Edens (1928-2015)” in the Summer 2016 issue of Brenau Window.

Martha Edens
Brenau alumna Eliza Feldmann

Dr. Eliza Holmes Feldmann WC ’29 (1906-90)

Dr. Eliza Holmes Feldmann was a professional pianist/organist. She performed concerts throughout the United States and Europe, and she was especially well-received in Germany. She was an assistant professor and chair of the preparatory music department at Brenau College. She instructed private piano lessons for more than 50 years, studied at The Juilliard School, and received the Centennial Citation for years of service and devotion to Brenau. The Eliza Holmes Feldmann Memorial Keyboard Scholarship Fund was dedicated in her name. She was a member of the National Music Educators Association, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonies, Mu Phi Epsilon, Progressive Arts Club and the American Guild of Organists. She was an organist at First Christian Church and Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia. She was awarded the Sullivan Award from Brenau. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Brenau. Her community Involvement include the Atlanta/Fulton County League of Women Voters; Ruling Elder, Covenant Presbyterian Church; Delta Delta Delta Chapter adviser for Brenau and Emory University; Executive Board member for Delta Delta Delta Sorority; the Lobbyist to the Georgia Legislature for Fulton County. She volunteered for the Atlanta Food Bank, the Sherwood Forest Garden Club and the Atlanta Bach.

Kathryn Andrews Fincher, A ’70, WC ’74

A published illustrator, Kathryn Andrews Fincher’s books include: Heaven Sent by Focus on the Family, Simple Wonders, A Child’s Garden of Prayer, Bedtime Prayer and Lullabies, and A Child is a Precious Gift. She presented her original painting, “The Dream Keepers,” to former President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Kathryn is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.


Thelma Mauldin Green WC ’34 (1913-2003)

Thelma Mauldin Green was a long-time member of the Brenau Board of Trustees, and become an emeritus member of the board. After graduation from Brenau she served as a teacher for many years at Gainesville High School before moving to Texas. She served as a docent in the Simmons Visual Arts Center. In 1991, she was awarded the Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to Brenau, was awarded the 1993 Volunteer of the Year at Brenau award, and in 1994 she was awarded the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. She was awarded Woman of the Year by the American Business Women’s Association.

Helen P. Hatton, WC ’63

Helen P. Hatton is a distinguished media professional and food critic. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, a member of The Grange Area Resident Association in downtown Toronto, and board member of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. She was past regent of the Upper Canada DAR Chapter. She has volunteered for the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Stage Company. She is one of the American Home Economics Association Home Economists in Business. Helen is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Kay Wallis Herrin, WC ’59

Kay Wallis Herrin is a former member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees, where she served as Vice President. She has been a past Student Alumnae Council Adviser and was past President of the Parents Council. A member of the Brenau University President’s Club for more than 30 years, in 1992 she was awarded the Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to Brenau, and in 1994 she received Brenau’s Volunteer of the Year Award. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta International Sorority. She has worked with the Quinlan Arts Center, Elachee Nature Center, and Brenau Learning. She was a Leisure Institute teacher.

Marion Runnels Holloway WC ’57 (1935-2002)

With the stage name, Marion Montgomery, this jazz singer is a recording artist and theatrical performer with her “One Woman” show. Other credits include: Anything Goes; Lionel; Old Time Music Hall; and My Southern Heart. She appeared before the Royal Family and has been presented to the Queen; toured with Barney Kessell and Herbie Ellis; performed with Val Doonican, Petula Clark, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mercer; appeared in concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and many other places in the British Isles. She was a guest artist on “The Bob Hope Special,” “The Johnny Carson Show,” “The Liberace Special,” and “The Michael Parkinson Show.” She was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Emmie Henderson Howard poses for a photo after donating hats as a giveaway for the event during the fifth annual Women's Leadership Colloquium at Brenau University on Friday, March 16, 2018. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Emmie Henderson Howard, WC ’01

Emmie Henderson Howard is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees. She is the founder and CEO of the men’s apparel company, Southern Proper. She received the Brenau Distinguished Service Award and the Young Alumni Award. She actively engages in helping raise money for the ForeverGold steering committee. She is an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity and served as an adviser. She was awarded the Sullivan Award from Brenau University and was elected May Queen her senior year at Brenau.

Read more about Emmie Henderson Howard in “Emmie 3.0” in the Summer 2015 issue of Brenau Window.


Anna Jacobs, WC '86 poses for a photo in the Marijayne Ward Beggs Terrace. A group of Brenau alumnae, including Jacobs and Frye came together to name the terrace in Beggs' honor. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Anna Alexander Jacobs, WC ’86,

Anna is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees. She is the daughter of Dotty Alexander and the daughter-in-law of John Jacobs, long-time board of trustee chair. Anna has received the Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to Brenau and also served as a former philanthropy chair. She is actively involved in the Gainesville community, and is the co-owner and Director of Media at Access WDUN in Gainesville, Georgia.

Read more about Anna Alexander Jacobs in “Trustee Anna Jacobs: Eyes on the Horizon” in the Fall 2012 issue of Brenau Window.

Dale McElveen Jaeger, WC ’73

Dale McElveen Jaeger is the owner of The Jaeger Company, with offices in Gainesville and Athens. She is a landscape architect and preservation planner. She served as the Brenau Alumnae Association former VP, and former chair of Archives Committee. She is a past board member of Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1996, she was awarded the Outstanding Brenau Alumna Award for Professional Achievement. She has also been the recipient of such awards as the Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects in 1999 and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. She attained professional accreditation in 2004, and has numerous awards for planning and design projects. Her projects include: Wheeler Alumni House Courtyard, Brenau University Restoration of Reynolds Gardens, and R.J. Reynolds Estate, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Khalilah Robinson Johnson, WC ’05, BU ’06

Khalilah graduated with a degree in Occupational Therapy. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. She has received various awards including the Sullivan Award, Josephine Winter Rainey Scholar, and a fellowship in leadership education in neurodevelopmental and related disorders at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. In 2008, Khalilah was inducted into the Cambridge Who’s Who Executive, Professional & Entrepreneurial Registry for leadership in occupational therapy. Prior to beginning her doctorate she was also serving as a clinical instructor for Brenau’s OT students.

Read more about Khalilah Robinson Johnson in “2015 Alumni Award Winners” in the Summer 2015 issue of Brenau Window.

Khalilah T.R. Johnson, WC ‘06, Young Alumna Award
Sarah Lamb, WC '93, poses for a portrait with some of her artwork on display at the Spalding Nix Fine Art gallery in Atlanta. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Sarah K. Lamb Larned WC ’93

Sarah K. Lamb Larned is an accomplished artist who, in addition to her shows in New York, has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Georgia; Houston, Texas; Madison, Connecticut; Sag Harbor, New York; and San Francisco. Her exhibitions include: Four person show, Oct., 2001. “Homage To …” group show, Sept 2001. New Masters Show, April, 2001. “Water Street Atelier Show,” 1999 and April 2001 “Introductions,” July 2000. “Sketches of Spain,” December 2000. She studied at the Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy. She is a member of Chi Omega Sorority.

Antonina Grib Lerch, WC ’03

In 2014, Antonina Grib Lerch was inducted into the Brenau Athletics Hall of Fame for her notable achievements as a tennis player when she played for Brenau. Lerch is well known for her career in costuming in Hollywood, involving work on tv shows like Mad Men, Dexter and True Blood as well as movies such as Night at the Museum II (2009) and Star Trek (2009). During her collegiate years at Brenau, she worked with the Gainesville Theater Alliance as a costumer. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and she continues to remain active at Brenau, frequently returning to teach master classes in costuming to share what she has learned with Brenau students. Lerch provided funds to create digital design lab in 2017 at Brenau.

Read more about Antonina Grib Lerch in “Heavy Hitter” in the Summer 2015 issue and “A Feel For Design” in the Winter 2017 issue of Brenau Window.

Antonina Lerch talks about what it takes to make it as a costumer on the West Coast during a master class.

Helen Ellis Lilly WC ’31, (1909-2010)

Helen Ellis Lilly served Brenau as Head Camp Counselor at Camp Takeda in the mid-1920s, was secretary to Ms. C.B. Branham, dean of Brenau Academy, and was a charter member of BULLI. In 1995, she established the Helen Ellis Lilly Scholarship, which benefits Women’s College students. She was a member of the President’s Club for 30 years. She was heavily involved in the community and was a supporter of the Hall County Humane Society; and a volunteer for Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Helen Dortch Longstreet

Helen Dortch Longstreet WC ’18 (1863-1962)

Helen Dortch Longstreet was the first female Assistant State Librarian for Georgia, an early environmental activist and civil rights advocate, and author of numerous articles, stories, pamphlets. The Tallulah Gorge trail system was named in her honor. She edited a newspaper in Gainesville, Georgia, and formed the Longstreet Memorial Association honoring her husband, Confederate General Longstreet. She authored a book on her husband General Longstreet. She was a postmistress and disbursing agent in Gainesville.

Grace Lumpkin WC’11 (1891-1980)

Grace Lumpkin attended Brenau just a few years before her younger sister, Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin. Lumpkin trained to be a teacher at Brenau College and later organized an adult night school for local farmers and their wives. She studied writing and journalism at Columbia University, and is acknowledged as an influential early feminist and Southern writer of literary social realism. Her novel To Make My Bread (1932), is recognized as an important work that describes the Gastonia textile strike in 1929. A Sign for Cain (1935) is notable for its depiction of post-Depression social and racial inequalities.

Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin WC ’15 (1897-1988)

Teacher, activist, sociologist and author of her autobiography, The Making of a Southerner (1947), Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin attended Brenau from 1912 to 1915 and proceeded to work as a teaching assistant at Brenau after her graduation. Lumpkin attended Columbia University in 1918 and received an M.A. in sociology. She worked as national student secretary for the YWCA’s southern region from 1920 to 1925. In 1925, Lumpkin was accepted into the sociology program at the University of Wisconsin where she earned a Ph.D. in 1928.

Eleanor Ardery Lawrence, WC ’63

Eleanor Ardery Lawrence is a retired model and actress. She has served her community as Member of San Joaquin County Medical Society Auxiliary since 1974. She was a member of the Child Abuse Prevention Council; Auxiliary junior Aid; Girl Scouts of America 1975-92; United Way of San Joaquin County; March of Dimes; and Delta Delta Delta Alumnae Chapter. She received such awards as the Junior Aid Mary Dunne Sustaining Award; San Joaquin County Medical Society Auxiliary Doreen Evert Auxilian of the Year Award; Women’s Center “In Celebration of Women” Award; Child Abuse Prevention Council’s Sammy Davis Jr. Award; Junior Aid Eleanor Young Volunteer of the Year Award.


Ann Ralls Freeman Murrah, WC ’54

Ann Ralls Freeman Murrah is one of 11 women around the world invited to be a keynote speaker in Taiwan at the Feminist Summit for Global Peace. She is President General of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution and winner of the Martha Washington Medal, highest honor for a DAR by the SAR. She also served on the Protocol Committee for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Ann is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Read more about Ann Ralls Freeman Murrah in “Fruit from the Family Tree” in the Fall 2015 issue of Brenau Window.

Ann Ralls Freeman Murrah for the Brenau Window
Brenau Trustee Betty Norton (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Betty Verson Norton, WC ’68

Betty is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees. Betty was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. in the 30s and she became a naturalized citizen. Betty and her husband, Frank, own The Norton Agency in Gainesville, which is an insurance and real estate company. Betty has been very involved in the Gainesville community holding many roles such as Junior League President and she is a member of the Brenau Alumni Hall of Fame. Betty was instrumental in developing the Norton Family Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Brenau.

Dr. Elizabeth Parker WC ’24 (1902-96)

Physician/Gynecologist and pioneer in female endocrinology, Dr. Elizabeth Parker is the author of The Seven Ages of Woman published by The Johns Hopkins Press in 1960. She assisted in the establishment of the first endocrine laboratory and clinic at George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C.

Barbara Stockton Perry WC ’47 (1926-2016)

Retired attorney and partner in firm of Perry, Perry & Perry, and Lenoir County Court Judge, Barbara Stockton Perry is was the first female candidate for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and was a member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation. She was on the Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and on the Board of Governors for the UNC General Administration. Perry was awarded the Brenau Outstanding Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement. She was a member of the Brenau Board of Trustees and received the Distinguished Service Award from Brenau University. She initiated fund raising efforts for Wheeler Alumni House Courtyard. She was on the Board of Directors for Arendell Parrott Academy; the Lenoir Community College, and the Lenoir Memorial Hospital Foundation. Perry was on the Nations Bank Advisory Board Chair; the Lenoir County Arts Council and Symphony, United Way Fund, Salvation Army Auxiliary, Faith Fellowship Church and was an Angel Ministries Board member. Before her death in 2016 she and her sister, Leeda Stockton Currin, WC ’60, jointly funded a bronze sculpture to be placed in the John S. Burd Center as a representation of what Brenau means to them.

Nan Powell, WC ’64

Nan Powell is the wife of the late Jody Powell, former Press Secretary for President Jimmy Carter.

Read more about Nan Powell in “Meeting Mr. Carter” in the Summer 2015 issue of Brenau Window.


Josephine Winter Rainey WC ’47 (1925-1986)

Josephine Winter Rainey was an avid Brenau and community volunteer during her lifetime. She was president of the National Brenau Alumnae Association from 1977-83. She manned Brenau’s Second Century Fund Campaign and was a committee member of the Brenau Centennial Celebration in 1978. Her citations include the Outstanding Alumnae Award, 1981. She was an Active Zeta Tau Alpha alumna. The scholarship established in her memory is awarded each year at Brenau University’s Honors Convocation. Rainey earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Brenau University.

Margaret (Maggie) Garner Reisler, WC ’45

An actor, writer, lecturer, model, and teacher, Margaret (Maggie) Garner Reisler appeared in more than 100 radio and print commercials and was featured in ads in Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, House Beautiful. Maggie is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Mary Ross, WC ’58

Mary Ross began as a volunteer working at the Governor’s Mansion in South Carolina, and eventually earned a position as a Curator for the Mansion. She retired in 2007, but her career has come full circle and she now continues to volunteer her time at the Mansion.

Read more about Mary Ross in “Mary Ross: The Job of a Lifetime” in the Fall 2017 issue of Brenau Window.

Mary Ross for Brenau University.

Margaret Serrato, Ph.D., WC ’77

Margaret Serrato is Workplace Strategist at Herman Miller, Inc. She is a former Associate Principal at tvsdesign, former Principal Architect and owner of Arealogic, Inc.; and former senior architect at Lord Aeck & Sargent, Inc. (1993-00). She was the program director for more than 20 college building projects, including the Brenau University John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts. She has published a co-authored chapter on Post Occupancy Evaluation in The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice and a co-authored chapter on Supporting Work Team Effectiveness in Facility Design for High-Performance Teams. She has published articles on high-performance workplace design in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, CoreNet Leader, Business to Business, and Architectural Products magazine. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is a LEED Accredited Professional. She is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. She currently serves as faculty for Brenau Interior Design program.

Amber Markmann Simmons, Ph.D., WC ’03

Amber Markmann was named the International Society for Language Studies’ 2015 Founders’ Emergent Scholars Award winner. Simmons was invited to speak at the 2017 conference in Honolulu. She will have a paper published in Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, the peer-reviewed, quarterly journal in the fields of applied linguistics, language policy, language planning, modern languages and literatures, education, anthropology, sociology, history, political science, psychology and cultural studies. Amber received the Outstanding Alumni Award for Professional Achievement from Brenau in 2017.

Read more about Amber Markmann Simmons in “Teachers Top Brenau Alumni Honor Roll – But There’s a Little Detective Work Involved, Too” on the Brenau University website.

Brenau Trustee Gail Smith

Gail A. Smith, WC ’83

Gail is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees. Gail is a member of Women in Communications, the International Association of Business Communicators and is a docent at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. She received the Alumnae Service to Brenau Award in 2005. Gail was also a Sullivan Award recipient, past Alumnae Association President, alumna of Delta Delta Delta fraternity, and H.G.H. Senior Honor Society Member. Gail works as a Director in the Corporate Communications Department of Georgia-Pacific.

Shay English Stafford, WC ’69

Shay is a member of the Brenau University Board of Trustees where she chairs the External Relations Committee. Shay served on staff for U.S. Representative Roy A. Taylor and was instrumental in getting legislation approved to protect the environment and natural resources. Shay has been a long-time supporter of Brenau University and is an alumna of Delta Delta Delta fraternity.

Brenau Trustee Shay Stafford

Gloria Cassity Stargel, WC ’50 and ’77

Gloria Cassity Stargel is the author of The Healing: One Family’s Victorious Struggle with Cancer, published in 1982 and re-released in 2002. At the Guideposts Workshop in Rye, New York, her manuscript was selected from 4,500 entries. She is a regular contributor to Guideposts. She has articles in Decision and more than 25 other magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing author to 22 compilations including: I’ve Just Seen Jesus, Their Mysterious Ways, City Dwellers, and the series: Chicken Soup for the Soul, Stories for the Heart and God Allows U-turns. Her “Teacher at Last” was selected from among 8,000 published stories by Chicken Soup editors for 10th anniversary edition, Living Your Dreams. She has multiple leadership roles at Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville. She serves on the Board of Directors, Hall County Unit of the American Cancer Society. She was awarded the 2002 Outstanding Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement, Brenau University. Her “The Healing,” won the Award for Excellence in Christian Writing, and she was named Featured Author of Tyndale House Publishers in 1983. She was awarded Writer of the Year for five years by the local writers club, and won first place in Inspirational Writing for the National League American Pen Women in 1995.

Read more about Gloria Cassity Stargel in “A Very UnShackelton-like ‘Antarctic Explorer’” in the Summer 2007 issue and “Gloria Stargel: Inspirational Journalist, ‘Antarctic Explorer’” in the Sprint 2013 issue of Brenau Window.


Althea Lennox Tessier, Ph.D. WC ’38 (1917-2014)

A chaplain, pilot, college professor, world traveler, researcher, Althea Lennox Tessier addressed the Louisiana legislature on the subject of equal rights for women volunteers at the St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum in the 1950s.

Josephine Tetteh, WC ’03

Josephine serves as an Assistant State Attorney in North Carolina in the Attorney General’s office. She was a Brenau athlete in college and played soccer.

Presley Merritt Wagoner, WC ’71

President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Presley Merritt Wagoner is a former Brenau Alumnae Trustee. Her citations include: Outstanding Alumnae Award 1996 and the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award 1971. She is an active Delta Delta Delta alumna and a member of the National Gavel Society. Wagoner is active in St. Stephens’ Episcopal Church, Beckley, West Virginia, and is on the St. Stephen’s Day School Board of Directors. She has served as a St. Stephens’s Day School pre-school teacher. She has also served on the Beckley Area Foundation Grants Committee and Advisory Committee; Azalea Garden Club, Beckley, West Virginia; and the Laurel Hill Garden Club in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has served as a scout leader and a dental auxiliary; a board member of the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia; co-president of the Parents’ Association of the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia; and the Parents’ Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Xi Wang, WC ’07

Xi graduated from Brenau with a degree in music. In the summer of 2011, she joined the prestigious Merola program at San Francisco Opera. Among her awards, Ms. Wang was the first place winner of the Opera Columbus Competition; the East Bay Young Artist Vocal Competition; Fe Bland Scholarship Competition; Henry & Maria Young Artist Scholarship Competition; two time first place winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the San Francisco District; winner of the Gerda Lissner International Competition; a Semifinalist in the 2009 Eleanor McCollum Competition at Houston Grand Opera, and first place at NATS Southern Regional.

Lee Anne White

Lee Anne Romberg White, WC ’82

Lee Anne Romberg White is a photographer, writer and editor of more than 10 garden design books. She has worked as consulting editor for Fine Gardening magazine, a marketing and communications consultant for the AVAIL Network (1985-90), and as vice president of marketing for Home Federal. She exhibited photography in the Brenau University GALA National Invitational Art Exhibition. She has photographed more than 50 feature stories and 20 covers for dozens of books and magazines. Her awards and recognitions include: the Brenau University Mary Mildred Sullivan Award; the GWA Quill & Trowel Award for Best Photography Portfolio, Best Magazine Cover and Best Overall Magazine; and Brenau University Outstanding Alumnae Award. In 2017 her work was featured during the President’s Summer Art Series at Sellar’s Gallery in Simmons Visual Art Center on the historic campus of Brenau University.

Read more about Lee Anne Romberg White in “Communicator: Lee Anne Romberg White” in the Fall 2012 issue of Brenau Window.

B. J. Richardson Williams, WC ’82

A well-known radio personality, B.J. Richardson Williams served Brenau as a mentor to journalism and broadcast majors, volunteered with Women in Communications, and was elected Class Representative. She was a Student Alumnae Council Adviser, a member of Window Cookbook Committee, and the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, Chair of Awards Committee. She has emceed reunion activities, spoke as a Career Day speaker, and was a Zeta Tau Alpha Adviser. Her awards include: the Zeta Tau Alpha Honor Ring Award; Zeta Tau Alpha Certificate of Merit; Brenau Young Alumnae Award 1989; Brenau Outstanding Alumna Award for Professional Achievement 1989; Associated Press Awards for Best Regularly Scheduled newscast 1983; and Jack Williams Memorial Media Award from the American Cancer Society. She served the community at Riverbend Baptist Church and Zeta Tau Alpha as past District President for Georgia.

Read more about B. J. Richardson Williams  in “Communicator: BJ Richardson Williams” in the Fall 2012 issue of Brenau Window.

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