Interior Design Receives Endowments Honoring Jill Mansfield and Sandra McGowan

Sandy McGowen teaching
Sandy McGowen with a class

Brenau University’s Interior Design Department received more than $150,000 in endowments this year. Endowments are funds given by donors that provide annual support for a program or school in perpetuity, as only a portion of the yearly investment return of the original gift is expended according to a percentage established by the Board of Trustees.

Anne Skleder & Jill Mansfield

John E. Mansfield Jr. honored his wife with a gift to establish the Jill Ramsey Mansfield Opportunities Fund for Interior Design, and this year the department was able to begin using the funds. Jill Mansfield is a graduate of Brenau’s Interior Design program and a member of Brenau University’s Board of Trustees. Jill has been a longtime supporter of the department and takes the students on tours of her business and current interior design projects.

Sandy McGowan, a much-loved professor in the Interior Design Department, sadly passed away in 2021. The Sandra G. McGowan Leadership Grant honors her service to Brenau and the profession. Sandy, who retired in 2017 after more than 23 years, was also a professional mentor, owned her own interior design business and was active in the American Society of Interior Design’s state board. She arranged the interior design students’ required internships for many years and was the faculty leader of Brenau’s American Society of Interior Design student chapter. 

Sandy McGowen

The Sandra G. McGowan Leadership Grant, which was first envisioned by former chair of Brenau’s ID program, Lynn Jones, will be used to encourage student participation in leadership functions and professional seminars.

The gift to establish the endowment was provided by  Kristen Hitt of Fairfax, Virginia and the EPPC Gang, Sandy’s youth group at East Point Presbyterian Church. Sandy made a lifelong impact on this group of children.

The department thanks everyone who was involved in the endowments, which will create wonderful opportunities for our interior design students. To find out how you can support Brenau students, visit