Four students look through photo frame at birthday party.

Annual Grrrl PowHER Hour followed by a surprise 140th birthday party

Oct 29, 2018
Kristen Bowman

Every fall the Brenau University Women’s College hosts Grrrl PowHER Hour, an informal lunchtime convocation for students and the community. But this year, the event was followed by a special surprise.Students perform dance following speakers.

A “birthday party” celebrating the university’s 140th anniversary this academic year was held on the front lawn outside Pearce Auditorium, complete with games, prizes, performances by the cheer and dance teams and the Dance Department, as well as enough birthday cake to feed the entire student body.

Freshman Maleah Boyd said the celebration was “the coolest thing” she’s done yet at Brenau.

“I have never heard of any college doing this, but this is so Brenau,” Boyd said. “Brenau is all about community and being together, which makes me so sure I came to the right school. Being in the cheer squad, being able to perform and to see everyone that goes to my school all here together is amazing. Every day I am reminded that I chose the right school.”

Grrrl PowHER Hour this year included addresses by three Brenau seniors: Gloria Clark, who presented a powerful poem titled Post-Graduation that she wrote for her senior class; Allie McConnell, this year’s Baxter-Bryan Scholar; and Miriam Murphy-Gary, this year’s Brenau Ideal winner. PowHER Hour also featured a convocation address by Brenau alumna Darnisha Coverson, Women’s College class of 2012.

Today, Coverson is a forensic scientist with the Denver Police Department. She shared her story and advice for young women sitting in the seats she once occupied.

“I remember sitting in those chairs and having people stand in front of me to talk to us,” she said. “I always wondered, ‘What are they going to talk about and is there anything they can say that I can really apply to my life?’

Darnisha Coverson talks to the student body as the special guest. “I’m here today to show and tell my story. I want to try to instruct you in a way that lifts you up and shows you that one day, you can be standing up here talking to future Brenau students about your story.”

Coverson started at the Denver Crime Lab as a lab technician. She told the students about feeling self-conscious working alongside far more experienced individuals with more degrees than her bachelor’s in biology from Brenau. But she advised students to never feel insignificant or compare themselves to others. “That never gets you anywhere,” she said.
Eventually, Coverson was promoted to her current position, in which she has been an instrumental part of the department. This year, she helped the lab obtain a $1 million grant from the Department of Justice — and she credits Brenau for giving her the skills to obtain such a prestigious grant. Today, the lab is helping her with tuition as she earns her master’s degree.

Debra Dobkins, dean of the Women’s College, said Coverson is a perfect example to Brenau women and young women everywhere of how to build the future they desire.

“She is an extraordinary Brenau woman,” Dobkins said, “somebody I am delighted to know and proud to bring back to the Brenau stage.”