Sophia Casey elbow bumps with Brenau President Anne Skleder after receiving the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award during Brenau’s honors convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau students honored at annual Honors Convocation

Apr 16, 2021
Kathryne Davis

Brenau University recognized its students for their academic achievements during the annual spring Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 15, at the Amphitheatre on the Gainesville campus.

The ceremony honors the top scholars of Brenau across all disciplines and recognizes the hard work of all students throughout the year.

Faculty and administrators in masks and regalia stand in amphitheater.“I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you,” Brenau President Anne Skleder said to the students. “I know our students at Brenau are talented. I knew that when I arrived here two years ago. But now I am positive that our students put in the effort. That is why you made it through the past year. And you didn’t just make it through — you thrived, and I know you will continue to do so as well.”

Elysa Spinks, freshman English major from Oakwood, Georgia, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholarship, and Sophia Casey, biology major from Flowery Branch, Georgia, was awarded the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. The awards, each named in honor of husband and wife philanthropists, recognize students who have demonstrated humanitarian efforts and stewardship qualities in their communities.

The Baxter-Bryan Scholarship finalists were presented with their awards, which were previously announced on Tuesday, April 13. The Baxter-Bryan Scholarship is the highest academic honor and covers tuition and room and board to a junior for her senior year. This year’s recipient was Haley Bartoletta, mass communication major from Jefferson, Georgia. The runner-up and Sidney O. Smith Scholarship winner was Daphne Ramirez, biology major from Covington, Georgia. Provost Scholarships were awarded to the other finalists, including Annabelle Lee, finance major from Suwanee, Georgia; Emily Ashmead, theatre major from Duluth, Georgia; and Rebecca McDaniel, middle grades education major from Leesburg, Georgia.

Mirella Reily addresses audience at podium.Mirella Reily, recipient of the Presidential Senior Art Purchase award, congratulated students for their hard work and sacrifices made throughout the year.

“Having a school year during a pandemic is a truly unique experience that I think none of us thought we would ever have to deal with,” she said. “It’s really easy to fixate on the many other struggles we’ve had to deal with this year. But we should not let that keep us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We shouldn’t let us keep us from knowing that all of the hard work that we’ve done is about to pay off, and that we can be satisfied with the many things we’ve accomplished this year. I am so proud of the students and faculty are making it to the end of this exhausting year. We’re almost there. Let’s finish strong.”

The full list of winners can be found here.