Announcement of the passing of President Anne Skleder

Anne A. Skleder, Ph.D., the 10th president of Brenau University and the first female president in its 145-year history, has died in Atlanta after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

The Skleder family will hold a funeral mass Nov. 7 in Pennsylvania. Brenau University will hold a Celebration of Life to honor President Skleder at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Pearce Auditorium on the historic Gainesville Campus. The event is open to the public.

President Skleder kept Brenau students – who she called “our reason for being” – at the forefront throughout her four-year tenure, and established a scholarship for first-generation students soon after beginning her presidency. Under her leadership, Brenau elevated its Department of Psychology to the Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling, which is located in the Gainesville Renaissance at Brenau’s Downtown Campus. She also established the Miller Institute for Global Education, which expanded study abroad opportunities for Brenau students.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of President Skleder and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time,” Mike Smith, chair of Brenau’s Board of Trustees, said. “Her leadership will be missed, and I personally have lost a dear friend. But I know that she would be the first to tell us to continue the good work of Brenau – as she did often during her courageous battle against leukemia.”

Smith also noted that as President Skleder had selected Dr. David Barnett to continue the business of Brenau during her treatment, he and the Board of Trustees have full confidence in Dr. Barnett continuing to serve as interim president.

President Skleder’s sudden passing comes as a shock and surprise to many in the university community, and help is available for any faculty, staff or student who may be struggling at this time. University Counselor Gay Baldwin may be reached at or 770-534-6121 and the Brenau Center for Counseling & Psychological Services provides services in Gainesville and Norcross. Brenau employees may get assistance through the Employee Assistance Program at 800-450-1327.

A community gathering will take place in Thurmond McRae at 4:30 p.m. today for any who want to observe a few moments of reflection together. There will also be a candlelight gathering on Monday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m. on the front lawn of campus.