Students wrap the May Pole at Alumni Reunion Weekend 2022
(AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau alumni celebrate annual reunion weekend on historic Gainesville campus

May 5, 2022
Alyson Shields

Hundreds of Brenau alumni returned to the historic Gainesville campus April 28-30 to celebrate the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend, recognize milestone reunions and honor alumni award winners.

Saturday afternoon, Brenau President Anne Skleder gave a State of the University Address that was live-streamed and attended by alumni, faculty and staff.

“The state of Brenau University, your alma mater, is strong. We are stable, both financially and operationally and I am dedicated to maintaining that strength and building upon it as Brenau nears its 150th anniversary,” Skleder said during the address. She shared the six goals of the strategic plan and urged alumni to keep being a part of the Brenau experience.

“By your presence here today in person or online, you have a connection to the university and therefore have a role to play in its future, whether or not you realize it,” Skleder said. “Brenau University’s long-term goals are transformative for students, the institution and the community – and everyone has a part in making that happen. We couldn’t be where we are today without the support of our alumni.”

Alumni Reunion Weekend
The 50th reunion classes of 1970-72

Brenau celebrated the 50th anniversary classes of 1970-72 with a dinner Thursday. A dinner and pinning ceremony Friday celebrated the reunions of class years that ended in a 0, 1, 2, 5, 6, or 7.

“I just wanted to hug all my friends who came back for the 50 year reunion,” Rosalind Bowers Bennett, A ’67, WC ’71, said. Bennett received her Academy Golden Rose pin and her 50th college reunion pin. “I just want to hug them because I don’t know when I’ll see them again. And it was just so much fun. We’ve talked nonstop and shared so many great memories.”

Several Brenau alumni were recognized during the annual alumni awards, including three who were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Jennifer Allison, WC ’92, BU ’03, ’16, Brenau assistant professor of occupational therapy; Jessica Vaughn Moss, WC ’80, retired Cherokee County Solicitor General; and Carole Ann Carter Daniel, WC ’68, businesswoman and Brenau Trustee. 

Allison has been recognized in the occupational therapy profession at the local, state and national levels.  She is one of only 26 occupational therapists to have earned the prestigious Board Certification in Mental Health from the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Moss served as a prosecutor for 32 years and has served on numerous boards and civic organizations, including the state Sexual Offender Registration Review Board. 

Daniel has had a hand in the family-owned Carroll Daniel Construction since 1975, taking on leadership in 2003 following the death of her husband. Daniel established the Carroll Edmondson Daniel Endowed Scholarship at Brenau, and co-chaired the university’s $40 million ForeverGold campaign.

Several other alumni were honored for their service and contributions to Brenau:

Also on Saturday, the popular champagne brunch returned to Wilkes Lawn, and May Court was presented, followed by the traditional wrapping of the May Pole. Sydney Hencil was presented as the May Queen, with Daphne Ramirez as the May Prince and Alexis Anderson as the May Princess.

Alumni Reunion Weekend
Ashley Anderson Aligood and Cheryl Thorsten chat with another alumna during the champagne brunch. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Ashley Anderson Aligood, WC ’05, Cheryl Thorsten, WC ’06, and Amanda Kelley, WC ’05, said they come back for Alumni Reunion Weekend every year.

“Just being back and being able to converse in person and not waiting on a Zoom camera,” was what Aligood said she looked forward to the most during the weekend.

“I think a favorite thing for us is that everybody looks so beautiful,” Thorsten added. “The campus is gorgeous at this time of the year.”

“It reminds you of a fun experience in life,” Kelley said.

Saturday evening, the athletics department celebrated their Hall of Fame inductees, Lyn See Choo, WC ’12, tennis; Dominika Jasova, WC ’14, tennis; Jenny Shepherd Wasden, WC ’14, softball; and Olamide Sokunbi, WC ’16, track. They also recognized Brenau junior Annabeth Vandiver with the Michael D. Clanton Excellence in Athletics Award. 

More about Alumni Reunion Weekend and more photos are on President Skleder’s blog.