Brenau awards degrees to more than 370 graduates for fall semester

A graduate student smiles at her fellow graduates as she returns to her seat with her diploma.

More than 370 students earned degrees during the fall semester, including about 250 who participated in winter commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 16.

Brenau University President Anne A. Skleder spoke to graduate degree candidates in a morning ceremony and undergraduate candidates, including those from The Women’s College, in the afternoon. She encouraged all students to continue following the Brenau Ideal after graduation.

“We live in a world with many complex challenges that will be solved neither with single-perspective thinking nor by individuals too timid to take them on,” Skleder said. “It is your ideas, your ability to problem-solve, communicate and collaborate that are called for. Perhaps most important is your courage to live your principles. The future belongs to those who see possibilities where others see obstacles. The future belongs to you, graduates.”

Brooke Pattillo speaks at the podium during winter commencement.
Brooke Pattillo (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

After expressing gratitude for the success of her class during the invocation at the graduate ceremony, Brooke Pattillo, BU ’22, asked for her fellow graduates to be blessed as they received their Brenau diplomas.

“May we deeply appreciate the rich history, too, in which Brenau has linked us,” Pattillo said. “That our paths forward prepare our minds and protect our hearts so that we may reflect your selfless love and uphold the Brenau Ideal to ‘love deeply, fear nothing and hate never.’”

Graduates walked across the stage and turned their tassels in Pearce Auditorium at Brenau’s historic Gainesville campus during both commencement ceremonies. 

“As a graduate, you represent the greatness of our university,” Assistant Alumni Director Andi Savage said. “Your past accomplishments, your future achievements, the way you live your life and the values that mold you reflect upon the educational values of Brenau.”

Brenau streamed both ceremonies for those unable to attend, and the events are now available for viewing via

Ahead of the commencement ceremonies Friday, many graduates took part in special honorary ceremonies, including the nurses’ pinning ceremony and the Kente stole ceremony. 

On Dec. 12, the second cohort of Panamanian students were honored during a College Readiness completion ceremony. Those students will now go on to earn their college degrees at Brenau as part of a partnership with IFARHU, Panama’s financial aid agency. Students in the Inclusion program, who are returning to Panama after completing six months of study at Brenau, were also recognized at the event.