Dave Devore talks with other veterans and active duty military members inside the Veteran's Lounge at Brenay's Jacksonville campus. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Dave Devore talks with other veterans and active duty military members inside the Veteran's Lounge at Brenau's Jacksonville campus. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau Opens Veterans Lounges, Recognizes Outstanding Veteran

Nov 9, 2016
Kristen Bowman

Brenau University celebrated its student, faculty and staff veterans – particularly the service of one outstanding veteran – in a special ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The university held a grand opening and ribbon cutting for its new veterans lounge as part of Veterans Appreciation Week. All five Brenau University campuses are now equipped with a lounge and resource center for student, faculty and staff veterans, according to Rosanne Short, director of Military and Veteran Services.

The event Wednesday included the presentation of the colors by the Sons of the American Revolution and a word from Brenau University President Dr. Ed Schrader.

“They actively, as reserves and as veterans represent the best amongst us,” Schrader said. “The military never, ever receives compensation approaching its sacrifice and its service. So it is with humble appreciation that Brenau offers as much service to our veterans and active military as possible.”

The university also recognized one of its own veterans, Postmaster Vernon Smedley, with the inaugural Brenau University Outstanding Veteran Award.

“Vern is always there,” Short said. “He always has his Marine flag hanging in his office, and he will talk about the military with anyone at any time. He’s a wonderful example of how veterans continue to affect others, even after their military service is complete.”

Short said Brenau chose to add the lounges because veterans like Smedley ought to be provided a quiet place to get together and interact in peer support.

Military Friendly School Award 2017
Because of efforts honor our veterans, such as opening veterans lounges on every campus, Brenau has been named a Military Friends School again for 2017.

“They have experiences other students don’t understand, and they’re often older than the average student,” Short said. “It’s a whole different world from what other students have known, and they deserve a place where they can be with people who have shared their experiences.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Devore, 27, an MBA candidate on Brenau’s Jacksonville campus, said Brenau treats its veterans and active duty military members “very well.” He added the new lounge “offers a quiet place to get away and study.”

Brenau University has been ranked nationally as a top college or university for its various programs and education for veterans, including U.S. News and World Report ranking Brenau No. 12 in the Best Colleges for Veterans survey in 2014. The lounges offer a quiet place to study and warm up a meal, with coffee pots, microwaves, refrigerators and comfortable furnishings.

Short said many of these items were donated by alumni who wanted to do something in appreciations of veterans. The rooms are small spaces, typically repurposed offices or conference rooms. “This is a first step in providing something for them, something that’s cozy and meets their needs,” she said.