Stephanie Lynn Burns laughs from her seat during the Brenau University Graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 in Gainesville, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau President Ed Schrader offers graduates advice for successful futures

Dec. 14, 2018
Kristen Bowman

During Brenau University’s winter commencements on Friday, Dec. 14, the institution’s President Ed Schrader challenged the graduates to go out and change the world by keeping in mind a few simple rules.
Schrader, a known dog lover and owner of chocolate lab Jake, told the audience to keep in mind the tips of renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan.

“Cesar has good and sound information to offer any of you who want to train a dog, because that’s what he does,” Schrader said. “But he suggests the three basic rules of dog training are really basic core truths and are necessary for successful human relationships as well. These three universal truths are consistency, discipline and affection. I don’t need to tell you how you can successfully apply those three things in your own human relationships.”

Approximately 350 degrees were conferred Friday, including 249 graduate degrees at the 10 a.m. ceremony in Pearce Auditorium on the Gainesville campus and 101 undergraduate degrees at the following 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

Graduates received diplomas for degrees ranging from doctorates in occupational therapy, physical therapy and nursing to master’s degrees in business administration, accounting and interior design, plus a wide array of bachelor’s degrees in disciplines such as the arts, education, sciences and business administration.

Heather Jane Hayes smiles as she receives her Doctor of Nurse Practice degree from Brenau President Ed Schrader during the Brenau University Graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 in Gainesville, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

“This academic year, we will graduate between 800-900 total students, most of whom will graduate in May,” Schrader said. “Out of the 350 students here today, 67 of you are active military, reserve, veteran or military family members. That’s a high percentage and we’re proud of that. At Brenau, we are quite proud of our relationship with our military students, and because of that we try to make an education accessible and real for them.”

In the 2018-19 academic year, the university adopted the motto “Keep Brenau Kind” and Schrader reminded the graduates to also carry the lessons they learned about kindness into their professional lives.
He said as graduates of Brenau, the degree recipients are now part of an elite family of learners and achievers capable of doing great things with their educations.

“I truly believe applying these truths will make not only your canine family member thrive, but it will make you thrive,” Schrader said. “I believe you in this group of graduates have the potential to change your world, and I have both my hope and my confidence in you.”
Peter Miller, chair of the Brenau Board of Trustees, cited The Brenau Ideal, penned by early Brenau President H.J. Pearce, which he said may serve as a guiding point for graduates of the university. It states:

“To find satisfaction in being rather than in seeming;
To find joy in doing rather than in dreaming;
To be prepared for service thereby earning the right to be served;
To be pure in heart, vigorous in mind, discreet in action;
To love deeply, fear nothing, hate never;
To enjoy that freedom which comes from knowledge of the “Truth”;
To be modestly conscious of the limitations of human knowledge
and serenely confident of the limitless reaches of human endeavor –
This is the ideal of Brenau.”

Miller also credited the leadership success of Schrader, who recently announced plans to retire in 2019 and likely celebrated his last winter commencement as Brenau president. Miller said Schrader has made a difference in the lives of Brenau graduates like those who received diplomas Friday.

“Brenau’s mission challenges students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment,” Miller said to the graduates. “I trust that we have lived up to our responsibility during your time at Brenau, that we have prepared you well.”


Graduate Commencement


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