Award of 190 Diplomas to Puts Cap on Women’s College 135th Anniversary
On a day when news broke that the number of U.S. single-gender female institutions had diminished to 45, Brenau University today conferred 190 undergraduate diplomas to members of the Brenau Women’s College Class of 2014.
“The Women’s College is strong, thriving and the heart of our institution,” Brenau President Ed Schrader told graduates and guests gathered on the shaded front lawn of the historic campus in front of the iconic Victorian-era Second Empire architecture of the school’s oldest buildings. The commencement marked the final event in the year-long celebration of the institution’s 135 years of continuous operation.
“It is your turn to take this foundation, couple it with your enthusiasm, and change the world. You are the reason this institution celebrates its 135 years because we celebrate your potential and your success.”
The residential Women’s College represents about a third of the Brenau student population of about 3,000. Brenau offers coeducational undergraduate and graduate degrees online and on campuses in Gainesville and four other Georgia locales. Graduates from those programs were scheduled to receive their diplomas on the Gainesville campus Saturday, May 3.
Schrader pointed out that, in the past decade, the enrollment of the Brenau Women’s College has grown from fewer than 700 students to about 900 – one of the few women’s colleges in the United States that has not suffered enrollment losses in the same time period. In fact, the day started with the published announcement that Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had decided to open its doors to male students because undergraduate enrollment declines have made it impossible for the institution to remain single gender.
The Brenau Women’s College growth will become more visible in the next few weeks, Schrader said, when the university begins construction on four new sorority houses and a large residence hall on campus, as well as on an athletics park for some of the university’s 10 intercollegiate women’s sports teams.
“We are investing a lot in the future of the Women’s College,” said Schrader.
The reason for the success of Brenau, he added, is that the university maintains “a very intense effort to supply a liberal arts education that is coupled with professional opportunities.”
In addition to awarding diplomas, the university also cited students and members of the faculty for outstanding achievement:
Three students from Gainesville – English major Ashley Elizabeth Lee, early childhood education major Megan Lauren-Ashley Smith and biology majorJordan B. Wallace – all received both the Alpha Lambda Delta Award for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average as well as the Cora Anderson Hill Award, named for a Brenau alumna from Gainesville with a distinguished career in journalism and public service.
Gary Bauman, associate professor of psychology, received the Ann Austin Johnston Award, which includes a $2,500 prize, for outstanding teaching. The award was established by Donald C. Johnston of Dublin, Georgia, in honor of his wife, who was a Brenau graduate.
Juli G. Clay, assistant professor of mass communication, received the Vulcan Teaching Award for teaching excellence and leadership with a $1,000 prize funded by Vulcan Materials Company through the Georgia Independent Colleges Association.
Dana Edge, mathematics adjunct and Math Study Place for Achievement coordinator, and Jennifer Allison, an occupational therapy instructor, received outstanding part-time faculty member awards.
All told, Brenau planned to award 735 degrees in 2014. That includes 394 undergraduate degrees and 341 graduate degrees – which includes the first five doctoral degrees in Brenau’s history. This total also includes 138 degrees awarded to students enrolled in Brenau’s nationally acclaimed online programs.