A Brenau University graduate celebrates

Brenau welcomes Costa Rican VP as graduation speaker

Dec 2, 2021
Edie Rogers

Brenau University will hold two graduation ceremonies on Dec. 10 at Pearce Auditorium to celebrate the more than 400 graduates who have completed their degrees this semester.

Epsy Campbell Barr
Costa Rican Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr

The featured speaker for both ceremonies will be Costa Rican Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr, who has held the position since 2018. Campbell Barr and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris are the only two women of color ever to be elected as national vice presidents throughout the Americas.

Brenau President Anne Skleder, who also will speak to graduates, will present an honorary doctoral degree to Campbell Barr.

“I am proud of our graduates for continuing their studies during challenging times over the last few years. I am exceedingly grateful to all the faculty and staff who have helped our students along the journey to earning a degree, and many graduates will be the first in their families to do so. This is a transformational outcome,” Skleder said. “I also am excited to personally welcome Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr, an incredible woman who has fought for environmental, civil and women’s rights and has served her country in myriad important ways.”

Rosi Ponce, Brenau University’s executive director of international strategy and partnerships, said inviting Campbell Barr to Brenau reflects the university’s commitments to expanding international understanding for its students and the community.

“It is an honor for us to host Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr, a researcher and human rights activist focused on efforts to ensure gender parity, equity for afro-descendants and indigenous and native peoples; as well as human development, social inclusion and environment,” Ponce said. “She is a true leader and a reference in the hemisphere who will inspire us all.”

An economist, Campbell Barr previously ran for president in 2010 and 2014 and served in the Legislative Assembly from 2002-06 and again from 2014-18. She is a co-founder of Costa Rica’s Citizens’ Action Party and has served as the organization’s president.

Campbell Barr has a bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degrees in development cooperation and political decision making.

Campbell Barr has led the Center for Women of African Descent, the Alliance of Leaders of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Black Parliament of the Americas. She has written several articles and books on democracy and inclusion, including Costa Rica Through the Eyes of Women.

A ceremony for Brenau’s candidates for graduate programs, including master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees, will be held at 10 a.m. Candidates for undergraduate programs, including associate and bachelor’s degrees, will be held at 1:30 p.m.

Graduates and their guests are reminded that masks are required indoors on all Brenau campuses, and all are asked to complete the online COVID-19 screening checklist before coming onto campus. Guests will be asked at the door to show the “green screen” confirmation that signifies they are cleared to enter campus.

Tickets have been assigned to graduates and are required to attend, but Brenau will stream all graduation ceremonies via https://vimeo.com/brenau for those unable to attend the ceremonies. The events will be streamed live and available for viewing after the event.

For additional information, including details about spring graduation events, visit Brenau’s graduation page.