Graduation Tree in the Registrar's Office
This Saturday's graduation ceremonies mark a historic first for Brenau University. In addition to being the university's first winter commencement, it will also be the first graduation event streamed live online.

First Winter Commencement Ceremonies Honor 450 Graduates

Dec 9, 2015
Brenau Staff

More than 450 undergraduates and graduates will be eligible to receive diplomas when Brenau University marks its first winter commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The two ceremonies will be held in Pearce Auditorium on the Brenau historic campus in Gainesville. However, they will both be broadcast – another first for Brenau – via a streaming video connection to overflow venues on the Gainesville campus, to other campuses around the region and to individuals who log in on personal computers and mobile devices across the globe.

Brenau traditionally graduates its students in ceremonies for the Women’s College on the first Friday evening in May and for all other undergraduates and graduate students the next morning. However, the number of total diploma recipients has increased each year. More important, said Nancy Krippel, Brenau provost and vice president for academic affairs, many students do not complete their academic requirements until summer or fall terms and, as a result, cannot participate in the spring ceremonies. They would have to wait until the following May to “walk” in a commencement exercise.

“Brenau values all of its students and we want to celebrate their academic achievements,” said Krippel. “We thought if we scheduled a second commencement for the Class of 2015, more of them would want to participate. The interest was so great that we wound up having to add a second December ceremony.”

At last May’s commencement, 215 undergraduate and 143 graduate degrees were handed out. Combined with the 455 bestowed at this Saturday’s ceremonies, the total number of diplomas awarded by Brenau in 2015 eclipses 800.

The graduates eligible to graduate in the December 2015 class comprise students who completed their degree programs last summer and the 2015 fall term. The 298 graduate students in the group represent the bulk of those who have earned diplomas. In addition, there are 43 Women’s College students and 114 other undergraduates, including degree recipients, who are eligible. About half the total number have indicated they will attend the Saturday ceremonies.

The graduate student ceremony will take place at 10 a.m., while the ceremony for Women’s College students and other undergraduates is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Both ceremonies will be held at Pearce Auditorium, 202 Boulevard, on the Gainesville historic campus. The overflow venues – Hosch Theatre, 429 Academy St., and Thurmond-McRae Lecture Hall, 625 Academy St. – will enable friends and family members who are not seated in Pearce to watch both ceremonies on a large-screen simulcast. Because of limited seating in Pearce, each graduate is allotted only three tickets.

“It is pretty exciting,” said Kathy Goodman, administrative assistant to the provost and adjunct faculty coordinator. “This is the first time we are ever going to have a live stream into each of the venues that we have guests in as well as online.”

However, virtually anyone in the world will be able to view the commencement in real time via at “You can watch the event using any Web browser or using a mobile device,” said Brenau Vice President of Technology and CIO Chip Andrews. The LiveStream app is available as a free download on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. System requirements for streaming LiveStream events is online at

The graduation breakdown by campus is as follows: Augusta, 17; Fairburn, nine; Gainesville, 156; Kings Bay, 18; and Norcross, 90. All-online students represent 157 of those receiving degrees.

The only downside of the ceremony, said Goodman, is that for an event scheduled just before the year-end holidays, there is no make-up date. If an ice storm or other condition forces the campus to close, the commencement exercises will be canceled, and graduates will receive diplomas by mail.