Tangela Darnise Hendricks waves while walking across the Pearce Auditorium stage during the Brenau University undergraduate and Women's College winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Tangela Darnise Hendricks waves while walking across the Pearce Auditorium stage during the Brenau University undergraduate and Women's College winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

President Ed Schrader Charges Graduates to Embrace Change

Dec. 16, 2017
Kristen Bowman

During Brenau University’s winter commencements on Saturday, Dec. 16, the institution’s President Ed Schrader challenged the 429 graduates receiving diplomas to be open to change in their professional and personal lives.

Schrader advised the graduates to look to their alma mater as an example.

“What started as a women’s college steeped in a liberal-arts tradition has evolved into a nationally recognized and prestigious, multifaceted institution of higher education graduating thousands of leaders, male and female, in not just the liberal arts but also in health care, business, law, education, the sciences and many other disciplines,” he said. “Brenau adapted to a changing world that required more of us and of you. My advice to you is to be ready to do the same throughout your life.”

Graduates and their families fill Pearce Auditorium for the Brenau University graduate winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Graduates and their families fill Pearce Auditorium for the Brenau University graduate winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

At the 10 a.m. ceremony in Pearce Auditorium on the Gainesville campus, 267 graduate degree candidates received diplomas, while 162 undergraduate degree candidates walked across the stage to receive theirs at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

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

Schrader reminded the graduates that their Brenau education has not only prepared them to succeed in their professions, but it equips them to make a difference in the world.

“If you are young, today’s uncertain and sometimes troubling events may seem as if we are flying toward the end of an era or the beginning of perilous times,” he said. “But, if you are a bit older, you have seen that throughout life the pendulum of fortune swings both ways, to positive and negative, good and troubling times. That pendulum generally moves humanity forward and upward. With a strong intellectual preparation and commitment to spiritual and personal integrity, you are best equipped to be on that upward swing to achieve your own goals and leave a positive impact on the world around you.”

For more than 130 years, Brenau held ceremonies honoring all graduates in the spring. The university added winter commencement exercises in 2015, offering an opportunity for those students who do not complete their academic requirements until summer or fall terms the opportunity to walk in a more timely commencement ceremony.

Katlyn Jarrard gets a hug after graduating with her Master of Interior Design degree during the Brenau University graduate winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Katlyn Jarrard gets a hug after graduating with her Master of Interior Design degree during the Brenau University graduate winter commencement ceremony. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

The winter ceremony is most advantageous for the 267 graduate degree candidates in this year’s group, representing the bulk of those who earned diplomas this season, a number that has increased each winter since the December commencement ceremony was installed. In addition, there are 36 Women’s College students in the 162 undergraduates degree recipients. Combined with the hundreds of degrees added throughout the year, the total number of degrees completed in 2017 will be 797.

Schrader said this reflects a pattern begun several years ago, that more graduate degrees are being conferred than undergraduate.

“That was not the pattern of the first graduating class of the Georgia Baptist Women’s Seminary’s of nearly 140 years ago,” he said. “That class consisted of about 10 young women who graduated with baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts. Certainly Brenau University has evolved in those 140 years in both name and mission. Look to your alma mater as an example, and be open to self-evaluation and adaptation in your professional and personal lives.”

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100