President Ed Schrader gets a kiss on the face from his dog, Jake, while being celebrated at Brenau's Honors Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

President Schrader and students honored at Brenau Honors Convocation

Apr 11, 2019
Kathryne Davis
Danny Dunagan shakes President Schrader's hand during Brenau's Honors Convocation
Danny Dunagan shakes President Schrader’s hand during Brenau’s Honors Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

April 11, 2019, is a day Brenau University President Ed Schrader won’t soon forget.

Following the presentation of student awards at his last Honors Convocation as president Thursday, April 11, in Pearce Auditorium, Schrader was surprised by Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan, who declared the date as Dr. Edward L. Schrader Day.

“It is my pleasure to be here this afternoon to read a little proclamation to Dr. Schrader, who has meant so much to this community and our city and Brenau,” Dunagan said. “Ed and I have gotten to be real good friends over the several years that he’s been here. We’ve had a lot of good times together.”

Along with the day named in his honor, Schrader received several gifts. He, his wife, Myra, and their dog, Jake, were given items made from Brenau tartan, which the university’s Center for the Arts & Design is in the process of certifying with Scotland’s official tartan registry.

“While we very much honor and appreciate everything Dr. Schrader has done for Brenau, we certainly thank Myra for her years of cheerful service and dedicated support for the Brenau family near and far,” said Debra Dobkins, dean of The Women’s College.

President Schrader also received a basketball with a message from Mike Krzyzewski, head men’s basketball coach at Duke University where Schrader earned a Ph.D. in geochemistry, as well as a binder of well-wishes from colleagues across the United States.

Myra Schrader, Jake and Ed Schrader all receive gifts from Claudia Wilburn, associate professor of Art and Design.
Myra Schrader, Jake and Ed Schrader all receive gifts from Claudia Wilburn, associate professor of Art and Design. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

In addition, Student Government Association President Sommer Stockton said an oak tree will be planted on Brenau’s front lawn in Schrader’s honor.

“Throughout your tenure as president you have remained an ally and advocate for students, and we would like to present a gift to show our appreciation,” Stockton said.

During Thursday’s ceremony, Schrader awarded the university’s highest academic honor, the Baxter-Bryan Scholarship, to rising senior Kendy Manzano, fashion design major from Adairsville, Georgia. The award is granted to a junior for her senior year to cover tuition, room and board. It has been given out for the past 30 years and was established by Joe W. Baxter, who named the scholarship for his sister, Carfax Baxter, and friend, Morris Bryan Jr.

Cierra Franklin, mass communications major from Albany, Georgia, was the Baxter-Bryan runner-up and received the Sidney O. Smith Scholarship. The three other Baxter-Bryan finalists were Mae Allison, theatre major from Lawrenceville, Georgia; Ashton Stockdale, English major from Lilburn, Georgia; and Tabitha Morrison, early childhood education major from Dawsonville, Georgia, who each received Provost Scholarships.

“These five young women are among the best and brightest that Brenau and the United States has to offer,” Schrader said. “We recognize all of them, and I want you to know it was a very very difficult decision this year because everyone was deserving of the highest recognition.”

Left to right: Ashton Stockdale, Tabitha Morrison, Kendy Manzano, Cierra Franklin and Mae Allison
Left to right: Ashton Stockdale, Tabitha Morrison, Kendy Manzano, Cierra Franklin and Mae Allison. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Lauren Hill, acting major from Flowery Branch, Georgia, was this year’s recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, given to a senior who is a leader, works hard and reflects the Brenau Ideal.

Schrader said “she is described as a ray of sunshine.”

At the end of the Honors Convocation, freshman Xueyun “Anna” Feng sang “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett, a favorite of Schrader’s, while faculty members on stage revealed tie-dye and Hawaiian shirts under their robes.

Finally, as a surprise for students, classes were canceled for the rest of the day, and all in attendance were able to enjoy activities outside, including foods, games and music.

“I have a friend of mine in Mississippi who says, ‘It hadn’t been nothin’ but fun,’” Schrader said.