Anne A. Skleder

Grateful and Energized

Jul 1, 2019
Anne A. Skleder

New beginnings are fun, scary, hard, exciting and one hundred other emotions, many of which I have experienced these past few months as I have prepared to become the tenth president of Brenau University. But the two words that best describe the threshold on which I find myself are grateful and energized.

This gratefulness flows from two springs. First, as you probably know, hiring the university president is one of the most significant responsibilities a board of trustees undertakes. I can assure you that this solemn responsibility was taken very seriously by our board, and I am humbled that this collection of gifted leaders asked me to lead Brenau University during the next chapter of her history.

The second spring of gratefulness swells from a knowledge and appreciation that I am here today because many people over the years – teachers, mentors, supervisors – provided me extraordinary opportunities, placed faith in me before I earned it and then supported me all the way. I am blessed with dear friends and family who gave unconditional love, time and great wisdom — although I have not always been wise enough to take this advice. I cannot wait for them to meet the wonderful Brenau community in the months and years ahead.

One of these wonderful people you will not meet is my mother, Anne, after whom I am named. Mom would have been 90 this spring. A second generation American, she did not have the opportunity to go to college. She was one of four—three daughters and a son. Like so many other families, the son went to college and even graduate school, the daughters were expected to work, marry, and not pursue careers. She was a seamstress and then a wonderful mother, and then a grandmother and the biggest cheerleader for me and my three siblings. Ultimately, she celebrated three of us completing college and two of us advanced degrees. There was not a prouder mom!

I am also energized. And you should be too, because Brenau university is:

  • guided by a most compelling mission as together we prepare students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment. This is, in fact, a life changing mission.
  • grounded in a storied heritage as a women’s college committed to educating women at a time when women had few options that has now expanded to support the growth of a comprehensive university.
  • strongly enriched by a proud history and a commitment to being progressive, adding programs, learning methods including online, additional locations, student segments, sports and the list goes on as we meet the changing needs of students, the economy and society.
  • committed to access of all kinds of students whether traditional age or adult students, including veterans, hailing from 48 states and 17 countries, 97 percent of whom receive financial aid.
  • committed to a positive culture for our highly qualified faculty and staff with the overwhelming majority of faculty possessing terminal degrees and committed to student success.
  • the beneficiary of nine successful presidents, each of whom contributed indelible attributes to the university.

Over the coming weeks and months I want to unpack these, for within each lies an adventure and a gift that will continue to help guide and strengthen our university.

I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you as we build on the accomplishments of those who have come before us and do our part to produce extraordinary graduates prepared to make their marks on the world.