Anne A. Skleder

Brenau University Board of Trustees selects first woman as president in 141-year history

Apr 12, 2019
Ben McDade

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – The Board of Trustees of Brenau University has selected Anne A. Skleder as the institution’s 10th president and the first woman to lead the 141-year-old university.

Skleder currently serves as senior vice president and provost and professor of psychology at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, located about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. She will assume her new role on July 1 as she succeeds Ed L. Schrader who has served as president of Brenau University for almost 15 years.

Brenau University Board of Trustees Chair Pete Miller and President Schrader made the announcement during an April 12 special gathering of students, faculty, staff and community friends in Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium. Miller said that Skleder’s election was the result of a national search that attracted more than 100 candidates. “Through a robust and extensive search, our Board of Trustees enthusiastically selected Dr. Anne Skleder to lead Brenau into its next chapter of educating students for a life of learning and leadership,” Miller said. “Dr. Skleder’s academic and administrative experience positions her well for this exciting role.”

During her five year tenure at Wilkes University Skleder has been responsible for leading an array of academic programs and initiatives, working with the deans, nearly 200 full-time faculty and staff across six schools and colleges, enrollment recruitment and retention efforts at all levels and through all delivery systems, as well as staff in all areas of academic support. She also has had a major role in implementing initiatives outlined in the university’s successful strategic plan.

Among her chief accomplishments have been working with faculty to add more than 20 high quality and in-demand academic programs especially in health care, education, and business and leadership, launching the university’s first PhD program, bringing in the largest and most well-prepared first year class this past fall, increasing the diversity of both the students and faculty, ensuring investments in instructional space, initiating a major international initiative including a collaboration with the country of Panama and leading the effort to significantly increase external funding to support faculty and student scholarship and research.

“Anne has the right combination of experience, skills and academic preparation that Brenau needs for the next phase of its journey,” Schrader said. “Brenau has been most fortunate to have had presidents through the years who have provided the right kind of leadership needed for the challenges and opportunities of the times in which they served. I am confident that Dr. Skleder will continue that tradition as she stewards the university forward.”

Skleder says she is humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead a university of the stature and reputation of Brenau.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the board chair, Pete Miller, and all the trustees, President Schrader and the many individuals I met throughout this process for their warm hospitality, deep commitment to Brenau and powerful stories about the impact of the university that has led us here to this moment,” Skleder said. “I was initially drawn to the compelling mission and strong heritage, and then through this search process I have learned so much more about the Brenau of today—the forward-looking faculty, staff and the accomplished alumni and wonderful students. The university’s commitment to maintain a women’s college in the context and expanding evolution of a university with local, regional and international reach is especially impressive. The pride, energy and positive spirit of this community is palpable, and I look forward to calling Brenau University and Gainesville my home.”

Prior to Wilkes University, Skleder served as provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of psychology at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Past leadership and administrative roles include serving as dean of Chatham College for Women at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and positions of increasing responsibility over 16 years at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, including vice provost, associate vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management, chief student affairs officer, department chair of psychology, director of the Honors Program and founding director of the now Holleran Center for Community Engagement.

Skleder has experience in strategic planning, accreditation, assessment of student learning, academic program development at all levels, retention, developing educational partnerships to serve students and community-based learning. She has presented nationally and internationally and published on a wide variety of these topics in her discipline of social psychology. Skleder has traveled extensively and has worked with the Council of International Educational Exchange and the State Department to create opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, including multiple Fulbright Visiting Scholars. Over the past 20 years, she has served as a team chair and reviewer for other institutions through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has conducted reviews of discipline-specific programs and has served on not-for-profit boards of directors and community groups, including the leadership development program Leadership Berks and the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

Skleder’s honors and recognitions include the Girl Scout 2002 Distinguished Alumna Award of the Great Valley Girl Scout Council, Reading, Pennsylvania, and the 2005 Loaves and Fishes Award for service to others by Alvernia University.

Skleder received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, graduating as a University Scholar, and her master’s degree and doctorate in social and organizational psychology from Temple University. She also completed Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.