Alumni Dinner in New Orleans

On the road to visit the growing Brenau family

May 18, 2022
Anne A. Skleder
Clarissa Esguerra Exhibit (16)
Clarissa Esguerra

Greetings, Brenau community! I’m taking a few minutes from unpacking my bags – and repacking for the next trip – to share with you my experiences from the last several days of meeting with Brenau alumni and friends of the university.

I was joined on my whistle-stop tour by Matt Thomas, vice president of university advancement, and Dr. Ashley Carter, director of alumni engagement.

We started our journey in New Orleans, where we had dinner at the world-famous Arnaud’s in the heart of the French Quarter with a large, enthusiastic group of Brenau alumni and their spouses and friends. It was a spirited evening and a great way to kick off the road trip.

We left New Orleans for the West Coast and visited alumni and friends in Los Angeles, San Jose and Lake Tahoe. It was wonderful to share the latest advancements in our strategic plan as well as savor memories of Brenau at every turn.

In Los Angeles, fashion design alumna Clarissa Esguerra, WC ’03, showed us the exhibition Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind Mythos Muse that she co-curated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Clarissa joined other alumni from the Los Angeles area at a great Hollywood restaurant. The spirit of Brenau’s Women’s College and Brenau University is alive and well in LA!

The next day, we drove to San Jose for dinner with Maly Carswell Hughes, WC ’81, and her husband, Allan Hughes. It was wonderful to hear how Rector Maly is using her vocal talents and commitment to her congregation to serve her community so well. And I loved sharing our vision with this wonderful couple.

We ended our trip with a visit to the Lake Tahoe home Antonina Lerch, WC ’03, and her husband, Michael, share with their two daughters. I heard about Antonina’s experiences as a fashion design major and Golden Tiger tennis champion and we spoke of the future of the university. I am delighted by the Lerches’ commitment to Brenau!

Lerches Lake Tahoe (2)
Antonina Lerch

One common thread among all of my visits was how this university has made such a difference in the lives of Brenau alumni. I was thrilled to hear their stories, and I was excited to update them on how we’re building upon Brenau’s legacy and traditions. We enjoyed the company of so many of our alumni, but we also know from our conversations before the trip that schedules would not allow for many other meetings. Therefore, we look forward to our next visit to continue meeting our Brenau family on the West Coast!

As I shared throughout our travels, the Brenau legacy is the foundation of our strategic plan that is vital to maintaining our commitment to student success in a dynamic environment with changing student needs. We challenge our students to live extraordinary lives, and I learned that Brenau alumni across the country are doing just that with a zeal and a dedication to the ideals ingrained in them here!

By the way, we have many more alumni gatherings planned, so be sure to stay connected to know when we’re coming to your area!

My next trip takes me to Panama to visit with Brenau students and Dr. Kelly Brock-Simmons from the College of Education. I’ll also meet with other friends of the university, including IFARHU, Panama’s financial aid agency, and the Ministry of Education. Pete Miller, Brenau trustee and benefactor of the Miller Institute for Global Education, and Dr. Jim Eck, Brenau provost and vice president of academic affairs, will join the delegation. An important goal of the Miller Institute is to ensure domestic students travel abroad and bring their broadened perspectives back to campus.

Until the next post, please follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more of what’s happening at Brenau.