Brenau University Trustee Emeritus and longtime supporter of the university’s nursing program Dr. Henry S. Jennings Jr.
Brenau University Trustee Emeritus and longtime supporter of the university’s nursing program Dr. Henry S. Jennings Jr.

Brenau Remembers Trustee Emeritus Dr. Henry S. Jennings Jr.

Mar. 9, 2017
Kristen Bowman

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Brenau University Trustee Emeritus and longtime supporter of the university’s nursing program Dr. Henry S. Jennings Jr. died Thursday, March 2. He was 94 years old.

“During his time on the board, Henry was one of the trustees at the table meeting with creditors on a weekly basis to ensure Brenau would survive to be the successful university it is today,” said Brenau President Ed Schrader. “His enthusiasm for Brenau never diminished over the years, and it was always a privilege to update him on all of the wonderful things occurring now because of his leadership during a difficult period of the university’s history. Without the leadership of trustees like Henry, there might not be a Brenau today.”

Dedicated to the education of health care providers, Jennings served on the adjunct faculty of the Hall School of Nursing, which later became Brenau’s Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing. He was proud of the many nursing students who were influenced by his guidance as they became health care providers themselves.

His investment and interest in Brenau’s health sciences programs helped make the university a leader in the field. He saw the expansion of health sciences in Hall County and ensured Brenau would create qualified leaders to fill a growing need in the community.

Jennings was born in Cordele, Georgia, May 22, 1922. He earned a Bachelor of Science in 1943 from Emory-at-Oxford and Emory University and matriculated to Emory University School of Medicine, where in 1945 he received his Doctor of Medicine.

Jennings fulfilled a commitment to the U.S. Army Air Corps at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, from 1946 to 1948, serving as chief of the Medical Service. He returned to Atlanta and was appointed chief resident at Emory University Hospital by 1949.

In 1951, he was invited to join Emory’s Private Diagnostic Clinic. Jennings subsequently became one of the 17 original founding physicians of The Emory Clinic under the leadership of Dr. Hugh Wood.

By 1953, several of Jennings’ Emory-trained colleagues were already practicing medicine in Hall County, and they persuaded him to move to Gainesville. He joined the growing medical community at Hall County Hospital, later to become the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

He and his family set down roots in Gainesville that remain intact to this day. In 1954, Jennings became the first board certified internist at Hall County Hospital. He was soon joined by Emory colleagues Drs. Samuel Poole and Warren Stribling III. They formed the initial core partnership of physicians known as Jennings, Stribling and Poole. Soon, Dr. James Butts joined the trio and the practice became Jennings, Stribling, Poole and Butts.

Today, the highly respected practice is known as the Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic, consisting of more than 30 physicians specializing in internal medicine along with numerous internal medicine subspecialties.

Involvement in numerous community organizations and civic efforts in Hall County and Northeast Georgia was always a priority for Jennings. He served faithfully in leadership roles at his church, Gainesville First United Methodist Church. Along with his service on Brenau’s Board of Trustees, he served on numerous other local community boards, even in retirement.

After 42 years of medical practice, Jennings retired from active practice in June 1987.

One of Jennings’ guiding principles in life was “Touch What Hurts,” and he used the slogan as he taught nursing students at Brenau. Remarkable changes occurred in medicine during his 42-year career, but Jennings always recognized the importance of caring compassion and attention to the needs of others. It was a foundational principle that he passed on to his children, grandchildren and the countless medical professionals he taught.

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