2015 Alumni Award Winners

Each year, the Brenau University Alumni Association selects up to 15 extraordinary alumni to honor through both the Outstanding Alumnae Awards and the Alumni Hall of Fame. Alumni are nominated by classmates, professors and colleagues and are judged on a host of criteria such as successes in their personal lives, service in the community, and commitment to Brenau. The 2015 Alumni Awards were presented during the May Day festivities on April 11.

Congratulations to these exceptional alumni, who are not only using their Brenau education to make an impact in the world, but who also serve as role models for the Brenau graduates of the future.

 Dr. Priscilla Davis Jefcoat, WC ’76 – Alumni Hall of Fame

Priscilla and Keith JefcoatDr. Priscilla Jefcoat earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in piano performance from Brenau Women’s College in 1976. She took the initiative to extend her education at the University of Georgia where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree . She has spent many years teaching music theory, piano, and music history to both primary and secondary level students. She currently teaches music theory and piano at Brenau University. Dr. Jefcoat is a member of the Georgia Music Teachers Association, theFederated Music Clubs, and the Mu chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon where she is also the Advisor. She and her husband travel together, playing four-hand piano throughout the southeast.

David “Keith” Jefcoat, BU ’78 – Alumni Hall of Fame

2015 Alumna Award WinnersKeith Jefcoat, a native of Laurel, Mississippi, earned the Bachelor’s Degree in piano performance from Brenau College in 1978 and the Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Georgia in 1983.  His teachers have included Spanish pianist Carlos Kussrow-Corma, Austrian-American concert artist Walter Hautzig in New York, and Russian pianist Eugeny Rivkin at UGA. Keith is the Director of Preparatory Music Inc. at Brenau. Offering piano, voice, and harp, flute, and strings, this K-12, adult, and senior citizen program comprises eight teachers and approximately one hundred students. Keith has taught private piano since 1975 and has consistently produced winners and alternates in piano events throughout Georgia. Keith is also the organist and handbell director at the First United Methodist Church in Gainesville. He resides in Gainesville with his wife and piano duet partner, Dr. Priscilla Jefcoat.

Dr. Lynda A. Holmes, BU ’84 – Alumni Hall of Fame

Lynda A. Holmes, 2015 Alumni Hall of FameDr. Lynda A. Holmes received her Masters of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from Brenau Women’s College in 1984. She furthered her education by attending The University of Georgia in Athens to earn her doctorate degree in Reading Education, which she completed in 1999. Dr. Holmes, as an outstanding member of the community, is a member of the Daughters of the Revolution as the Literacy Promotion Chairperson. Through this position, she has teamed up with multiple organizations such as: Gainesville-Hall Alliance for Literacy and The Gainesville Times. Dr. Holmes also helped start up the Reader-to Patient program at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She has consistently donated to the Reader-to-Patient Program as well as other groups and organizations like the Northeast Geaorgia Writers and the Brenau University scholarship fund in memory of Gwen Mundy. Through her years, she has taught as a part-time and full time professor for both primary and secondary education, and she has also had many of her written works published. Dr. Holmes resides in Flowery Branch, GA.

Sarah “Ashley” Longshore, A ’93 – Alumni Hall of Fame

Ashley LongshoreAshley Longshore graduated from the Brenau Academy in 1993. While attending the University of Montana, Longshore decided to teach herself how to paint. She started up her own business and her own website where she showcases her lovely art. Within the last few years, she has made the “big-time” with her paintings, many of which are bought and owned by famous actors and actresses. Many paintings have also been showcased in Europe. The majority of her work depicts consumerism and materialism in a humorous way. Ashley currently resides in Louisiana.

Maria Ebrahimji, WC ’98 – Alumni Hall of Fame

2015 Alumna Award WinnersMaria Ebrahimji graduated from Brenau Women’s College in 1998 with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications. Later, she received her Masters Degree in International Affairs from Georgia State University. She is well-known for working over a decade with CNN covering many “breaking news” stories. Ebrahimji is a Board Member of the Emory Development Institute, member of Southern Center for International Studies, and Alumnae Advisory Board Member for Alpha Chi Omega. Also, she is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association. Maria resides in Atlanta, GA.

Helen Jemison Meier, A’59 – Academy Alumna of the Year

2015 Alumna Award WinnersHelen Jemison Meier graduated from Brenau Academy in 1959, and she has used her higher education to its fullest. She became involved in Oregon politics as an assistant campaign manager, she taught photography at a community college and she spent many years volunteering at the Salem, Oregon hospital. In 2008 she became a member of the DAR as well as the Mayflower Society. More recently, she published a book of memories of the ’59 class including memorials and remembrances, friends and the 2014 Reunion. She firmly believes that learning is the key to growing and youthfulness. She currently lives in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Carole Ann Carter Daniel, WC ’68 – Alumna Service to Brenau Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersCarole Anne Carter graduated from Brenau in 1968, and she continues to be involved in the Brenau community. She is a member of the Board of Trustees, Executive Board and she is co-chair of Forever Gold. She has also been an advisor for Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She volunteers with many community groups such as the Challenged Child and Friends Advisory Board, the Laurel Society and the Signature Gift Committee. She believes that Brenau University “offers a window to the world” for all of the students, now and future, to make a difference and change the world. She resides in Gainesville, Georgia.

Susan Ables Irick, WC ’81 – Alumna Professional Achievement Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersSusan Ables Irick gained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brenau Women’s College in 1981. She worked in the Coronary Care Unit for a few years before she found her calling to return to school and become a Nurse Practitioner. She attended Clemson University in 1985 and graduated in ’87 with a M.S. in Family Health Nursing. Irick spent 10 years in the Appalachian Mountains working as a home health nurse. Finally, she returned to Georgia in 2001 and enrolled in Emory University to continue her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner, which she achieved in 2004. She currently works as a disease manager for pneumonia and sepsis at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She volunteers with Red Cross and teaches courses at local universities and technical schools. She takes Brenau’s motto, “As gold refined by fire,” to heart. Irick resides in Cleveland, Georgia.

Kathy Shaw Amos, WC ’97 – Alumna Community Service Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersKathy Shaw Amos graduated from Brenau Women’s College in 1997 earning a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a Master in Organizational Development. She has (co-) founded and is involved in many community activities in Gainesville, Georgia, such as the Save Our Symphony Atlanta and the Wisdom Keepers. She has spent 10+ years with the Northeast Georgia History Center on the Board of Directors and also as the Ghost Walk founder, story writer and teller. She volunteers with the City of Gainesville’s Historic Preservation Commission, and in 2011 she became Commission Chair. Amos has researched and (co-)written many narratives, histories and applications for the Alta Vista Cemetery, Gainesville First United Methodist Church, Green Street walking tour and First Night Gainesville program. These are just a few organizations out of many that she is involved in. Amos calls Gainesville, Georgia her home.

Khalilah T.R. Johnson, WC ’06 – Young Alumna Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersKhalilah T. R. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Brenau Women’s College in 2006. She preserved the position at Brenau as a “Brenau OT,” and then found employment with the Northeast Georgia Health System where she became the coordinator of occupational therapy outreach activities. Johnson also served as the neuro-rehabilitation instructor for Brenau Occupational Therapy students. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Occupational Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Johnson was awarded the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders fellowship, and she was appointed to Teaching Fellow in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Johnson volunteers and serves at Grace Church in Chapel Hill, Mt. Enon Baptist Church in Monroe, Georgia, and the Faithful Christian Worship Center in Gainesville, Georgia. She also volunteers with various OT and OS committees. Johnson resides in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Karri Bentley, WC ’02 – Young Alumna Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersKarri Bentley graduated from Brenau Women’s College in 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts Management. She started out as a marketing intern for the Atlanta Opera. Bentley has also worked with the American Marketing Association, Brunos Supermarkets, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Gold’s Gym and now works as an account executive at Big Communications. She has been a Who’s Who in Black Alabama honoree, an Outstanding Young Professional honoree and a recipient of the UAB Dr. Kenneth E. Burke Award. She helps out with The Life Church as a worship leader, Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity as a Recruitment Specialist, the American Heart Association Junior Board, the Birmingham Tip Off Club and the Alys B. Stephens Performing Arts Center. Bentley lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Tracy L. Rhodes, WC ’02 – Young Alumna Award

2015 Alumna Award WinnersTracy Rhodes Withers, a Women’s College graduate of 2002, continued with her education and graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law. She has worked at many law firms as a management partner, solo practitioner and associate. She currently works at Evans & Rhodes, LLC as a managing partner. Rhodes wrote many publications and presentations for the National Business Institute, Women’s Leadership Colloquium, ICLE, Young Lawyers Division Newsletter, Rotary Club of East Cobb and University of Georgia School of Law. She has volunteered as an attorney, judge and mentor. She is also involved with the Brenau University 1878 Council, Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Brenau University Cobb County Mentor Circle, State Bar Young Lawyers Division, Guardian Ad Litem and many other community programs. Rhodes currently resides in Marietta, Georgia.

2015 Alumna Award WinnersJoan Pack, WC ’16 – Josephine Winter Rainey Scholarship 2015




2015 Alumna Award WinnersCassidy Collier, WC ’17 – 2015 Alumnae Endowed Scholarship

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