Friends and family of graduates take to the front lawn on Brenau's historic Gainesville campus for photos after the first winter graduate commencement at the school.

’Tis the Season … for Diplomas!

With weather more comparable to a May graduation day than the season for Christmas wreaths on the university president’s door, Brenau University in December awarded 455 undergraduate and graduate diplomas at the institution’s first winter commencement exercises in its 137-year history. Brenau President Ed Schrader called the occasion of the two ceremonies in historic Pearce Auditorium “a day of culmination, a day of beginnings.” Graduates received diplomas for degrees ranging from Doctor of Nursing Practice, one of Brenau’s three health science clinical doctorates, to an array of bachelor’s degrees in disciplines like the arts, education, sciences and business administration.

Brenau traditionally schedules two commencement exercises the first weekend in May – one for the Women’s College and the second for coeducational undergraduate and graduate programs.

However, many students enroll in courses that they complete after the May graduation and have had to wait until the following May to receive their diplomas – or skip the cap-and-gown ceremony
altogether. “We thought if we scheduled a winter commencement, more of them would want to participate,” said Nancy Krippel, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

And they did. Combining the 455 eligible to receive diplomas at the winter commencement (298 graduate students, 43 Women’s College students and 114 other undergraduates) with the 215
undergraduate degrees and 143 graduate degrees conferred in May brings the total number of 2015 Brenau degrees to 813.

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