ForeverGold a reality with over $42 million

I have eagerly anticipated making this statement for years: We have successfully completed our $40 million ForeverGold: An Extraordinary Legacy campaign and surpassed our goal with a total of $42.39 million. This issue celebrates the accomplishments we have achieved together. Here, you will see the many ways Brenau University is a stronger institution today and is positioned for even stronger growth for the future because of our efforts.

As I reflect on how much we have accomplished and how far we have come as an institution, I am reminded of how it was the steadfast leadership and commitment of one of our longtime trustees who stepped up at a critical juncture to help ensure this campaign got off the ground.

Richard “Dick” Leet and his wife, Phyllis, came through in a marvelous way in the early days of my tenure here at Brenau, making commitments to the future of the university and to the success of the campaign. On the heels of creating a $1.5 million irrevocable trust to establish a Brenau sciences professorship — today known as the Richard and Phyllis Leet Distinguished Chair of Biological Science — Dick challenged his fellow trustees with a $350,000 matching gift to create a $700,000 pool of funds to pay the early expenses associated with the upcoming campaign, affectionately and appropriately known as the Leet Challenge.

Having chaired successful fundraising campaigns at two of his alma maters, Dick knew that when an institution like Brenau is planning a grand vision campaign, it must have strong commitments up front — thus, his investment in Brenau’s nursing and biology programs. He also understood the importance of having front-end money, because there are always costs that are not in the budget and do not necessarily fit in a budget. I am happy to report that the board did rise to Dick’s challenge and that truly was the genesis of this successful journey.

ForeverGold was deftly co-chaired by a pair of Brenau trustees and Gainesvillians: Lawrence “Lorry” Schrage and Brenau alumna Carole Ann Carter Daniel, WC ’68. Their combined passions for health care and the Women’s College made them the perfect duo for this undertaking. Brenau is indeed a more vibrant and vital institution today because of their leadership.

Brenau Board of Trustees Chairman Pete Miller and his wife, Cathy, a graduate of Brenau, were also early proponents of this venture. Pete and Cathy, BU ’99, had confidence early on that we would be successful, but the Millers knew that growth and increased enlightenment would be hollow achievements if they were hidden in the North Georgia hills and mountains. They felt strongly that the full impact of this undertaking would only be achieved when we increased the footprint of Brenau across the globe and put in place opportunities for our students, particularly Women’s College students, to have international experiences that prepare them for the world they are inheriting. We have done both.

Brenau University and Hall County in general are blessed to have Kay and Doug Ivester in our midst. They have been intimately involved with energizing the mission of this institution because they, as do many of you, want their support to make a difference in the world. In that light, it was fitting that the Ivester Foundation’s most recent commitment of $3.5 million put us past our $40 million goal and that the Ivester College of Health Sciences, which represents a part of Brenau that will affect lives of millions of people, proudly displays their name. Their commitment to Hall County and to Brenau University promises to dramatically enhance the quality of life in this region and beyond for generations to come.

These successes are just a few selected from the myriad programs and students who benefit from your love and support. This great endeavor has been successful because of the efforts of many. Thank you for investing in Brenau as we have strengthened our historic Women’s College experience, expanded our innovative and leading health sciences programs, and provided greater access and financial support for students.

I invite you to travel with us as we continue to write the next chapter in our university’s rich history. It has been a personal thrill, honor and unquenchable memory. And, thank you for allowing and encouraging us, Myra, Jake and me, to take the journey with you as family.

Ed L. Schrader, Ph.D.
President, Brenau University

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