April 11, 2019, is a day Brenau University Ed Schrader probably won't soon forget.
At the school's annual Honors Convocation, Schrader’s last as president, Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan declared the date as Dr. Edward L. Schrader Day.
Dunagan said, “It is my pleasure to be here this afternoon to read a little proclamation to Dr. Schrader who has meant so much to this community and our city and Brenau.
“Ed and I have gotten to be real good friends over the several years that he’s been here… We’ve had a lot of good times together.”
Other than having a day named in his honor, Schrader received several gifts. Schrader, his wife, Myra, and their dog Jake were given gifts made from Brenau tartan, which will be certified when completed.
“While we very much honor and appreciate everything Dr. Schrader has done for Brenau, we certainly thank Myra for her years of cheerful service and dedicated support for the Brenau family near and far,” said Debra Dobkins, dean of The Women’s College.
Schrader was also presented a basketball with a message from Mike Krzyewski, head coach of the Duke University men’s basketball team, where Schrader earned a Ph.D in geochemistry. Schrader also received a binder of well-wishes from his colleagues across the country.
In addition, an oak tree will be planted on Brenau's front lawn in Schrader’s honor.
“Throughout your tenure as president you have remained an ally and advocate for students and we would like to present a gift to show our appreciation,” said Sommer Stockton, president of the Student Government Association.
During the ceremony, Schrader awarded the highest academic honor, the Baxter-Bryan Scholarship, to rising senior Kendy Manzano, fashion design major from Adairsville. The award is granted to a junior for her senior year to cover tuition, room and board. It has been given out for the past 30 years and was established by Joe W. Baxter, who named the scholarship for his sister Carfax Baxter and friend Morris Bryan Jr.
First runner-up for the award was Cierra Franklin, mass communications major from Albany, who was awarded the Sidney O. Smith Scholarship. The three other finalists were Mae Allison, theatre major from Lawrenceville; Ashton Stockdale, English major from Lilburn; and Tabitha Morrison, early childhood education major from Dawsonville, all of whom received Provost Scholarships.
“These five young women are amongst the best and brightest that Brenau and the United States has to offer,” Schrader said. “We recognize all of them and I want you to know it was a very difficult contest, a very difficult decision this year because everyone was deserving of the highest recognition.”
The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award was also handed out. The award is given to a senior who is a leader, works hard and reflects the Brenau Ideal. Lauren Hill, acting major, from Flowery Branch was this year’s recipient.
Schrader said she is described as “a ray of sunshine.”
At the end of the Honors Convocation, freshman Xueyun “Anna” Feng sang Jimmy Buffet's “Margaritaville,” a favorite of Schrader’s, while faculty members on stage revealed tie-dye and Hawaiian shirts under their robes.
Brenau University students in Gainesville were given a gift as well. Classes were canceled for the rest of the day and students were able to enjoy activities outside, including foods, games, and music.
“I have a friend of mine in Mississippi who says, ‘it hadn’t been nothing but fun,’” Schrader said.
On Friday, the Brenau Board of Trustees announced Schrader's successor - Dr. Anne A. Skleder, senior vice president and provost and professor of psychology at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.