Dr. Anne A. Skleder has been named the first woman president in the 141-year history of Brenau University in Gainesville.
The Brenau University Board of Trustees introduced Skleder to the student body and faculty at 10 a.m. Friday, April 12, 2019 at a special meeting at Pearce Auditorium.
Skleder currently serves as senior vice president and provost and professor of psychology at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, located about 100 miles north of Philadelphia.
Skleder received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, graduating as a University Scholar, and her master’s degree and doctorate in social and organizational psychology from Temple University. She also completed Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.
Skleder told her audience Friday morning she is both humbled and energized to be the 10th president of the Gainesville-based university.
"Why humbled? I'm standing here before you because many people over the years - teachers, mentors, supervisors - provided me with extraordinary opportunities and placed faith in me before I earned it," Skleder said. "[And], how could I not be energized? Brenau University's mission could not be more compelling - preparing students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment. This is a life-changing mission."
According to information released by Brenau, during her five year tenure at Wilkes University, Skleder has been responsible for leading an array of academic programs and initiatives, working with the deans, nearly 200 full-time faculty and staff across six schools and colleges, enrollment recruitment and retention efforts at all levels and through all delivery systems, as well as staff in all areas of academic support. She also has had a major role in implementing initiatives outlined in the university’s successful strategic plan.
Skleder's chief accomplishments at Wilkes have been working with faculty to add more than 20 high quality and in-demand academic programs especially in health care, education, and business and leadership, launching the university’s first PhD program, bringing in the largest and most well-prepared first year class this past fall, increasing the diversity of both the students and faculty, ensuring investments in instructional space, initiating a major international initiative including a collaboration with the country of Panama and leading the effort to significantly increase external funding to support faculty and student scholarship and research.
Mike Smith, the Brenau University trustee who served as the chairman of the search committee, said some 100 applicants sent resumes to the committee. Ultimately, the committee interviewed 10 serious candidates for the job, and Smith said all were exemplary.
"We really felt with that good a pool - which did include some sitting presidents - we really couldn't miss, but we think we have the best fit out of an extremely high-quality pool of candidates," Smith said, noting that Skleder made a connection to Brenau on many levels and did so right away.
"We immediately saw her connection to Brenau's history and Brenau's mission and we really believed at the end of the process, we'd found the right person at the right time for Brenau University," Smith said.
Skleder will assume her new role on July 1 as she succeeds Ed L. Schrader who has served as president of Brenau University for almost 15 years.