Founded as a private institution for the education of women, Brenau began life in 1878 as Georgia Baptist Female Seminary. W.C. Wilkes, the institution’s first administrator, is credited with building many of the historic buildings that still stand today. In 1900 H. J. Pearce purchased the institution and renamed it Brenau, a linguistic blend formed from the German word brennen, “to burn”, and the Latin aurum, “gold”. Its motto is “As Gold Refined by Fire”.
Brenau College remained privately owned until 1911 when a board of trustees assumed stewardship of the college, as remains the case today. In 1928, Brenau created a female, residential, college-preparatory school serving grades 9 through 12, and in the late 1960s, Brenau began offering evening and weekend classes to both men and women through what was known as The Evening And Weekend College.
Brenau College became Brenau University in 1992 by a vote of the Board of Trustees, a name change that reflected the comprehensive programs of study, the diverse student body, new and stricter employment criteria for professors, and the scope of available graduate programs.
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Main campus: Gainesville, Georgia (45 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia)
Type: Private; Non-sectarian Liberal Arts
Total Student Enrollment 2012/2013: 2,777
Undergraduate Enrollment 2012/2013: 1,723
Graduate Enrollment 2012/2013: 1054
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Campus locations: Undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in Gainesville and North Atlanta / Norcross, South Atlanta / Fairburn, Augusta and Kings Bay.
Athletics (Women’s College): Brenau Golden Tigers
Affiliations: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC)
In 2002, Brenau’s Online College was formed using internet technology to reach students who because of professional or personal responsibilities are unable to attend classes on campus.
Today, Brenau’s vibrant structure continues to attract students from a large number of venues: Brenau Women’s College remains the cornerstone of the university. The unique single-gender undergraduate experience provides residential, commuter and supplemental online course options.
Undergraduate programs for men and women in multiple majors exist online and at regional campusesaround Georgia in North Atlanta, South Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville and Kings Bay.
Brenau’s graduate programs are offered Online and on campus: masters-level programs in business,education, nursing, gerontology, occupational therapy, health care administration, psychology, interior design, education specialist, doctoral-level interior design M.F.A.
Online courses at Brenau lead to both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students use online courses as a supplement to regular classes, but Brenau also offers completely online tracks in business,nursing, gerontology, accounting, organizational leadership and human resources management.
Brenau Academy, founded in 1928, and now known as the Early College Program, challenges high school students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment by providing the opportunity to accelerate through their high school curriculum and begin their undergraduate college experience early in a unique and nurturing dual enrollment program.
One University, Four Colleges
- College of Business & Mass Communication
- College of Education
- College of Fine Arts & Humanities
- College of Health Sciences