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Brenau University names 2 new board members
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Charles Smithgall III

Brenau University in Gainesville recently named new members of its board of trustees.

Charles Smithgall III, an Atlanta businessman, will be serving on the board for the first time but following in the footsteps of his mother Lessie Smithgall and his father, the late Charles Smithgall II, who both served on the board and also founded The Times.

Smithgall III founded SEI/Aaron’s Inc. in 1995, which has stores in nine states. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial management and attended Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Sally Lee Smithgall, live in Atlanta and have three children, Chas, Meghan and Jessica.

Shay Stafford, a Brenau alumna, joins the board again after serving 1995-2001.

Stafford graduated from Brenau with a degree in psychology and education. Stafford has worked as an assistant to U.S. Rep. Roy Arthur Taylor from her native North Carolina, for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as public relations director for Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta. Stafford lives in Atlanta with her husband, Connell Stafford, director of the public affairs firm, Troutman Sanders Strategies. They have two daughters, Ali and Jenna, who reside in Atlanta.

Sidney Smith Jr. nominated the two who were unanimously approved.

"These are both outstanding individuals and they both will make excellent additions to the board," Smith said.

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