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Class Notes: Gainesville author has second fantasy novel published
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Gainesville native and Brenau University administrative assistant Alison Reeger Cook recently published her second fantasy novel.

Titled “The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Fang of Fenrir,” the novel debuted Tuesday and was published by Mithras Books. It is the second in a series that follows David Sandoval, a teenager in Spain during the 1850s.

The novel tells of David’s journey to Paris to begin an apprenticeship, and his adventures along the way.

After publication of her first novel, “The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx,” Cook made appearances in Gwinnett and Hall county schools to discuss the story. Her books have picked up traction in school libraries, as they can inspire classroom discussions of historical events and mythologies.

In her day job, Cook is administrative assistant of Brenau University’s Office of Communications & Publications, which will host a launch party for the book at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Walters House.

Refreshments will be served, and interested teens are invited. Copies of both her books will be available for purchase and signing. RSVP by email to or by calling 770-534-6160.

“The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Fang of Fenrir” is available at The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and online through the booksellers’ websites as well as through and the Mithras Books website

Hundreds graduate in fall UNG commencement ceremonies

Approximately 670 students graduated from the University of North Georgia last week in commencement ceremonies on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses.

Of the 670 students, 18 members of the Corps of Cadets at the university were commissioned as second lieutenants in the National Guard and U.S. Army.

“We are here to honor you with the richest tradition of the academic community ... a commencement ceremony, celebrating the completion of your degree and the beginning of your professional lives,” President Bonita Jacobs told graduates. “Congratulations on this milestone in your life. We take tremendous pride in your accomplishments. We know what it took for you to reach this point, and we are optimistic about your future.”

The guest speaker for the Gainesville campus ceremony was Doug Carter of Doug Carter Realty Co. The speaker for the two Dahlonega campus ceremonies was retired Maj. Gen. Maria Britt, associate vice president for operations at Kennesaw State University.

One of the graduates was Stacy O’Shields, who earned a master’s degree in early childhood education more than 15 years after earning her undergraduate degree from UNG.

Her family, including her six children, was present to cheer her on.

Gainesville resident wins Brenau excellence award

Kathy Goodman of Gainesville was recently recognized for her performance and collegiality at Brenau University.

Goodman, administrative assistant to the provost and adjunct faculty coordinator, received the 2014 Hagerman-Thompson Staff Excellence Award last week. The award is given by Brenau University employees to a colleague of their choosing.

Goodman has two daughters who attend Brenau: Abbey, a junior mass communication major, and Ellen, a senior biology major.

Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: