Brenau University’s Center for Lifetime Study, which houses the Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute, has two new leaders.
Tim Bryant is the Center for Lifetime Study’s new executive coordinator, while the Rev. Bill Coates has been hired in a part-time position as BULLI community coordinator.
BULLI, with programs in Gainesville and Braselton, offers classes for local adults in the areas of academics, the arts, self-improvement and health and wellness. Classes this summer have covered topics including Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” the history of rock ‘n’ roll, emergency preparedness and Tai Chi.
Bryant comes to Brenau after establishing the Center for Ethical Leadership at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he served as the founding executive director. In that position, he coordinated leadership development opportunities for students and worked with the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s leadership programs to provide professional development opportunities.
“As a native of North Georgia, I am thrilled to be joining a highly regarded institution like Brenau and working with my colleagues at the Center for Lifetime Study to continue its legacy of providing excellent adult education programs,” Bryant said in a statement.
Bryant also previously worked for Young Harris College, where he helped establish the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business education and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor University and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Mercer University.
Coates is a familiar face in Gainesville, as the retired pastor of First Baptist Church of Gainesville. He will work on expanding BULLI’s reach in the community through programming, sponsorships and teaching. Coates received a bachelor’s degree from Coker College, a Master of Divinity from Southeastern, taught BULLI courses for 20 years and has been an adjunct instructor at Brenau.
Coates said he is looking forward to becoming more involved in BULLI.
“Participants really become like a huge family. We have a lot in common, we all love to learn, we are all eager to experience new understandings of things,” he said. “It’s really great when everybody gets together.”
Coates said the program gives people who may have expertise in a topic the opportunity to learn about something new.
“Take a doctor, for example, who has had all this training in medicine, but maybe hardly took any literature classes or arts and humanities classes,” he said. “Now they retire, and they think, ‘I want to know more about these things.’”
Kathy Amos recently retired as the executive director of the Center for Lifetime Study. She had been involved since BULLI was founded in 1994 and said the program helped her realize “you’re never too old to learn.”
“People were changing from sitting on their front porch and rocking and watching the soap operas in the afternoon to saying, ‘What is there to do now that I've retired and gotten out in the world?’” Amos told The Times in April.
She saw the program grow to offer at least 12 classes in the fall, winter and spring quarters and at least eight classes in the summer.
“It was just neat,” Amos said in April. “It was like, ‘OK, there's life after retirement. There's still things to do.’”
BULLI will be 25 years old this year, and Coates said the program will be celebrating with a lecture series. He will be delivering the first lecture on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Thurmond McRae Lecture Hall at Brenau.