Jubilant! Euphoric! Relieved! There are not enough adjectives to describe my joy at learning that Sweet Briar College is SAVED! There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the County Attorney for Amherst and Sweet Briar College. The parties to the three lawsuits have arrived at an agreement through mediation facilitated by the Attorney General for Virginia.
Sweet Briar College is NOT “imploading” – she is RISING. She will be stronger than EVER…
….Millions raised turned over to College
We should take a moment to pat ourselves on the back, thank all who have volunteered, and offer a toast to the future. After that, it’s back to work. We cannot exhale yet. Now the real work of supporting a College begins.
This is a very unique situation. Colleges rely on many sources of revenue to operate – tuition, giving, grants, scholarship support, alternative sources of revenue. Given the President and Board’s decision to close, many students have transferred (though many would like to return), some faculty have taken new jobs, the sources of revenue will be out of balance for a time relying heavily on contributed funds.
Alumnae support is critical at this time. Sweet Briar College needs to be the top or among the top of every family’s philanthropic priorities. Corporations have a role to play in supporting the College and partnering in areas where they are hiring. Foundations could make a unique impact at Sweet Briar College helping to shape the future. Multi-year pledges will be essential. We need to reach out to parents, friends, foundations, corporations and invite them to participate.
Elbow grease can also be donated in the form of visiting campus through organized work parties. Painting, gardening and sprucing up every corner of campus is needed. Combining a Habitat-for-Humanity-like work project with moments for fun will give alumnae a chance to bond and to serve. Those with connections to contractors would be particularly helpful at this time.
Recruiting students must begin immediately. Consider visiting your local independent school and public school College counselor. Tell them our story and invite them to encourage students to apply. Those who will choose to attend Sweet Briar will be making history. They will also enter one of the most dedicated, generous and entrepreneurial group of alumnae/i higher education may have ever seen. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this family?
Speaking of family, it is also important to remember that we are one. We are sisters and brothers given and amazing experience because of a generous woman, Indiana Fletcher Williams, who established Sweet Briar College as a perpetual memorial to her departed daughter. Out of tragedy, something beautiful unfolded. Anyone affiliated with Sweet Briar College is part of a broader family bonded together by a shared experience and an exquisitely beautiful place.
We also must extend the hand of reconciliation and friendship to those who may have thought differently than we did as these months have unfolded, including the Board of Directors. We have gone through a very challenging few months and it has strained friendships, marriages, jobs, families, etc.. We need to make apologies in various directions and we should do it now. Teresa Tomlinson, our amazing graduation speaker, urged forgiveness then – even when the future was uncertain. It is even more important now. My friend Lea Harvey and 1990 Sweet Briar alumna shared:
In a time of polarization and conflict, the opposing sides saw the wisdom of coming to the table for the greater good… that any agreement between parties of different points of view requires compromise to achieve something larger than ourselves. These last few months have demonstrated Sweet Briar’s character and relevance, as well as the character and commitment of its graduates. We applaud the agreement and stand ready to continue our support for the years to come.
But back to celebrating…. you deserve it dear readers, for tolerating my many posts about Sweet Briar College since March 3. You deserve it Sweet Briar alumnae – a precious place we call home will live on.
Daisy Williams is lifting her arm a little higher…
Indiana’s shy smile beams a bit brighter today….
The President of the College and Chair of the Board have been tossed off their perches.
Alumnae and friends celebrate!
With gratitude, I raise my right arm over my head stretched towards the heavens. I thank Indiana Fletcher Williams, the founder, for her trust. I thank the Saving Sweet Briar Board for their vision and leadership. I thank the women who gathered with me at reunion to cheer. I thank my husband for tolerating my part-time passion – saving Sweet Briar! I thank my friends — old and new — for being on this amazing journey. Finally, we’ve got to have a Holla, holla (Click the link below)!!!!
Please join me in working for the future:
Please visit Sweet Briar 2.0 to volunteer.
Please visit Saving Sweet Briar to pledge and donate.
Stacey Sickels Locke, CFRE, is a proud graduate of Sweet Briar College, Class of 1988. She served as an employee of the College in the early 1990s working on the $25 million Campaign. During that time, she solicited many leadership gifts which make up the current endowment and she feels a sense of duty that those donations are not used for the closure of the College or for any other purposes than the donors intended. Since then, she has spent her career building support for higher education and the nonprofit community as a staff member and consultant for boards. As a volunteer, she has served Sweet Briar since graduation as a fundraiser, admissions ambassador and now advocate for the #saveSweetBriar movement. She raises funds for Saving Sweet Briar, a charitable organization committed to the future of the College She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), is affiliated (through the University of Maryland) with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and holds a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification from CFRE International.Follow us....by
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