Tag Archives: #wesavedSweetBriar

Perpetuity Society: An Idea for Sweet Briar and Beyond (I’m in!)

In Perpetuity....
In Perpetuity….

There are many leaders who worked tirelessly in the effort to save Sweet Briar College.  Christine Bump, JD, MPH, Sweet Briar College Class of 2000, is one of those heroes.  I met Christine shortly before we both appeared on a WJLA TV7 interview in May, 2015.  My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Christine and her husband, Elias Papasavvas, at Reunion, 2015.  This is a power couple if there ever was one and they will play a pivotal role in years ahead .  Christine and her husband have made a perpetual commitment to Sweet Briar College.  I share it with you here as a guest post and for the professionals at the College to consider as they look to the future.  I love the idea of a Perpetuity Society as it demonstrates the kind of commitment I feel for Sweet Briar College as well as the type of relationship we will need with alumnae and friends in the years ahead.

P.S.  I have had Sweet Briar College in my will and was on a list to be buried on Monument Hill.  I have made a commitment  – a stretch commitment more than I have ever pledged — to Sweet Briar College over the next five years.  I pledge to give to Sweet Briar perpetually.  

perpetuity

ˌpər-pə-ˈt(y)ü-ət-ē/

noun: perpetuity

  1. a thing that lasts forever or for an indefinite period, in particular.
  1. 
the state or quality of lasting forever.

Since we were thrust into the battle to save our beloved Sweet Briar, much has been written about the word “perpetuity.” Indiana Fletcher Williams demanded in her will that her land be used in perpetuity to educate young women like her daughter Daisy. Over the past few months, thousands of excellent ideas have been presented regarding fundraising, loyalty, and commitment, in order to ensure that our Sweet Briar College “not merely endure, but prevail,” as Judge James W. Updike, Jr. noted in his courtroom remarks on June 23, 2015. On that day, which Amherst County has already commemorated as “Sweet Briar College Day,” he blessed the settlement accepted by all parties to keep our College open. When it was noted during the hearing that the actual text of the agreement is “for one year,” Elliott J. Schuchardt, the attorney representing a group of Sweet Briar students, parents, and alumnae pro-bono, replied, “This is not for merely one year. It is for perpetuity!” The entire courtroom erupted in applause.

Today the flame is strong. But once the courtroom doors are closed, the settlement final, and everyone has returned to work, how will we ensure the continued commitment, passion, and fervor of alumnae, in perpetuity? For a new chapter of perpetuity at Sweet Briar College, we would like to propose the establishment of:

“The Sweet Briar College Perpetuity Society.”

Indiana Fletcher Williams established Sweet Briar College through her will as a perpetual memorial to her daughter, Daisy.
Indiana Fletcher Williams established Sweet Briar College through her will as a perpetual memorial to her daughter, Daisy.

The Sweet Briar College Perpetuity Society would be for all alumnae who accomplish two things: (1) donate every single year, without interruption, from the year of their graduation until their passing; and (2) include Sweet Briar College in their will (which today is recognized as the Indiana Fletcher Williams Society). Living members who give annually without interruption since graduation would comprise the membership and they would continue as members so long as they do not interrupt their giving.

The “Founding Members” of the Perpetuity Society should be those alumnae who already satisfy both criteria. However, if there has been one benefit to the near closing of Sweet Briar College, it has been the rally of alumnae who were stunned by the March 3, 2015 announcement. Many have admitted that their giving to the College has been sporadic, but when they heard their beloved alma mater was going to close, their passion was unleashed. The promise to continue to give to Sweet Briar is strong; pledges for the next five to ten years have already been made. Therefore, upon the creation of the Perpetuity Society, the Founding Members would invite all alumnae who have donated this year, to the Saving Sweet Briar Movement, to join as “New Members.”

Angel over Daisy William's monument.
Angel over Daisy William’s monument.

You may ask why we need another giving society. The Perpetuity Society would not be based on the amount of money given. Whether an alumna gives $5.00 a year or $5,000,000.00 a year, the amount does not matter. Also, Sweet Briar has the Pink Rose Society and the Silver Rose Society, recognizing giving over a period of years, i.e., at least 10 out of 24 years. Membership in the Perpetuity Society would demonstrate an unfailing annual commitment to Sweet Briar, year in and year out. The Perpetuity Society would not abolish any other giving society; giving amounts, giving over a period of years, and including Sweet Briar College in your will should continue to be recognized by the existing societies and circles. But, the establishment of the Perpetuity Society could encourage the continuation of the momentum of giving and loyalty we have now to ensure Sweet Briar prevails in perpetuity.

Sweet Briar rose - known for its thorns is also a symbol of the College whose motto is "She who has earned the rose may bear it"
Sweet Briar rose – known for its thorns is also a symbol of the College whose motto is “She who has earned the rose may bear it”

In recognition of how important Sweet Briar’s perpetuity is, the Perpetuity Society should have leaders and activities beyond the walls of the College’s Development Office. It should not just be a list, it should be a membership of those who show the ultimate support: a commitment to Sweet Briar’s mission of turning young women into leaders through stellar education, in perpetuity.

Daisies surround the monument to Daisy Williams during the Founder's Day ceremony, 2015.
Daisies surround the monument to Daisy Williams during the Founder’s Day ceremony, 2015.

 

The Sweet Briar Perpetuity Society. In honor of our College’s history. In remembrance of the battle that saved her. In resolve to ensure Sweet Briar thrives, in perpetuity.

Yours truly,

Christine Bump, Class of 2000 – Elias Papasavvas, Proud Husband

Christine Bump, Sweet Briar College Class of 2000
Christine Bump, Sweet Briar College Class of 2000

Christine P. Bump, JD, MPH, is a proud graduate of Sweet Briar College. She was a Presidential Medalist in the Class of 2000, and earned her professional and graduate degrees from Emory University’s School of Law and Rollins School of Public Health, respectively. She practiced food and drug law for nine years in Washington, DC, and in 2013, was selected as a Rising Star by Washington, DC Super Lawyers. Christine has supported Sweet Briar financially and through volunteer hours every year since graduating, and is excited to continue that support.

You might also consider reading this post:   We Saved Sweet Briar – Now What?

To learn more about saving Sweet Briar College, visit the Saving Sweet Briar website.

To learn about plans for the future, visit Sweet Briar 2.0.

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.

Someone caught this photo of me while leading a group "Holla, holla" at Reunion, 2015.

 

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Sweet Briar: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing (It’s Normal!!!!)

Bruce Tuckman Team Development Model
Bruce Tuckman Team Development Model

All my life group and team dynamics have fascinated me.   As a psychology major at Sweet Briar College, I read my textbooks with great interest and began applying that insight in my life.   Over the years, I have supervised hundreds of people, coached synchronized skating teams, served on boards and, more recently, experienced the intense team effort to save Sweet Briar College.

One of the most helpful and elegant models I have found in understanding human and team dynamics comes from Bruce Tuckman, PhD. His model is the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing Model.  He added a fifth stage later in his career “Adjourning”.  This model provides reassurance for those living through a time of uncertainty now.   Applying the Tuckman model helps understand both the individual and team dynamics.

Forming – Stage 1

When a team forms, there is high dependence on a leader (or perceived leader) for guidance and direction.  There is little agreement on the team’s aims and activities unless direction comes from the leader.  Individual roles and responsibilities aren’t clear and often are not yet defined.  Leaders will be besieged by questions about the team’s objectives, purpose, motives and relationships.  

A stone laying atop Indiana Fletcher Williams grave, "Believe" sits next to Daisy's resting place.
A stone laying atop Indiana Fletcher Williams grave, “Believe” sits next to Daisy’s resting place.

On campus, faculty and staff faced an uncertain future.  Those working under the leadership of the President and Board followed their path to closure.

Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. formed and appointed a Board.  They secured legal counsel to launch an important legal challenge.  Their charge and mission was clear; however, there was a misperception that they would or should have the answers to all questions and provide all direction — which was impossible and not their charge.

Stakeholders of all kinds were filled with questions and they directed them in many directions, including the volunteer leaders of Saving Sweet Briar.   The many stakeholders of Sweet Briar were uncertain as to who was leading them.  People waited for direction and answers — answers that sometimes couldn’t be provided given the confidentiality of a legal case.

Social media allowed for teams and subgroups to organize themselves around work they found important:  Students, Admissions, Research, Parents, Friends, and many more.

During the early formation of the teams organized to save Sweet Briar, I was unsure as to my best way to contribute.  As a fundraiser, I saw the need to raise money.  As someone who has worked in higher education for much of my career, I was called to take some of the issues I felt were important to a broader audience.  I turned to my blog.  My march blogs grappled with the broader issues I saw.

Looking back, “forming” was inevitable.  It was understandable.  The fact that this is normal is one of the reasons we must look back with an open mind at both perspectives — those who worked to close and those who worked to save.  Each had their respective leaders and followers who were moving towards — and directed towards — different futures.

Storming – Stage 2

Storming is a normal phase for all teams and teams return to this phase when there is a change (such as a new leadership, key decision, even victory).   In this phase decisions do not come easily in the group.  Team members vie for position as they try to establish themselves in relation to other team members or the leader.  The leader will receive challenges from team members.  Team members will attack each other, especially those who may not appear to comply with what they perceive to be the leader’s goals.  Clarity of purpose grows, but plenty of uncertainties persist.  Power struggles are the norm and factions will form.

Banners protesting the closure and leadership hung from balconies, the bell tower and buildings.
Banners protesting the closure and leadership hung from balconies, the bell tower and buildings.

Chaos reigned in the following weeks.  Chaos of all types.  Students protested the Board’s actions with banners hung from balconies and the bell tower.  Faculty unanimously voted no confidence in the leadership.  Additional suits were filed on behalf of faculty, students and an alumna.

Social media provided a forum where various people and teams working to save Sweet Briar organized – and divided —  themselves.   In the weeks after the initial announcement of closure, “storming” was alive and well.   The different groups working on the issues they felt were important experienced internal and external challenges.  Different teams questioned motives of others.  There was a strong desire to have “one” voice, “one” approach and to muffle any external statements that didn’t comply.

National media reported on the “fight” to save Sweet Briar.  Board members posted opinion pieces.  Op-eds, blogs, articles and social media brought to light the many issues of concern:  Donor rights, honoring the founder’s will, faculty contracts, and more.

The “us” and “them” felt as deep as the Grand Canyon at this time with Board members and “closers” (as they came to be called) fighting it out in Court, through social connections and in the national media.

During this time, I wrote some of my strongest blog posts about what I felt was wrong.  My discontent also took the form of frustration with the lack of process and procedure with the efforts to save the College.  I also was – true to form – frustrated with my leadership.   I wasn’t used to leadership unfolding in this way. I didn’t understand why we didn’t take on more volunteers.  I didn’t want anyone to tell me to wait.  I was in classic “storming” in my April blogs.

“Storming” is understandable.  It is one of the reasons we must forgive each other.  Without every team working towards its individual goals — even if we did not understand them — we might not have crossed the finish line we reached on June 20.

Norming – Stage 3

Agreement and consensus forms among the team.  Leadership is embraced and their roles are further defined.  Stakeholders of all types will see where they can assist and not wait for “spoon feeding” or regular direction by the leader.   There is less questioning of those  willing to work without direction and an appreciation that “many hands make light work”. Big decisions are made by group agreement.  Small decisions may be delegated to individuals or smaller teams.  Unity is strong and commitment grows.  There may be fun and social activities bonding people together.  Working styles emerge.  There is a general respect for the leader and more leadership is shared.  The leader faciliates and enables versus directing.

In response to the President's comment that he "left no stone unturned", this image shows the will of the students, faculty, staff, alumnae and CITIZENS of Virginia crying out for leadership.
In response to the President’s comment that he “left no stone unturned”, this image shows the will of the students, faculty, staff, alumnae and CITIZENS of Virginia crying out for leadership.

Norming took the shape of efficient fundraising.   We celebrated million-dollar-sized milestones along the way.  My team had regular conference calls.  We secured a professional fundraising firm, Alexander Haas, to help coordinate things.  As a fundraiser, this was a Godsend to me!  The processes, procedures, lists and other tools I was used to using were suddenly available.  We still had three different databases and some mis-steps along the way, but our collective apologies, thank yous and phone calls continued to yield success.

Back on campus, the practical matter of students transferring and faculty securing alternative positions outside of Sweet Briar unfolded.  As much as people hoped for a positive outcome, practical steps were needed.

During this phase, I marveled at different teams and how much was being achieved.  Sweet Briar 2.0, a clearinghouse website of all of the ideas and plans, launched.  Plans for Reunion 2015 unfolded with a parallel track for those who didn’t want to support the College’s activities.  My May blogs turned to the broader issues and more advocacy outside of my Sweet Briar community.

Fundraisers all over the country were held.  Class challenges inspired giving from alumnae in far greater numbers than ever before. National news stories began to cover the stories of the fight to SAVE the College.

Performing – Stage 4

In a performing stage, the team is strategically aware.  The team knows what it is doing and why they are doing it.  There is a shared vision.  The leader no longer has to be directive (nor is he/she expected to be).  Sub-groups have confidence of their role and they plunge themselves into useful activity.  Reporting structures become clearer.  The team attends to relationships and processes along the way.  There is self-care and mutual-care with people looking after each other.  The leader is able to deliver even greater results with the efficiencies and often a group of leaders will be able to expand its ranks.  

Salute to Daisy facing Monument Hill
Salute to Daisy facing Monument Hill – a gathering of 100+ women and men as a symbolic show of unity.

Looking back, it seems to me that those working to save Sweet Briar College hit the “performing” stage just in time for Reunion, 2015.  The collective goodwill from the regional events and opportunity to reconnect with campus reinvigorated everyone, even if they couldn’t attend.

On campus, there was greater clarity for students and faculty.  Quietly, there was optimism about the possibility of success.

National media stories continued with coverage of the efforts to save and the broader issues of importance to anyone.  Strong leaders spoke out — and were heard.

The amazing thing to me is the sense of TEAM that has emerged collectively.  I have never looked at my classmates at Sweet Briar and felt we were a TEAM until now.  I didn’t expect to look to the classes around me and see us as a united front.  In fact, there was often subtle competition at Reunions to compete for fundraising with the last class to reach our milestones.  I feel UNITED with students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae, community and friends.  We, Sweet Briar College, are a TEAM.  This team building we have undergone has been painful, jubilant and TRANSFORMING.

I don’t see how this can be replicated at any other institution in the land and I hope no other place has to go through it.  However, I can honestly say, I would do it all over again to reach this amazing place our team Saving Sweet Briar has reached!

Adjourning – Stage 5

Bruce Tuckman refined his theory in 1975 and added a fifth stage to the Forming Storming Norming Performing Model which he called Adjourning (it is also referred to as Deforming and Mourning).  Tuckman’s fifth stage is the break-up of the group, hopefully when the task is successfully completed.  Everyone can move on to new things, feeling good about what’s been achieved.  From an organizational perspective, sensitivity to this stage is helpful, particularly if members of a group have been closely bonded or feel threatened by the change.  

Indiana Fletcher Williams smiles a bit broader....
Indiana Fletcher Williams smiles a bit broader….

To be honest, I forgot about this step until I prepared to write this post.  When I reviewed the material on Tuckman’s model, I hadn’t noted the fifth stage in the articles.  Yet, it is very helpful to think about now whether from the perspective of the outgoing Sweet Briar College Board, the new members of the Sweet Briar Board or the Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. Board who announced from the beginning that they hoped to be “out of a job” by the end of their efforts.

The Sweet Briar College Board collectively resigned after the Memorandum of Understanding was reached between the parties filing suit and Sweet Briar College.   To their credit, they saw that their job was done.  They took a vote, they took steps to execute that vote for closure and held their course.  They served in a very difficult time and I am compassionate for how this must have been for them.

The Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. Board’s role for funding the important legal counsel was a victory – the County Attorney of Amherst achieved her desired goals and the outcome of “getting back the keys” resulted.  The fundraising effort launched surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations.   The work to secure a new President was successful.  All parties to the suits put forward suggested names for new Board members for Sweet Briar College.

Fortunately, there is no “adjourning” for those who have worked to save the College.  The cycle begins anew.

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

We can expect all of these stages in the weeks ahead.  Hopefully, it can help us be more compassionate with those who are working on campus to welcome back students.  Perhaps it could help us reach out to those who thought differently from us and welcome them into this future.   We need all leaders, followers, rank-and-file, do-ers possible to begin the cycle again.

To support Saving Sweet Briar, visit:  www.savingsweetbriar.com

Soon, we will bring to you our regularly scheduled links at the College, but we don’t yet have the keys….

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.

 

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SHOW ME THE MONEY (or Pledge)…by midnight tonight.

From the 1996 film "Jerry McGuire"
From the 1996 film “Jerry McGuire”

While there is much to celebrate now that Sweet Briar College is saved, our finish line has moved and some hurdles have been added.

In some ways, this feels like the morning after a holiday when you are surrounded by wrapping paper and a stack of bills, but let’s focus for now  on what brings us closer to our goals:  Recruited students, new leadership, the future unfolding…

We got this….

blog hurdles

The Sweet Briar Board and other parties to the three lawsuits against the College reached a Memorandum of Understanding.  I shall refrain from expressing my opinion now because I have more important things to share.  Help us over this hurdle!

Hurdle #1:  Turn over $2.5 million in cash by July 1.

Hurdle #2:  Turn over $12 million in cash from converted pledges by September 1.

Hurdle #3:   Only pledges made by midnight, June 23, 2015, will count towards the deadline.

Yes, you heard me.  As strange as this sounds, only pledges made by midnight on June 23, 2015 can count towards our “finish line” all the way to September.

Want to be counted, MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TODAY!  How can you make your pledge today?

  • Visit www.savingsweetbriar.com
  • Alert Alexander Haas, our fundraising firm, by emailing Elizabeth Smith:  e.smith@alexanderhaas.com

Here is a great graphic provided by Jay Orsi, from the Unsolicited Guru blog:

If you are reading this post AFTER June 23, 2015, please contact me via the comment form below.

And now a word from Saving Sweet Briar Fundraising Chair and future Sweet Briar College board member:

To my dear fellow Sweet Briar supporters –

You all are amazing and I see you rushing to the cause, OUR CAUSE! You have been pledging and donating cash to meet the specified terms of the settlement agreement with enthusiasm and vigor! Your responses have blown the doors right off PayPal.

This morning, I can say with a great deal of certainty that we will convert the $2.5 Million required to trigger the next 30-day deadline. Once we have collected the $2.5 Million, (which may take a few more days due to stock transfers and bank wiring coordination) please remember we have two more hurdles to clear to reach the entire $12 Million cash requirement by September 1. Please remember that the $21 Million pledge update announced last Friday are monies over a five year period. And what we all know in the professional fundraising world is that some attrition is possible due to unforeseen circumstances. That is why we MUST continue our efforts.

Many of you have asked for daily and immediate updates. I only ask for patience. We have volunteer campaign counsel in Atlanta assisting the team of alumnae volunteers and they are doing an extraordinary job. We do not have a Development Office per se (yet!) so this volunteer force is juggling a crush of tasks – receipt of incoming pledges, telephone inquiries, check deposits, and many other important and immediate administrative details. Every detail needs to be right, and we are working around the clock to make sure of that. Please have patience and continue to trust our due diligence process.

Thus far, we have navigated this great challenge to steer our college into the future with grace and fortitude. Now we are working to fulfill our Promise. This endeavor to revive our college has been and will continue to be a marathon. So please stay positive and remember our long term goal! Thank you for your selfless commitment to Saving Sweet Briar.

Yours,
Mary Pope M. Hutson
Class of 1983
Fundraising Chair
Saving Sweet Briar

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.

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Success for Saving Sweet Briar! Yay… Now, Get Back to Work!

KEYS!  Saving Sweet Briar gets the keys to the College.
KEYS! Saving Sweet Briar gets the keys to the College.

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.

Read the Memorandum of Understanding

Visit the Saving Sweet Briar Website — SAVED

Sweet Briar College is NOT “imploading” – she is RISING.  She will be stronger than EVER…

…Stronger President

….New Board

….Millions raised turned over to College

….New Leadership

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.

Giving has never been more important!
Giving has never been more important!

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.

Visit Saving Sweet Briar to make a pledge or give.

Painting projects abound!
Painting projects abound!

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.

keep calm and prepare for recruiting

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?

Extend the hand of friendship and reconciliation.
Extend the hand of friendship and reconciliation.

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…

An angel over Daisy Wiliams' final resting places raises her arm to the sky.
An angel over Daisy Wiliams’ final resting places raises her arm to the sky.

Indiana’s shy smile beams a bit brighter today….

Indiana Fletcher Williams smiles a bit broader....
Indiana Fletcher Williams smiles a bit broader….

The President of the College and Chair of the Board have been tossed off their perches.

In response to the President's comment that he "left no stone unturned", this image shows the will of the students, faculty, staff, alumnae and CITIZENS of Virginia crying out for leadership.
In response to the President’s comment that he “left no stone unturned”, this image shows the will of the students, faculty, staff, alumnae and CITIZENS of Virginia crying out for leadership.

Alumnae and friends celebrate!

Salute to Daisy facing Monument Hill
Salute to Daisy facing Monument Hill

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.

Someone caught this photo of me while leading a group "Holla, holla" at Reunion, 2015.
Someone caught this photo of me while leading a group “Holla, holla” at Reunion, 2015.
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