Saving Sweet Briar, Inc., the non-profit group formed to save Sweet Briar College, announced today that it has collected over $2.5 million in alumnae donations and will make its first required payment to Sweet Briar College ahead of schedule.
“We are very pleased that Saving Sweet Briar has reached the first critical threshold outlined in the settlement agreement,” said Sarah Clement, Chair of Saving Sweet Briar (Sweet Briar College, AB 1975; University of Virginia School of Law, JD 1984). “We will deliver $2.5 million to the college ahead of schedule and we can confidently report, given the pace at which alumnae are delivering on the pledges they made to save our college, that we are well on our way to meeting the next threshold of $6 million by August 2 with the full $12 million to be provided in early September.”
The delivery of the $2.5 million payment to the college will satisfy the last remaining condition for the leadership change stipulated in the settlement agreement. The resignations by the outgoing Board of Directors will become effective at 4:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, and a meeting of the new Board of Directors is scheduled to take place that same day at 5 p.m. During this meeting, the new Board is expected to appoint Phillip Stone as president of the college. Stone will then be able to accelerate the work of securing the college’s future that has already been underway since the settlement agreement was announced. This work will include encouraging current students to return and recruiting freshmen to begin their college careers at Sweet Briar College.
The incoming President continued transition efforts today, announcing his intention to provide returning students the same level of financial aid from the college that they received last year. Stone also pledged an expedited review of financial aid applications from accepted freshmen who did not submit financial aid requests to Sweet Briar College once the closure plans were announced on March 3.
“I recognize that financial aid concerns are a major factor for former students deciding whether to return and incoming freshmen deciding whether to reconsider attending other schools,” said Stone. “By committing to honor past financial aid awards and expediting the review of financial aid applications for freshmen that had committed to attending Sweet Briar, I hope we can provide the assurance our students need to come home to Sweet Briar.”
Given the timing of the March 3 announcement that the college would close, it is likely that many incoming freshmen did not elect to send their FAFSA documents to Sweet Briar College. This was a key step that would have enabled the college to determine the financial aid it could provide to incoming freshmen. Stone urged freshmen who had previously committed to attending Sweet Briar to reconsider any plans they made to attend other schools and to update their FAFSA information so that it can be sent to Sweet Briar College.
Today’s announcement adds more detail to the transition plans the incoming president has been providing in recent days. Earlier in the week, Stone noted in a statement issued by Saving Sweet Briar that, while not able to act in an official capacity until he is appointed president by the board, “I do want people to know that I am very actively engaged in transition activities. As part of this process, I am having a number of important conversations with incoming board members, faculty and others.”