Sweet Briar College to Remain Open

sweet-briar-collegeIn a dramatic development, Mark R. Herring, attorney general of Virginia, announced an agreement that will keep Sweet Briar College open for the coming academic year. Under the plan, an alumnae group will raise $12 million dollars for the coming academic year with the first $2.5 million installment due by July. As part of the agreement, the attorney general will release $16 million in funds from the college’s endowment that had been frozen due to litigation. All parties to the plan agreed to end litigation.

Under the plan, current board members would resign and 18 new ones would be appointed. President James F. Jones Jr. will resign and Phillip Stone, former president of Bridgewater College in Virginia, has agreed to serve as the new president of Sweet Briar College.

In a statement, the college said that “the Board of Directors decided that new leadership should be allowed the opportunity to operate the College for another year with the hope it will be able to find long-term solutions for ongoing sustainability.”

Sweet Briar College shocked the academic community in March by announcing it would close in August. The college said that despite a considerable endowment of $84 million, it was facing “insurmountable financial challenges” due to declining enrollments and the fact that it had to discount tuition to attract students.

Problems will remain. A major obstacle will be finding students. Many students who had been enrolled have made other plans. And most students in this year’s high school graduating classes have also made college plans for the coming academic year. So too, many of Sweet Briar’s faculty have also been forced to take other jobs.

Filed Under: NewsWomen's Colleges


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