Meredith Jung-En Woo to Leave Presidency of Sweet Briar College in 2024

Meredith Jung-En Woo, the president of Sweet Briar College in Virginia, has announced that she will step down at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 academic year after leading the college for seven years.

“Sweet Briar is an important institution with a distinctive mission. Deeply loved and supported by one of the strongest alumnae networks in the nation, it now has an unstoppable momentum,” President Woo said. “I look forward to passing the baton to a new leader who can take the college to a new height.”

In March 2015, Sweet Briar College announced that it was closing (See WIAReport post.) But a fundraising campaign rescued the women’s college and a new leadership team focused on boosting enrollment and strengthening the college’s financial base. President Woo is generally given high marks for her efforts to strengthen the college.

Before coming to Sweet Briar College, Dr. Woo was the director of the Higher Education Support Program for the Open Society Foundations in London. From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Woo was the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. Earlier, she was a professor of political science and associate dean for social sciences at the University of Michigan.

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Woo is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Filed Under: Retirements


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  1. Alice Dixon says:

    President Meredith Woo has played a transformational role in Sweet Briar College’s renaissance and evolution as a successful and dynamic college poised for the future.

    When President Woo came to Sweet Briar, she was focused on excellence in every area. She led the complete restructuring of the curriculum, as well as hiring and cultivating the very best administrators, staff, and faculty. By stabilizing and then strengthening the college’s finances, to generating optimism and enthusiastic support from Sweet Briar’s 14,000 living alumnae, President Woo has been an inspirational leader.

    We are most grateful for her leadership, commitment, and faith in Sweet Briar’s future as a Woman’s College of unparalleled excellence. And, our enrollment trends are proof of that. Evidence of President Woo’s success has been recognized by an important outside arbiter, S&P Global.

    “S&P Global, which has affirmed the school’s long-term bond rating of BB and revised its outlook from stable to positive.  Only four percent of the U.S. higher education institutions reviewed by S&P received a positive outlook, so Sweet Briar’s upwardly revised outlook is significant.
    S&P stated that the positive outlook and affirmed rating reflect Sweet Briar’s enrollment growth and a healthy balance sheet with low debt, rapid debt amortization, and more-than-adequate liquidity.
    Other factors cited by S&P in its rating include the College’s positive operational changes and more disciplined financial management under the leadership of President Meredith Woo, as well as its 10-year reaccreditation in December 2021 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a concrete sign of Sweet Briar’s resurgence.”

    Meredith Woo will be remembered as one of Sweet Briar’s heroines for many, many years to come.

    Alice Dixon, ‘82

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