After 2015 near-closure, Sweet Briar College tops 2021 fundraising, enrollment goals

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Alumnae young and old take in the campus views at Sweet Briar College.

Six years after financial burdens nearly shut the Amherst County college down, those here say things are roaring back.

“Ever since 2015, our donor base, namely the alumnae, have been incredibly supportive of the vision and direction of the college,” said Meredith Woo, president.

Because of that support from folks, Sweet Briar exceeded fundraising and enrollment goals this year.

A financial goal of $5 million was surpassed as the college took in over $12 million.

Last year the college had 342 women enrolled but is on track to have more than 450 this year as part of its largest incoming class since 2013.

Alumnae say that’s part of what they believed in all along.

“These few, several years later as we’ve seen every incoming class grow and grow, and our fundraising and the support grow and grow, it really demonstrates what we knew all along,” said Dana Poleski, alumna and media relations director.

But those here say the momentum isn’t ending yet.

Woo says growth will continue.

As the college focuses on several key programs, Woo says they look to have this upcoming year’s enrollment nearly doubled in five years.

“Mathematically it is feasible. We have the momentum. We are on our way to conquering that peak of 800,” said Woo.

But no matter how many women fill the buildings, the commitment to smaller classrooms will continue.

“It’s the quality that matters and Sweet Briar has always been a small college delivering superlative education to young women in small classrooms and we will always be faithful to that vision,” said Woo.

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