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EDUCATION: COLLEGE : UNITED STATES: STATES: VIRGINIA: Saved for Now, Sweet Briar College Looks for a Long-Term Fix


David P. Dillard
 

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EDUCATION: COLLEGE :

UNITED STATES: STATES: VIRGINIA:

Saved for Now, Sweet Briar College Looks for a Long-Term Fix

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Saved for Now, Sweet Briar College Looks for a Long-Term Fix

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 12:13 pm

Associated Press

Roanoke Times

http://www.roanoke.com/ap/state/saved-for-now-sweet-briar-college- looks-for-a-long/article_59cf2648-1f8e-5b80-b5b2-7695e0490305.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/pzhdle5

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SWEET BRIAR Weeks into his presidency at Sweet Briar College, Phillip Stone still marvels at the energy of passionate alumnae who helped save the school just a few months ago from the fate of dozens of other womens colleges: closure.

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snip

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The 72-year-old lawyer sat in his office this month as dozens of former students fanned over the 3,250-acre grounds in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to paint, pull weeds and mulch ahead before classes start Thursday.

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Our alumnae are really gassed up to help, Stone said. They are all over the campus.

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And they want to do more, he said. They want to help us recruit students, and were going to turn them loose, Stone said, calling their pitch to prospective students passion sales.

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But Stone admits the schools long-term future will require more than just the fierce loyalty and the millions in donations that Sweet Briar women summoned to achieve a rare feat in higher education saving a school from shutdown. The key is more students, Stone said. Thats going to be the heart of what we do.

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Sweet Briars leaders announced in March that the 114-year-old liberal arts college would close this month, buried by financial challenges deemed insurmountable. It was seen by many as another blow for private liberal arts colleges, especially womens institutions. Of the 230 womens colleges a half-century ago in the U.S., only 45 are still operating.

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But the announcement was met with skepticism, anger and ultimately activism by some former students who said they were blindsided by the news. They raised more than $21 million in pledges through June 19 to keep the college afloat, and joined in lawsuits to blunt any move to shutter the campus.

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Sweet Briars story is being watched closely in higher education circles. The schools rescue is being celebrated as an inspiration for other suffering liberal arts colleges, even as its long-term viability remains uncertain.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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