In 1901, it wasn’t typical for a woman to go to college. Ours went to grad school.
Just like yours, our story is a unique one.
In a time when she wasn’t even allowed to vote, Indiana Fletcher Williams wanted more for women. When she died in 1900, she left her estate to found an institution in memory of her only daughter, Daisy, who had died in 1884 at the age of 16. Indiana’s wish was to prepare young women to “be useful members of society.”
Sweet Briar opened in 1906 with 51 students eager to build something new. The A.B. degree was immediately recognized by graduate programs at leading universities — and three of the College’s first five graduates went on to pursue advanced degrees.
In 2015, when an attempt was made to close Sweet Briar, our alumnae rose up and said, “no way.” They fought a legal battle and raised more than $12 million in less than six months to preserve Sweet Briar’s 114-year-old tradition of educating women who get things done. Like their 1906 predecessors, the students of Sweet Briar embraced the challenge of writing the College’s next chapter.
We’re proud to say that today, the College is vibrant with new ideas, setting new trends and shaping forward-thinkers. But we remember our beginnings and continue the traditions of the Honor Code and self-governance pioneered by Sweet Briar’s very first class. Indiana’s vision lives on in perpetuity — reaffirmed by today’s students and alumnae who know firsthand just how precious it is.