Sweet Briar College has announced that Loyola Law School professor Georgene Vairo of Santa Barbara is the new vice chair of its board of directors. Vairo, a 1972 Sweet Briar graduate, has served as secretary since the board was created on July 2, 2015, when new governance took over following a thwarted attempt to close the private women’s college in Virginia by its previous board and administration.
Vairo was one of thousands of alumnae who organized to support Saving Sweet Briar Inc., a nonprofit formed immediately upon the March 3, 2015, closure announcement to fight the decision. The group and its supporters prevailed, reaching a settlement on June 22 that kept the College open, after a fierce fundraising and public awareness campaign.
“Being a part of saving, and now sustaining, Sweet Briar has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Vairo says. “I am honored that the board has placed its confidence in me, and I will do my utmost to ensure that Sweet Briar thrives in perpetuity.”
Vairo has been the David P. Leonard Professor of Law at Loyola of Los Angeles Law School since 1995. Since 2007, she also has been president of Auswin Realty Corp., where she manages a family-owned residential and commercial real estate firm in New York City. Prior to her current positions, she was associate dean of the Fordham University School of Law and Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law. From 1988 to 2000, she chaired the board of trustees for the Dalkon Shield Claimants’ Trust, a court-appointed position, and helped design and implement the plan to distribute over $3 billion to more than 200,000 claimants. Since 1994, Vairo has been on the editorial board of Moore’s Federal Practice, and has authored numerous books and articles.
In 1975, Vairo received an M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in social studies. She graduated first in her class from Fordham University School of Law in 1979. She was law clerk to the Honorable Joseph M. McLaughlin, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (1981-1982) and associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom from 1979 to 1981, specializing in antitrust litigation.
In 1997, Sweet Briar honored her with its Distinguished Alumna Award.