McCord has taught at Sweet Briar for more than 25 years, during which time she has become a mentor and friend to generations of students. Several of them have shown their appreciation with a gift to the College in her honor to renovate the room.
“It’s always been a classroom and a practice room, but now we can use it as an additional performance venue,” McCord says, noting that it’s a more intimate alternative to Memorial Chapel for smaller recitals, with acoustics that produce a warm sound.
The interior was gutted except for the ceiling. There is new drywall and wainscoting, window treatments, flooring, and a fresh coat of paint all around, including the risers. The chairs were refurbished with new seats and backs. A 70-inch flat screen TV, which can display slides, VHS, DVD or Blu-ray, replaced a temperamental projector system. And chandeliers are due to be installed in early December.
“It’s very bright and light and clean, and the whole atmosphere of it is different,” McCord says. “I know the donors were quite happy with it.”
The group — which included Ana Simic Beskin ’96, Lisa Claypool Stevenson ’89, Kimberly Willock Pardiwala ’89 and Sarah Anderson Stanton ’89, as well as George Willock III, Al and Rosemary McCord, and Mary McCord — were able to see the changes when the room was dedicated during Homecoming and Families Weekend. The room overflowed with alumnae, friends and College officials who attended the dedication.