Sweet Briar holds town hall meeting

February 25, 2017 | By Janika Carey

Chair of the board Teresa Tomlinson ’87 opened Sweet Briar College’s second annual town hall meeting on Saturday afternoon with a big smile, noting how “absolutely exhilarating” the February board meeting had been.

“I’ve never been involved in anything this consistently exciting,” she added.

After asking board members, the President’s Council, faculty, staff and the Alumnae Alliance Council to stand, Tomlinson also asked for a round of applause for the College’s President-elect Meredith Woo, who was watching the meeting online.

President Phil Stone was greeted by standing ovations from the audience. Before reflecting on the campus happenings of the past few weeks — including Woo’s announcement and Google’s visit during the 2017 Engineers Week Banquet — he promised carrier pigeons to those watching from afar should the livestream be interrupted by the looming thunderstorm outside.

Looking back at the past year, Stone celebrated the fact that Sweet Briar managed to come in well under budget in 2016. He also reiterated the College’s fundraising goal of $20 million, stressing there was “plenty of time” until June 30.

Finally, it was time to turn it back over to Tomlinson for the Q&A.

“It’s been remarkable to see your leadership,” Tomlinson said, adding there would be many celebrations and tears as Stone moves closer to his retirement in May.

The first question came from a faculty member, who wanted to know the status of Sweet Briar’s recruiting efforts in China. Applications, said Vice President for Enrollment Management Bill Allen, are coming in. There also are efforts in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Stone added.

When asked about his best moments at Sweet Briar, Stone said it had been a great ride on the “Vixen cart.” He recalled the 2016 graduation ceremony, when parents thanked him for letting their daughters graduate, and announced he had decided to not merely hold receptions in the parlors of Sweet Briar House, but actually live in them — along with his CD collection and a bottle of Merlot.

You can watch the 2017 town hall meeting here:

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