Sweet Briar Institute was made possible by the Last Will and Testament of Indiana Fletcher Williams, which directed that her assets be used to create and operate a women’s college in Amherst County, Va., to be held in trust in perpetuity. Sweet Briar Institute (known and operated as Sweet Briar College) was incorporated as a non-stock corporation by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia approved Feb. 9, 1901, for the purpose of implementing the trust in the Williams will. The College has been operated continuously since that time as a private liberal arts women’s college.
Following a March 3, 2015, announcement by the previous board of directors that the College would close effective in August 2015, alumnae, students, faculty, parents and other friends of the College joined forces and achieved their goal of keeping the College open. A new slate of directors was elected as part of a settlement agreement, approved by court order June 23, 2015, to carry on the mission of Sweet Briar College. The current board consists of the committed individuals listed below.
Andrew C. Benjamin
E | email@example.com
H | Leesburg, Va.
Andrew Benjamin has more than 27 years experience in the financial service industry. He was operations manager for Card Establishment Service for seven years. He managed the chargeback department and was one of the key managers to bring automation to the unit. He then joined NeuralTech as director of implementation services, where he worked with banks automating their back office operation. Then he co-founded Merlin Solutions LLC and was the chief operation officer. Merlin supplied automated chargeback processing service to banks and acquirers throughout the U.S. In 2007, Total Systems (TSS NYSE) finalized the purchase of Merlin Solutions. Benjamin has remained with TSYS, managing and growing the division as director of the Operation Contact Center, where he manages one of the highest-margin divisions.
Benjamin became involved with Sweet Briar when his daughter became a member of the class of 2018. He has actively supported the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and American National Riding Commission teams by cheering the riders at competitions throughout the 2014-2015 year.
Benjamin was recently a settling party in the litigation involving Sweet Briar College. He is committed to the success of Sweet Briar College so that his daughter, Makayla Benjamin ’18, can complete her engineering degree and so that no future students will have to face this issue again at this outstanding college. Benjamin is a graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, with a B.S. in industrial management and a minor in industrial engineering. He is married to Janice Benjamin.
Jacquelyne “Jax” Bullett ’15
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Ashburn, Va.
Jax Bullett graduated from Sweet Briar College in May 2015 with a B.A. in government and a minor in Spanish. While at the College, Bullett played on the soccer team and served as ICC secretary and senior class vice president.
She is currently an associate contracts administrator at General Dynamics Information Technology.
Leah A. Busque ’01
E | email@example.com
H | San Mateo, Calif.
Leah Busque has 15 years experience building and creating technology products that have reached millions of people around the globe. She started her career at IBM as a software engineer in the software group, working on Lotus Notes and Domino. In 2008, Busque founded TaskRabbit, the leading on-demand service marketplace in the world.
A vision for revolutionizing the way people work led Busque to pioneer the concept of “service networking.” Her passions for product innovation and devotion to user experience have propelled TaskRabbit into a leading role in the collaborative consumption movement. Busque has expanded the company internationally, raised nearly $40 million in venture funding from venerated investors such as Shasta Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures and Founders Fund, and inspired legions of startups to launch in the collaborative and service networking space. Fast Company named her one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and her achievements have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Time. Under her leadership, TaskRabbit has gathered accolades including being named “The Next Big Thing in Tech” by the New York Times.
In 2014, Busque was inaugurated into the Forum of Young Global Leaders, a prestigious group of fewer than 1000 people around the globe recognized for their bold, brave, action-oriented entrepreneurial ventures. The arts and creating opportunities for women in technology are important to Busque, who also serves on the board of the Silicon Valley Ballet and enjoys speaking engagements for organizations such as Girls Who Code and Tina Brown’s Women In the World Summit.
Busque resides in San Mateo, Calif., with her husband, daughter, son and highly energetic black Labrador retriever. She graduated magna cum laude from Sweet Briar College, where she earned a B.S. in mathematics and computer science. She served on the board of directors from 2001-2003.
Alice Dixon ’82
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Richmond, Va.
Alice Dixon was born in Charlotte, N.C., and was graduated from Charlotte Country Day School. After graduation in 1982 from Sweet Briar College with an A.B. in biology, Dixon earned a Master of Humanities from the University of Richmond. Dixon moved to Richmond to take a job in the pharmaceutical industry. Following a long career with Carter Wallace, Dixon entered the field of residential mortgage lending, where she earned the prestigious Certified Professional Mortgage Specialist designation. Currently, Dixon still resides in Richmond, is deeply engaged with Sweet Briar, and enjoys her black lab, Jackson.
While at Sweet Briar, Dixon served as Student Government Association president, junior class president and freshman class president. In her sophomore year, she was on the Judicial Committee. Dixon was a QV and an Earphone, and played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse all four years. She was named in the 1982 edition of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
In her community, Dixon has been active with her church and was a longtime member of the Junior League board, and a member of its executive committee. Dixon also was very active in the Richmond chapter of the Sweet Briar Alumnae Association, serving as the club’s president for a number of years.
William B. Drake Jr.
E | email@example.com
H | Lexington, Ky.
William Drake is managing partner of an enrollment management and accreditation consulting firm (2012-present). He is a former president of Midway College in Midway, Ky. (2002-2012), a private liberal arts college for women encompassing a traditional residential women’s college coupled with online and off-campus adult degree completion programs. The college is located on a 200-acre rural campus surrounded by an equine farm with more than 80 horses of various breeds used in academic programs. During his tenure, Midway nearly tripled enrollment, established an online college, and developed four permanent off-campus sites. Additional accomplishments include the addition of master’s and associate’s degrees.
Drake was a member of the board of the Women’s College Coalition. He is also a former SACS trustee. Drake holds M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Lexington Theological Seminary in Old Testament and in pastoral care and counseling, respectively. He received his B.A. in biology from Transylvania University. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant.
Marianne “Mimi” C. Fahs ’71
Executive Committee Member at Large
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | New York, N.Y.
Mimi Fahs is a health economist, with more than 30 years of experience. She holds a joint appointment in the City University of New York as a professor of health policy with the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and professor of economics with the Graduate Center. She was the founding research director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging of Hunter College, and the founding director of the Health Policy Research Center at the New School in New York City. Prior to that, she directed the Health Economics Division at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC, where she pioneered the first cost-effectiveness analysis of cancer prevention strategies among older women in the US. She has authored numerous articles and consults regularly with the National Institutes of Health.
Mimi received her B.A. from Sweet Briar College in international relations, and her M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the School of Public Health, University of Michigan. Married, with one adult son, she divides her time between Manhattan and Orient Point, Long Island.
Kelley M. Fitzpatrick ’85
Executive Committee Member at Large
E | email@example.com
H | Mountain Brook, Ala.
Kelley Manderson Fitzpatrick, Class of 1985, majored in economics/business management under Reuben Miller and spent the ’80s working for Credit Suisse First Boston in New York as the result of an internship arranged by Sweet Briar. Her economics education at Sweet Briar taught her to believe in the power of ethical capitalism.
Kelley has worked in social services benefiting the elderly and has been a community volunteer in many capacities. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the YWCA of Central Alabama and the Birmingham Museum of Art Advisory Board.
She is the president of her family foundation, which supports education, environmental issues and the promotion of mental and spiritual well-being. Through the foundation, she and her husband recently endowed the Value Investing Program, research library and trading room at the University of Alabama. The Manderson family also endowed the university’s graduate business school. She is the mother of two sons and lives with her husband in Birmingham.
Carol McMurtry Fowler ’57
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Austin, Texas
A native Texan, Fowler graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1957 with high honors. She then attended the London School of Economics. She has been a newspaper reporter and editor, a political campaign organizer, manager and speechwriter for public officials, including a governor. She has also served as chief locater of escheated funds division in Texas; as a legal assistant to a law firm and as executive assistant to the board chair of the State Board of Insurance.
She was married to Dudley Fowler, an attorney, for 50 years before his death in 2014. Fowler notes that as a student, Sweet Briar College taught her that she was an adult and responsible for herself and her future. Intellectually, her brain was set on fire at Sweet Briar, and that fire has never gone out. “What a gift the College gave me — gave many other women.”
Charlene W. “Suny” Monk
E | email@example.com
H | Amherst, Va.
Suny Monk is recently retired from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an international artist community in Amherst, where she served as executive director since 1997. She continues to serve as a board member of VCCA Abroad, focusing especially on VCCA’s satellite program in Auvillar, France. Prior to moving to Amherst, Monk was head of school at Aylett Country Day School in Millers Tavern, Va., from 1982-1997. She is trained as a ceramist and for the last 20 years has produced one-of-a-kind wearable art.
Monk has served as a consultant or panelist for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Randolph College, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology. Most recently, she served on the selection committee for the Virginia Governor’s Awards for the Arts. She was named Woman of the Year in the Arts by the YWCA of Central Virginia Academy of Women. She has served as a board member of the Academy Center of the Arts, the Alliance of Artists Communities and Lynchburg Fine Arts Center.
Currently, she serves on the board of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, is immediate past chair of the board of directors of New Vistas School, and president of Second Stage | Amherst, an emerging local nonprofit seeking to establish a cultural and community center for Amherst County. She is an advisory board member of Endstation Theatre Company and a partner at Oxide Pottery, a fine craft gallery in Lynchburg, Va.
Monk earned a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and a master’s from Ohio University. She lives in Amherst with her husband, Joe, a retired professor of studio art at Sweet Briar College.
Secretary of the Board
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Richmond, Va.
Bernie Niemeier is the president and publisher of Virginia Business, a 30-year old monthly magazine that serves as the leading source of business intelligence for top executives and government leaders across Virginia. He spent 30 years in the newspaper business, including 17 on the corporate staff of Media General Inc., one of the largest publicly traded newspaper companies in the United States. At Media General, Niemeier was a division vice president in charge of strategic planning, market research and newspaper acquisitions.
Community involvement is a key aspect of his success. Niemeier has worked with non-profits and professional associations throughout his career. He is a past board chair of LEAD Virginia and has also served on the board of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Bernie graduated cum laude from Macalester College, received an MBA from the University of Richmond, and has attended executive development programs at Northwestern University, Babson College and The University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. Bernie is married to Lisa Gray Niemeier. He is the father of Sweet Briar alumna Kathryn (“Katie”) Niemeier ’05.
In January of 2007 he became publisher of Virginia Business, adding small-company entrepreneurial experience to his public-company corporate background. In September of 2009, he led a private equity-funded purchase of the magazine from Media General, to reach the ultimate goal of running an independent company.
Frank W. Roach
Executive Committee Member at Large
E | email@example.com
H | Richmond, Va.
Frank Roach is the former CEO of Ferguson, the largest wholesale distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings in the U.S., as well as the largest wholesale distributor of Waterworks in the U.S. The company is also a major distributor of HVAC/R equipment, and industrial products and services. Ferguson has 1,400 locations throughout the United States and more than 25,000 associates.
Originally from Warrenton, Va., Roach received a B.A. from Hampden-Sydney College and an MBA from the College of William and Mary. Roach also attended executive management programs at the University of North Carolina, Duke University, the International Institute of Management Development in Switzerland and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Roach and his wife, Mary Reid Roach ’74, live in Richmond. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. Frank serves on the GO Virginia board, Hampton Roads Regional Council and the Peninsula SPCA as director emeritus. Roach is a former trustee for Hampden-Sydney College and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC). He also served on the Ferguson board of directors, Wolseley board of directors and the Make-A-Wish Foundation board.
Mason Bennett Rummel ’83
Executive Committee Member at Large
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Louisville, Ky.
Since 2010, Rummel has been president of James Graham Brown Foundation Inc., whose mission is to cultivate progress and civic pride through philanthropic investments that promote the image of Kentucky and Louisville and the well-being of its citizens. She has been employed by the foundation since 1989. Previously, she served on the staff of the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture and as a press officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She has been a board member and held other leadership roles in a great number of philanthropic, cultural, educational and civic organizations.
Mason graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1983 with a B.A. in English and earned an M.A. in philanthropic studies at the Lilly School of Philanthropy, Indiana University. She is married to Rick Rummel and they have three grown children.
Caville Stanbury-Woolery ’06
E | email@example.com
H | Silver Spring, Md.
Caville Stanbury-Woolery is a certified professional engineer and project management professional whose career has focused on design and analysis of water collection and distribution systems. She is employed as an engineer/project manager and liaison for private development-related pipe construction projects in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. She previously was an engineer/project manager in Georgia.
Caville majored in physics with minors in engineering science and mathematics at Sweet Briar, graduating with honors in 2006. She was the student representative on the Advisory Board to implement the College’s new engineering curriculum.
After graduating, she pursued a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. While there, she served as the community outreach officer for the engineering school’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.
She is a member of the Water Environment Federation, Chesapeake Water Environment Association, Society of Women Engineers, Georgia Association of Water Professionals and the National Society of Black Engineers.
Caville is committed to Sweet Briar and strives to ensure that the legacy of providing high quality education in an environment of sisterhood remains available to other young women.
Allison “Allie” Stemmons Simon ’63
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Irving, Texas
Allison “Allie” Stemmons Simon is a native of Dallas and has lived there and in the suburb of Irving, Texas, her entire life — except her four years at Sweet Briar College. She attended the Hockaday School, graduating in 1959, and received her A.B. from Sweet Briar in 1963. After 12 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry, she entered the travel business, owning and managing a mid-sized commercial agency for 18 years. During that time, she developed a clientele of luxury leisure travelers and began specializing in independent European travel. After closing the agency in 1993, she continued as Allison Simon, Travel Consultant Inc., until she retired in December 2015.
Simon served on the Sweet Briar board from 1981 to l994, the last eight years as vice-chairman. She was class president for her 25th and 50th reunions and was class secretary for many years, a position she still holds. In 1999, she was selected as Sweet Briar’s Outstanding Alumna.
Simon has served as president of the Stemmons Foundation — a small family foundation primarily supporting charities in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area — since 1991. She is married to Heinz K. Simon and they have two adult daughters. They now split their time between Irving and their second home in Snowmass Village, Colo.
The Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson ’87
Chair of the Board
E | email@example.com
H | Columbus, Ga.
Teresa Tomlinson was elected as the 69th mayor of Columbus, Ga., on Nov. 30, 2010, with 68 percent of the vote. On Jan. 3, 2011, she was sworn in as the city’s first female mayor. On May 20, 2014, she was re-elected to a second term with 63 percent of the vote, making her the first mayor since the city’s consolidation in 1971 to win re-election in a contested race. She has four times been named to Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and she holds a National Security Secret Clearance with the Department of Defense.
Tomlinson moved to Columbus in 1994 from Atlanta and married Wade H. “Trip” Tomlinson, who was raised in Columbus. For 16 years she practiced with the law firm of Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood LLC, where she specialized in complex litigation and was the firm’s first female partner. She served from 2006 to 2010 as executive director of MidTown Inc., a nonprofit community renewal organization. Tomlinson is a 1983 graduate of Chamblee High School in Atlanta, a 1987 graduate of Sweet Briar College, and a 1991 graduate of Emory University School of Law, in Atlanta. She was the Sweet Briar College commencement speaker for graduation exercises on May 16, 2015.
Georgene M. Vairo ’72
Vice Chair of the Board
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Santa Barbara, Calif.
Georgene M. Vairo has been the David P. Leonard Professor of Law, Loyola of Los Angeles Law School, since 1995. Concurrently, since 2007, she has served as 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 (appointed by Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia), 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.
Vairo graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1972 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumna award in 1997. In 1975 she 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.
CeCelia E. Valentine ’95
E | email@example.com
H | Phoenix, Ariz.
CeCelia Valentine is assistant public defender for Maricopa County, Ariz., since 2013. Previously she was assistant public defender for Harris County, Texas, from 2011 to 2013, and Pima County, Ariz., from 2005 to 2011.
Valentine graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1995, and South Texas College of Law in 2001. She was law clerk for the Honorable Raner Collins, U.S. District Court of Arizona, from 2003 to 2005, and from 2001 to 2003 was law clerk for the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
Elinor “El” H. Warner ’85
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Easton, Pa.
El Warner has broad expertise and proven success in marketing, branding, business development and targeted media outreach. She was a national marketing director for several nonprofits, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is currently chief marketing officer of Three Wire Systems LLC.
Warner is a 1985 graduate of Sweet Briar College, where she served as editor of the Sweet Briar News and was Student Government Association president. She earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature from the University of Virginia. Before her career in marketing communications, she taught English literature at William & Mary and at Lafayette College. Elected to the Easton City Council in 2007, she was Easton’s vice mayor from 2010 to 2014.
President of the College
E | email@example.com
H | Sweet Briar, Va.
Meredith Woo is president of Sweet Briar College. Formerly, she was director of the Global Higher Education Program for the Open Society Foundations, based in London, where her program supported more than 50 colleges and universities over the past 20 years, mostly in the former Soviet bloc countries.
Woo previously served as the University of Virginia’s dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; held appointments at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Northwestern University; and consulted with the World Bank, the U.S. Trade Representative, Asian Development Bank and the MacArthur Foundation.
An expert on international political economy and East Asian politics, Woo has written and edited seven books, and was the executive producer of an award-winning documentary film, “Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People,” about Joseph Stalin’s ethnic cleansing of Koreans living in Far Eastern Russia during the Great Terror.
A native of Seoul who was educated in Seoul and Tokyo through high school, Woo came to the United States to study at Bowdoin College in Maine. She completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in international affairs, Latin American studies and political science at Columbia University.
Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D. ’68
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
H | Atlanta, Ga.
Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., is a developmental pediatrician and works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Sweet Briar College in 1968, received her medical degree from Emory University in 1972 and is board-certified in pediatrics and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She served on the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors from 1981 to 1989 and received the Sweet Briar Distinguished Alumna Award in 1992. She holds a faculty appointment in the Emory University Department of Pediatrics; publishes extensively on the epidemiology of developmental disabilities; and speaks to audiences across the country and internationally about CDC’s work. She remains committed to making an impact on the lives of children, no matter their level of ability, and maintained her clinical experience by serving as the medical director of the Clayton Early Intervention Program in metropolitan Atlanta from 1985 to 2013.
Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp lives in Atlanta with her husband, Ralph. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her children and grandchildren and volunteers with several community service organizations in Atlanta.