This year, Reunion was twice the fun as we celebrated two sets of class years that marked milestone reunions since graduating (5th, 10th, 15th, etc.). Due to the pandemic, Reunion 2020 was postponed, and so classes ending in 0s and 5s joined the 1s and 6s for special events during the extended weekend.
It was perfect Virginia summer weather and the campus looked amazing, as usual. After having gone through 2020, it was especially sweet to welcome our alumnae and their families back to campus, and watch everything come alive. The traditional white tents with pink and green lights were set up in the Quad to welcome everyone’s arrival with a reception.
The traditional “Welcome Home” picnic in the Quad served up delicious food and drinks for everyone, and desserts in the greenhouse were a special evening treat! Behind-the-scenes tours of our agricultural enterprises began right away, along with tours of the newly renovated stables. Many people also took advantage of golfing at Poplar Grove and nature walks with Prof. Linda Fink. Alumnae also got to see the new health center, meet the president’s cabinet, tour Sweet Briar House and enjoy a special wine tasting with Pippin Hill.
Throughout the weekend, the tours continued while alumnae and their families explored campus and visited all their favorite spots. The Classes of 1970 and 1971 celebrated their 50th Reunion with a dinner in the Cochran Library. The Classes of 1995 and 1996 celebrated their 25th Reunion with a picnic at the Boathouse.
Then, of course, there was the Dell Party on Friday evening and the big dinner and dancing event in Prothro on Saturday night. The food, music and dancing lived up to their reputation!
During Convocation on Saturday morning, President Woo presented the Distinguished and Outstanding Alumnae Awards. The award was created to honor alumnae who have brought distinction to themselves and to Sweet Briar through outstanding accomplishment in a volunteer or professional capacity.
The 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award is Lucy Martin Gianino ’60. Lucy excelled in drama at Sweet Briar, as well as in giving her time and energy to activities like the Briar Patch, theatre and serving as junior class president. She pursued an acting career that has seen her on television, film and the New York Theater. When she’s not in front of the camera, she’s a busy New York realtor. Lucy also gives back to her community, working with mental health organizations and substance abuse programs in her local area.
The 2021 Distinguished Alumna Award goes to a truly entrepreneurial businesswoman, who has also performed humanitarian feats that have taken care of people and animals through disaster response: Nan Stuart ’75. Nan is a founder of Code 3 Associates, a non-profit dedicated to providing professional training for first responders and emergency assistance to pets and livestock affected by natural disasters.
The Outstanding Alumna Award was created to honor alumnae in recognition of their outstanding service to Sweet Briar in a volunteer capacity. The 2021 Outstanding Alumna Award was actually presented to three women this year, who make up part of the Sweet Work Weeks “Dream Team:” Ann Gateley ’70, Kathy Garcia Pegues ’71 and Vikki Schroeder ’87. These three have devoted countless hours to weeding, pruning, painting, power washing and myriad other tasks during seven years of Sweet Work Weeks.
After Sweet Briar, Ann attended medical school in New Mexico and went on to be a sports medicine specialist, team doctor for the University of New Mexico and internal medicine program director. She also is an author and has accumulated more than 44 years experience in the medical field.
Kathy was an English teacher, educational consultant and taught language arts in grades six through 12 for more than 20 years. Kathy is also listed in “Who’s Who in American Education.” Prior to teaching, Kathy was a proofreader for the National Geographic Society. She has served as an emerita trustee and is a former member of Sweet Briar’s Board of Directors. She was also president of the Alumnae Association.
After Vikki graduated, she went on to work for Target and was a senior supervisor and business analyst, overseeing energy management processes and programs. She was also a senior business analyst for the J&B Group and is currently working as a strategic analyst and inventory manager for a startup retail clothing business with another Sweet Briar alumna.
We are truly grateful to Ann, Kathy, and Vikki for their leadership and advice with Sweet Work Weeks. These truly are three outstanding Sweet Briar women!