Board of Directors

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.

Andrew C. Benjamin

Vice Chair of the Board

Andrew BenjaminH | Leesburg, Va.
Joined BOD | July 2, 2015

Andrew Benjamin has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. As operations manager for Card Establishment Services 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. He then co-founded Merlin Solutions and was the chief operations officer. 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.

In 2015, Benjamin became part of the parent/student case litigating against the former Sweet Briar board that had voted to close the College. This legal action led to a six-month injunction that barred the board from selling College assets. Thanks in part to Benjamin’s tenacity, Sweet Briar stayed open. Three years later, his daughter, Makayla, was able to graduate with the Class of 2018. This spring, she was presented with the USEF/Cacchione Cup for the most outstanding hunter seat collegiate rider in the nation. This is the first time in the College’s history that a Sweet Briar rider has received this honor. From 2014 to 2018, Benjamin enthusiastically supported Sweet Briar’s IHSA, ANRC and NCEA teams at competitions. His enthusiasm continues, in the hope that someday his granddaughter(s) will be able to attend Sweet Briar.

Scheline Crutchfield

Scheline CrutchfieldH | Charlottesville, Va.
Joined BOD | April 26, 2019

A Virginia native, Scheline Crutchfield enjoyed more than 20 years in the financial services industry before pursuing her lifelong passion for art. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1986 with a B.A. in American government, Crutchfield worked for Chemical Bank in New York in wealth management, commercial banking, the Office of the President and capital markets. She later moved to Charlotte, N.C., to join the capital markets group of Nations Bank. Crutchfield eventually returned to Virginia in 2003 to work for Wachovia Bank. She became the market president for Charlottesville and the surrounding area before moving to wealth management, where she served as regional director for Western Virginia, overseeing teams in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Roanoke.

Crutchfield now combines her business and art skills as the owner of Sleepy Dog Studio. She’s a passionate community volunteer and has served on many boards, including the Charlottesville Free Clinic, Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, Ash Lawn Opera, Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, Emily Couric Leadership Forum, Piedmont Virginia Community College Foundation and the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation. Crutchfield and her husband, Bill, live in Charlottesville.

Alice Dixon ’82

H | Richmond, Va.
Joined BOD | July 2, 2015

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. More recently, she taught chemistry and coached field hockey and lacrosse for six years at Collegiate School in Richmond. Dixon 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.

Marianne “Mimi” C. Fahs ’71

Secretary of the Board

Marianne FahsH | New York, N.Y.
Joined BOD | July 2, 2015

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

Kelley FitzpatrickH | Mountain Brook, Ala.
Joined BOD | July 2, 2015

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

Carol McMurtry FowlerH | Austin, Texas
Joined BOD | Oct. 13, 2015

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.”

Sally Mott Freeman ’76

H | Bethesda, Md.
Joined BOD | April 14, 2018

Sally Mott Freeman, author of the current bestselling book “The Jersey Brothers,” is an accomplished speechwriter, public relations executive and nonprofit leader of more than 30 years. Her book is a critically acclaimed Smithsonian top history book of 2017 and an Amazon Best Book of 2017 in both the History and Memoir categories. After penning speeches for an FCC commissioner and later its chairman, Mott became FCC’s spokesperson and news media division chief following the court-ordered breakup of AT&T. She was also a vice president for telecommunications at FleishmanHillard, a global public relations firm, as well as communications vice president for two technology trade associations. After four terms as chair of The Writer’s Center, the premier independent literary center in the Mid-Atlantic, Mott is now Board Chair Emerita. She also has served on the boards of Washington Shakespeare Company, American Diabetes Association, The Washington Tennis Foundation, Saving Sweet Briar Inc., St. Anne’s-Belfield School and the Sweet Briar College Alumnae Alliance. She is a member of the Monticello Cabinet.

Mott graduated from Charlottesville’s St. Anne’s-Belfield School, which honored her with its 2017 Distinguished Alumna Award, and from Sweet Briar College (English literature), which honored her with its 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award.

Lendon Gray ’71

H | Bedford, N.Y.
Joined BOD | April 12, 2019

Lendon Gray was in the Sweet Briar College Class of 1971, majoring in Greek and Latin. While at Sweet Briar, she was active in the riding program and taught riding there for 3 1/2 years after graduation. A few years after college, she started to specialize in dressage, made two Olympic teams and represented the U.S. internationally for many years. For over 45 years she ran successful training stables in Maine, New York and Florida. She became very active in the U.S. Dressage Federation, where she chaired many committees geared toward education, and was a founding examiner for Instructor Certification. She was on the board of directors of the U.S . Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Pony Clubs, also serving on various committees. She is now on the board of the USA Equestrian Trust, is secretary of The Dressage Foundation’s Board, and is president of Dressage4kids Inc., an organization she started 22 years ago, and which is now recognized internationally as a top program for educating young people in dressage. Gray has been inducted into Sweet Briar’s Athletics Hall of Fame, the Maine Sports Hall of Hall and the U.S. Dressage Federation Hall of Fame, was honored as the American Riding Instructor Association Master Instructor, a USPC Legend and an EquineAffaire Exceptional Equine Educator, and received a Pony Club Master Achievement Award.

Fred “Buzzy” Griffin

H | Houston, Texas
Joined BOD | April 14, 2018

Buzzy Griffin, former chairman of Space Center Houston, is a successful real estate developer from Houston, Texas. He met his wife, Betsy Pearson Griffin ’62, at Sweet Briar College. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Texas. Thereafter, he was hired by the Friendswood Development Company, a subsidiary of Exxon, where he began his career in real estate. He played a key role in the purchase, planning and development of Kingwood, Woodlake, Greenspoint, Copperfield, Clear Lake City and other substantial projects throughout the greater Houston area. In 1980, Griffin left Exxon to form Griffin Partners, a full service real estate development company. Through the years, the company and its related affiliates have built or acquired projects encompassing approximately 11.2 million square feet of space with an aggregate value of $2 billion.

Griffin continues to serve on the board of directors for Space Center Houston as well as Houston Grand Opera, Central Houston and the Bay Area Economic Partnership.

Karen Jackson

Executive Committee Member at Large

Karen JacksonH | Poquoson, Va.
Joined BOD | Feb. 23, 2018

Karen Jackson is the president of Apogee Strategic Partners, a Virginia consultancy helping companies and organizations address their most daunting challenges in cyber security, autonomous systems and smart communities. She formerly served as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s secretary of technology. Prior to that, she was the Commonwealth’s deputy secretary of technology and vice president of broadband programs at the Center for Innovative Technology. Jackson served as a senior advisor to Gov. Terry McAuliffe on technology matters including innovation, data analytics, telecommunications, cybersecurity, unmanned systems and smart communities. She also was responsible for overseeing Virginia’s IT infrastructure. Jackson has been actively engaged in federal policy initiatives, including the development of the National Broadband Plan. In 2009, she received an IP3 award from Public Knowledge for her work in information policy. She was named to Government Technology’s 2010 list of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers; to The Governing Institute Women in Government Leadership Program Class (2015); one of State Scoops’ GoldenGov State Executives of the Year (2016); and one of State Scoop’s Top Women in Technology (2017). Jackson and Gov. McAuliffe were jointly recognized as 2017 Difference Makers in Cyber Security by the SANS Institute, and her office received an Excellence in Government award from the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council.

Jackson has served on a number of boards, including the Center for Innovative Technology, the Virginia Research Investment Committee and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP). She also served as Gov. McAuliffe’s representative to the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and co-chaired Virginia’s Cyber Security Commission.

She holds a B.S. in business management from Christopher Newport University and an MBA from William & Mary.

Keenan Kelsey ’66

Keenan KelseyH | Larkspur, Calif.
Joined BOD | April 14, 2018

Keenan Kelsey was a Sweet Briar legacy student, daughter of Howell Lykes Colton ’38. Although officially retired as a Presbyterian pastor, she was named pastor emerita at Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco, Calif., and continues to preach and teach as needed. She is a strong advocate of single-sex education — having graduated from both Sweet Briar College and Emma Willard School — women’s empowerment and the liberal arts. Before ordination, she worked for a forestry magazine, as a Head Start teacher, a team member for the first Earth Day, an environmental educator and, for more than a decade, as the owner and manager of a bird shop in San Francisco.

An active volunteer, Kelsey has served on the board of Peoples Gas and currently serves on the Board of the Lark Theater. Kelsey has been a resident of Larkspur, Calif., for 20 years and enjoys having her two children and three grandchildren nearby.

Gillian Munson

Executive Committee Member at Large

Gillian MunsonH | New York, N.Y.
Joined BOD | Aug. 25, 2017

Gillian Munson is the chief financial officer of XO Group (The Knot, The Bump, The Nest, ticker XOXO). Munson joined XO Group in November 2013 from Allen & Company LLC, where she was managing director leading the firm’s principal investing and outreach activities with early-stage technology-oriented companies. Munson was also a vice president for business development at Symbol Technologies from 2003 to 2007, aiding in the company’s multibillion-dollar turnaround, M&A processes, strategy, and eventual sale and integration with Motorola. Prior, Munson was an executive director and senior equity analyst at Morgan Stanley, where she covered the mobile, storage and personal computing sectors. Munson began her career as a research associate at Hambrecht & Quist. She was previously a member of the board of directors of Munson and her family live in New York City.

Holly Philbin ’95

Holly PhilbinH | Dallas, Texas
Joined BOD | Aug. 10, 2018

A Sweet Briar College legacy student, Holly Philbin graduated cum laude in 1995 with a B.A. in environmental studies. Her grandmother Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, aunt Kay Yeager and cousins Elizabeth Yeager and Linda Yeager all attended Sweet Briar. Her aunt also served on the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors, as did her father, Mark Prothro, as well her grandfather Charles Prothro.

Following graduation from Sweet Briar, Philbin had a successful career in marketing. She is currently an active volunteer in her sons’ schools, having served as PTA president for their pre-schools and elementary schools. Following six years as a co-chair of the Mad for Plaid Campaign for the Highland Park ISD, she now serves as vice president for development of the Highland Park Education Foundation. Philbin is a board member of the Perkins Prothro Foundation in Wichita Falls, Texas. She has served on numerous boards and committees in her community, including Highland Park UMC and Southern Methodist University.

Philbin lives in Dallas with her husband, Phillip, and their three boys. In her free time, she enjoys travel, reading and photography.

Mason Bennett Rummel ’83

H | Louisville, Ky.
Joined BOD | Oct. 13, 2015

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.

Stephen P. Smiley

H | Dallas, Texas
Joined BOD | April 12, 2019

Stephen Smiley is the managing partner of Madison Lane Partners LLC, a private advisory firm in Dallas, Texas. Smiley was a member of the board of directors of, and an advisor to, Signature Family Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisor, from 2009 until the firm was sold in 2018. Headquartered in Norfolk, Signature serves high net-worth families and manages in excess of $4 billion.

From 1996 to 2010, Smiley was president of Hunt Private Equity Group Inc., the private investment group associated with the Ray L. Hunt family of Dallas. Prior to joining Hunt, Smiley was president of Cypress Capital Corporation, a private equity firm he co-founded in 1991. Smiley started his professional career working for Citicorp/Citigroup for 15 years in New York and Dallas in various corporate lending and private equity capacities. Smiley is the former chairman of the board of managers of the Alumni Association at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the board of directors of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the Arts Council at the university. He is also on the board of trustees of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.

He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1971 with a B.A. in English literature. Following college, Smiley served as a weapons officer in the U.S. Navy aboard a guided missile cruiser. He received an MBA from the College of William & Mary in 1976.

Smiley is married to the former Clara MacKenzie of Portsmouth. They have two married children and four grandchildren. His hobbies include golf, hunting, fishing and collecting outsider art.

Caville Stanbury-Woolery ’06

Caville Stanbury-WooleryH | Silver Spring, Md.
Joined BOD | Feb. 25, 2017

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.

Georgene M. Vairo ’72

Chair of the Board

Georgene VairoH | Santa Barbara, Calif.
Joined BOD | July 2, 2015

Georgene M. Vairo is the David P. Leonard Professor of Law Emerita at Loyola of Los Angeles Law School. She began her tenure there in 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.

Claude Becker Wasserstein ’82

Claude Becker WassersteinH | New York, N.Y.
Joined BOD | Feb. 23, 2018

Claude Becker Wasserstein ’82 is the founder and CEO of Fine Day Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in innovative and impactful technology, specifically fintech, medtech, aerospace, cybersecurity, AI and energy.

Born in France, Wasserstein is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and attended graduate school at the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. Prior to her investment career, Wasserstein was a producer for CBS News, where she worked in the network’s Dubai, Belfast, London and Paris bureaus. During her time at CBS News, she won an Emmy for an investigative series. Wasserstein began her career as a journalist for Newsweek, working out of the publication’s Paris bureau.

Wasserstein is a trustee of the King Hussein Cancer Center Foundation and the American Hospital in Paris Foundation, a member of the Metropolitan Museum International Council and the Brookings Institution, and a life trustee at WNET Channel 13. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and was recently awarded France’s Insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

She resides in New York City with her two sons and her niece Lucy, Sweet Briar College Class of 2022.

Meredith Woo

President of the College

Meredith WooH | Sweet Briar, Va.
Joined BOD | May 15, 2017

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

Executive Committee Member at Large

Marshalyn Yeargin-AllsoppH | Atlanta, Ga.
Joined BOD | Dec. 13, 2015

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.