Meredith Woo was inaugurated as president of Sweet Briar College in fall 2017. Before joining Sweet Briar, she was the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.
Between her service at Sweet Briar and UVA, she directed the global program for higher education on behalf of the Open Society Foundations from its offices in London and Budapest. In that capacity, she created opportunities for university-level education for refugees, mainly Syrians in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. She also helped young Rohingya women receive a college education at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh.
She was also a divisional dean for the social sciences and professor of political science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Before that, she was an assistant and associate professor of political science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
An expert on international political economy and East Asian politics, President Woo has written and edited seven books. The first of the seven books is Race to the Swift: State and Finance in Korean Industrialization, her dissertation at Columbia University for which she received the highest distinction from the University. The most recent is Something New Under the Sun, a collection of essays about liberal arts education.
She 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. The film won the Best Documentary Award from the National Film Board of Canada.
A native of Seoul, President Woo attended high school in Tokyo and came to the United States to study at Bowdoin College in Maine. She completed her master’s degrees in international affairs and Latin American studies and a doctoral degree in political science at Columbia University.
President Woo serves on the board of the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Women’s College Coalition, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, as well as the council of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, Va. She is also a trustee of the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.