Meredith Woo was inaugurated as president of Sweet Briar College in fall 2017. Prior to joining Sweet Briar, she was the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. During her term as dean, she restructured the College’s 25 graduate programs, allocating resources based on performance; augmented scholarships and fellowships; and raised a total of $260 million for the school. She also directed the International Higher Education Program for the Open Society Foundations from its offices in London and Budapest, supporting university-level education for refugee populations, particularly Syrians in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as the Rohingya population dispersed in Bangladesh, Myanmar and elsewhere.
She was also professor of political science and divisional dean for the social sciences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and 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, 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. The film won the Best Documentary Award from the National Film Board of Canada.
A native of Seoul who was educated in Seoul and Tokyo, President Woo 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, 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.