Saving Sweet Briar Will Deliver $2.5 Million to Sweet Briar College Ahead of Schedule

by vixenSBC

Richmond, VA – Saving Sweet Briar, Inc., the non-profit group formed to save Sweet Briar College, announced today that it has collected over $2.5 million in alumnae donations and will make its first required payment to Sweet Briar College ahead of schedule.

“We are very pleased that Saving Sweet Briar has reached the first critical threshold outlined in the settlement agreement,” said Sarah Clement, Chair of Saving Sweet Briar (Sweet Briar College, AB 1975; University of Virginia School of Law, JD 1984). “We will deliver $2.5 million to the college ahead of schedule and we can confidently report, given the pace at which alumnae are delivering on the pledges they made to save our college, that we are well on our way to meeting the next threshold of $6 million by August 2 with the full $12 million to be provided in early September.”

The delivery of the $2.5 million payment to the college will satisfy the last remaining condition for the leadership change stipulated in the settlement agreement. The resignations by the outgoing Board of Directors will become effective at 4:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, and a meeting of the new Board of Directors is scheduled to take place that same day at 5 p.m. During this meeting, the new Board is expected to appoint Phillip Stone as president of the college. Stone will then be able to accelerate the work of securing the college’s future that has already been underway since the settlement agreement was announced. This work will include encouraging current students to return and recruiting freshmen to begin their college careers at Sweet Briar College.

The incoming President continued transition efforts today, announcing his intention to provide returning students the same level of financial aid from the college that they received last year. Stone also pledged an expedited review of financial aid applications from accepted freshmen who did not submit financial aid requests to Sweet Briar College once the closure plans were announced on March 3.

“I recognize that financial aid concerns are a major factor for former students deciding whether to return and incoming freshmen deciding whether to reconsider attending other schools,” said Stone. “By committing to honor past financial aid awards and expediting the review of financial aid applications for freshmen that had committed to attending Sweet Briar, I hope we can provide the assurance our students need to come home to Sweet Briar.”

Given the timing of the March 3 announcement that the college would close, it is likely that many incoming freshmen did not elect to send their FAFSA documents to Sweet Briar College. This was a key step that would have enabled the college to determine the financial aid it could provide to incoming freshmen. Stone urged freshmen who had previously committed to attending Sweet Briar to reconsider any plans they made to attend other schools and to update their FAFSA information so that it can be sent to Sweet Briar College.

Today’s announcement adds more detail to the transition plans the incoming president has been providing in recent days. Earlier in the week, Stone noted in a statement issued by Saving Sweet Briar that, while not able to act in an official capacity until he is appointed president by the board, “I do want people to know that I am very actively engaged in transition activities. As part of this process, I am having a number of important conversations with incoming board members, faculty and others.”

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Saving Sweet Briar Timeline

March 3, 2015 - Sweet Briar College announces Spring 2015 will be final semester, school will close on August 25, 2015.

March 3, 2015 - Sweet Briar College alumnae galvanize on Facebook, creating working groups to work to halt closure.

March 4, 2015 - launches in the early morning hours. Website begins accepting pledges midday.

March 6, 2015 - pledges exceed $1 million (with additional unconfirmed $1 million pledge that will later be confirmed).

March 6, 2015 - Troutman Sanders retained to fight closure. Read More

March 9, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. formally incorporated as a non-profit with seven alumnae appointed to serve as board members. Read More

March 11, 2015 - Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen sends letter to state Attorney General regarding the legality of closing the college. Read More

March 11, 2015 - Sweet Briar faculty join alumnae in fight to keep college open. Read More

March 18, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. begins accepting donations in the fight to save the college.

March 23, 2015 - Troutman Sanders sends letter requesting President and Board resign. Read More

March 26, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. hires Certified Fraud Examiner. Read More

March 30, 2015 - Amherst County Attorney, Ellen Bowyer, files suit against Sweet Briar College.

April 6, 2015 - Initial Financial Analysis concludes financial condition did not warrant closure Read More

April 12, 2015 - $5 million pledged to Saving Sweet Briar.

April 13, 2015 - Amherst Mayor sends letter opposing closure. Read More

April 15, 2015 - Judge Updike issues a 60 day injunction preventing the college from using funds solicited to operate the college to close it.

April 23, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. launches Alumnae Angels program to help students with financial concerns during transition and uncertainty.

April 29, 2015 - Judge Updike issues another injunction in one of the other legal cases preventing the college from selling assets for six months.

April 29, 2015 - Amherst County Attorney files Petition to Review with Virginia Supreme Court.

May 19, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. granted 501(c)(3) status, with tax exempt status applying to all donations made from the incorporation date of March 9, 2015.

June 9, 2015 - Virginia Supreme Court rules that Sweet Briar College can be a trust.

June 19, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. announces $21 million total pledged over 5 years.

June 20, 2015 - Settlement reached, keeping Sweet Briar College open. Settlement terms include 3 payments to college with the first $2.5 million due on July 2.

June 23, 2015 - Amherst CountyBoard of Supervisors names Sweet Briar Day.

June 30, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. delivers $5 million ahead of schedule to Sweet Briar College.

July 2, 2015 - President Stone assumes new position, new Board of Directors appointed.

September 2, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. delivers final settlement payment to Sweet Briar College, exceeding $12 million total.