Last Thursday, President Parker treated the Phonathon callers to a celebratory tea party at Sweet Briar House for not only reaching, but exceeding their goal of $275,00 in gifts and pledges from alumnae, parents, and friends of the College. Not only was the food delicious, but President Parker was kind enough to give us a tour of Sweet Briar House, as well as the guest bedroom where some of Daisy’s furniture is kept. (We even had a wonderful discussion about Sweet Briar’s architecture!) But Phonathon isn’t all about talking on the phone or celebrating with parties. It is actually one of the most prestigious leadership positions and jobs on campus.Phonathon provides its student employees with so many wonderful lessons and opportunities. Not only does it give the callers a chance to improve their communication skills and learn how to interact with all kinds of people, but it gives them so many incredible networking opportunities. “Phonathon is fun, and it is very important work, but there is a side of it that repeatedly put me in situations in which I needed to be able to respond to unexpected remarks with grace. My interpersonal skills, especially through the challenging forum of over-the-phone, have increased exponentially, and while doing so, have allowed me to have wonderful conversations with so many amazing women,” said Caroline Ladson, ‘15, a second semester caller.
While current callers love their jobs now, those who worked for Phonathon in the past still reminisce about their time spent helping to raise money for the Annual Fund. Jenny Young, ‘11, a Phonathon caller for four years at Sweet Briar, now receives calls from a new group of students. “Hearing from students through Phonathon not only gives me the opportunity to speak with them about their experiences, but it is also a reminder of why I give my financial gifts and gifts of time and talent to Sweet Briar. As givers and volunteers, everything we do for Sweet Briar is for the students. Hearing that students are having the same experiences I had is a reminder that everything I am doing is important and that Sweet Briar is continuing to make an incredible impact on young women’s lives.”
Aside from all of this, 2012 has been one of Phonathon’s best years yet! Our 1,517 donors have supported the Annual Fund with well over $300,000. This money will go to every aspect of the Sweet Briar lifestyle, from financial aid to athletics. Thank you for not only picking up your phones and speaking to us, but willingly giving to the Annual Fund. Because of You, Phonathon, and the money which it receives, will help Sweet Briar for years to come.
Sweet Briar enrolled its first engineering degree candidates in 2005, making us the second women’s college in the country to have an engineering department. Just four years later, Margaret Jones Wyllie, ’45, helped the College expand the program. When Peggy, as she is known to her friends and family, was a student at Sweet Briar, she wanted to be an engineer like her father. Though she had the potential, the classes were not offered. “Women were not trusted to be engineers,” she told Virginia Business in a 2010 interview. “Those who did get degrees couldn’t get jobs.” Hoping to give a new generation of women the opportunities unavailable to her, Mrs. Wyllie generously gifted the fledgling program three million dollars.
Times have changed in just seven years! Sweet Briar now offers a B.S. in Engineering Science and a B.A. in Engineering Management. The College’s Wyllie Engineering Program provides each student with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed, whether that be in a premiere graduate program or straight into a successful engineering firm. These young women leave Sweet Briar with a commitment to innovation through technology. With 80 credit hours required to graduate, it’s easy to see that students would have to be committed to this very technical field. Additionally, Mrs. Wyllie’s gift provided the funds for a scholarship. The Wyllie Scholarship provides $5,000 a year to a young woman with a strong academic record and interest in engineering.
“I love the fact that our professors are so hands-on in our classrooms. Having a professor who is willing to sit there and help you get through a difficult problem really is one of the beauties of going to Sweet Briar,” explained Caroline Baker, ’15.
Mrs. Wyllie’s gift is greatly appreciated not only by the entire engineering department but by the entire Sweet Briar community. All of our academic programs are possible Because of You! Go to sbc.edu/gift today and help make our already wonderful academics even better!
Sweet Briar College’s Board of Directors met on campus the second weekend of February to discuss two very important topics: approving the library renovation plan and a policy change. The library renovation plans are so exciting for current students, perspectives and even alumnae. Expanding the library will open up a whole new level of academic study for current students who will soon have the latest technology along with state-of-the-art study facilities and new seminar rooms at their disposal. Currently, finding study space in the library often turns into a battle of marked space and who can get there first, I believe this expansion will change the way Sweet Briar students study and it, along with the new ARC facilities, will give future students all the tools they could possibly need for academic success! The second topic of discussion, a policy change regarding endowment spending, is especially important to give restricted funds the best possible opportunity to grow. We all love Sweet Briar and want to see it stay around for many lifetimes to come and this policy change is one way we can ensure funds are benefiting the College as much as possible!
Other good news shared included Sweet Briar’s outstanding presence on Facebook – we have had such a great response with this and it paid off! We now have more likes on Facebook than any other all women’s college (and we are one of the smallest!) I think this is a great example of how strong our Sweet Briar College network is! Sweet Briar also received five CASE awards this year for our marketing material which may be the reason for our increase in applications this year!
Lastly, the landscaping around the Fitness and Athletics Center is currently underway, made possible through a special gift from the Board of Directors honoring Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Upchurch Coller `72. I am especially excited to see it flourish this spring just in time for graduation!
The hallmark of almost any college campus is its library, and the case is no different at Sweet Briar. When Meta Glass became the third president of the College, she initiated a building program, hoping to construct a library, an auditorium, and a gymnasium. President Glass considered a new library to be the most important aspect of the 1928 Development Plan. (The old library still stands on campus today! After being moved to a new foundation on Elijah Road, it was the main building of the music department. It now serves as both faculty housing and storage and is playfully referred to as “The Music Box.”) In October of 1929, construction began on a new library, thanks to the generous donation of Fergus Reid in memory of his mother, Mary Helen Cochran. Ralph Adams Cram was called in as the head architect once again, and his project became the most decorative and ornamental building on campus. While our library remains one of the most structurally interesting in America, there is always room for improvement, and because of this, a generous group of donors has been raising money for library renovations since the 1980s.
The layout of the library will be changing for the better! There will be additions on the left (behind Fletcher) and in the back. We will also be adding two handicapped accessible entrances so that all students have the opportunity to utilize the upgrades. While our library’s main floor is spacious, there is little room elsewhere for classes or private study. Because of this, the new architects plan to include individual and group study rooms, seminar classrooms, and both formal and informal gathering spaces for community-wide events. Other plans include high-density book storage, an eating area and all sorts of new electronic devices.
These plans are definitely exciting for everyone on campus. The renovations are expected to be completed in time for the fall semester of 2014 – just in time for the beginning of my senior year! I am so excited (and very fortunate) to see how these changes pan out, and all of them are Because of You! Your gifts to the Annual Fund are what help keep our campus beautiful and expand our resources. Make your gift online today at sbc.edu/giving to support our unique architecture!
It is hard to believe that we are starting our fourth full week of school and our second week back at Phonathon! Phonathon is not only your chance as Alumnae to reconnect with students and hear about their experiences on campus and the new things that are going on here, but it is also one of the best leadership positions available for a Sweet Briar student. Erin Whiteman is a First Year Phonathon caller who also works in the Development office here on campus, see how Phonathon has made her a stronger leader and influenced her first year at Sweet Briar…
“I am Erin Whiteman, Class of 2015, and I am so excited to be a part of the Because of You blog this semester! In the six months I have been a Sweet Briar student, I grew to consider Sweet Briar my real home. Between academics, co-curricular activities and my work for the Annual Fund office, as a student assistant and a Phonathon caller, I am always busy.
Each week, I, along with 65 other students, call alumnae, parents and friends of the College. Some consider Phonathon just another on-campus job, but I see it as a privilege. It is a position that gives me the opportunity to converse with incredible women all over the country. Our alumnae are wonderful. Not only are they a pleasure to talk to, but it is evident that they love Sweet Briar. Phonathon provides me with truly unique leadership and business skills that I may not have gained in any class, other on-campus job or leadership position on campus.
Sweet Briar has given me so much in only one semester that I think it’s time to start giving back now, not only of myself, but also by encouraging others to give to the Annual Fund as well. Because of you, my Sweet Briar education is possible.”
As we welcome the new year, it is always helpful to look back and remember some of the great times that were had. One of Sweet Briar’s highlights of 2011 was our first combined Homecoming and Parents Weekend! The weekend was a huge success and we welcomed back over 150 Alumnae, 175 Parents and Family Members and over 100 Faculty and Staff. One of the top events of the weekend, along with the Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta and guest lecture by Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter to the owner of immortal thoroughbread racing legend Secretariat, was the Annual Fund Volunteer Training. Alumnae volunteers of all ages came together with faculty, staff, students and current parents to celebrate their commitment to Sweet Briar and share their special stories of involvement!
Start your new year off right by refreshing your VolunteerTraining and remembering the important role the Annual Fund plays in keeping the Sweet Briar we know and love alive! Listen to the words of our outstanding Alumnae volunteers and let them remind you the importance of philanthropy TODAY!
Volunteer Training Part 1 – Sally Old Kitchin `76
Volunteer Training Part 2 – Nannette McBurney Crowdus `57
Volunteer Training Part 3 – Wendy Hansbrough PAR `13
Volunteer Training Part 4 – Jane Reeb Short `74
“I am Jane Reeb Short, class of 1974, and I have the great honor of serving as the chair of the Boxwood Circle Society. I was reminded, as I was driving over here from Norfolk, why I volunteer and why I accepted this role of chairing the support committee. As you turn off route 64 and onto route 29 the landscape changes pretty drastically, once you get south of Charlottesville you see the little wisps of fog on the side of the hills and the road curves and as you get closer and closer you get more and more excited and you just get this sense of anticipation and you turn into that drive and start holding your breath. You go up the drive and you see the dell and you see the chapel and you just understand why you have to volunteer. You walk around campus and you see all the fantastic women who look just like all my friends when I was here and I still feel like I’m 20 years old. Its that connection, that bridge between the generations that there is nothing else like. It is so worth preserving and enhancing and growing. I have three adorable granddaughters who I am just so in love with and I cant wait to bring them to this campus and hope that at least one or more of them will have the same kind of experience I had. That’s why I volunteer because I want Sweet Briar to be here when I turn 70, when I turn 80, when I can sit on that traditions panel and tell my stories of when I was a student here. So thank all of you for volunteering and encouraging others to volunteer so that we can make this wonderful college sustain forever.”
Volunteer Training Part 5 – Vivian Yamaguchi Cohn `77
Volunteer Training Part 6 – Amy Leigh Campbell `97
Volunteer Training Part 7 – Virginia “Ginny” Moncure `08
“Hello, I am Ginny Moncure, class of 2008, and I am the Co-chair for the Young Alumnae Giving Program. It is my pleasure to be here today. One of the important reasons why I keep coming back to Sweet Briar and why I get involved is the leadership skills Sweet Briar taught me while I was here. Much like Wendy’s description of her daughter finding her voice at Sweet Briar, I found my voice through my professors and through my friends. They made me feel so good, so smart, perfect at everything I did, which I am far from, but they were always there encouraging and that put so much confidence in me that I could go out in the world and do anything I wanted to do. That’s why I keep coming back to Sweet Briar, that’s why I call my classmates, and that’s why I call young Alumna, so they know that every gift they make is important, that every time they come back to Sweet Briar it is important and that we open our arms to them and appreciate anything they can do for us. Thank you so much!”
“Because of You…” is a way to give back to YOU, the people who make Sweet Briar what it is today. Sweet Briar relies so heavily on its outstanding Alumnae Donors and Volunteers and this is a way to show how grateful we are for YOUR support and how YOUR gifts to the Annual Fund make a difference TODAY! Your gifts to the Annual Fund make my experience at Sweet Briar one of privilege. I, as a Sweet Briar student, am so grateful for YOUR gifts to the Annual Fund and “Because of You” will help showcase YOU and how YOUR gifts go to work today to keep this campus alive!