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!