Former UVa Dean Is Named Sweet Briar’s First Permanent President Since It Nearly Closed

Sweet Briar College on Monday announced the appointment of its first permanent president since the Virginia institution almost closed, in 2015.

According to a news release from Sweet Briar, Meredith Woo will take over as president after most recently working on a program in London that opened liberal-arts colleges in the former Soviet bloc. She previously served as dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.

Her appointment ends a period of uncertainty after Sweet Briar first announced it was closing, but then agreed to stay open after an outcry by alumnae. Officials who had voted to shut down the college because of insufficient revenue and falling enrollment also agreed to step down. Phillip C. Stone, a former president at Bridgewater College, also in Virginia, served as president during a transitional period.

“Educating women is like educating generations,” Ms. Woo said in the college’s news release. “Around the world, I have seen the demand for superior women’s education and the demand for the graduates of those institutions. Here at Sweet Briar, we have a real opportunity to recast the significance of single-sex higher education in today’s world, and I’m excited to be a part of that effort.”

Ms. Woo will begin her transition to be president on April 3 and will officially take office on May 15.

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