Sweet Briar College

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Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar College Seal.png
Motto Rosam quae meruit ferat
Motto in English
She who has earned the rose may bear it
Established 1901
Type Private women's college
Endowment US $88.1 million1
President James F Jones Jr, Interim 2
Academic staff
Students 735
Undergraduates 724
Postgraduates 11
Location Sweet Briar, Virginia, USA
Campus Rural, 3,250 acres (13.15 km2)
Colors          Pink and Green
Athletics NCAA Division III, ODAC
Nickname Vixens
Website www.sbc.edu

Sweet Briar College is a liberal arts women's college in Sweet Briar, Virginia, United States, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Lynchburg, Virginia. The school's Latin motto translates as: "She who has earned the rose may bear it."

The college is on 3,250 acres (13,152,283 m2) donated by the founding family of Indiana Fletcher Williams. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


The school is named after the former Sweet Briar plantation, the former plantation of Elijah Fletcher and his family. Fletcher was a 19th-century teacher, businessman, and mayor of Lynchburg. His wife, Maria Crawford, is credited with naming the land Sweet Briar. By the mid-19th century, Fletcher had between 80 and 100 slaves at the plantation. After their emancipation in 1865, several continued to work for pay and live at Sweet Briar. On Elijah Fletcher's death, his daughter, Indiana, inherited the plantation.

When she died in 1900, she willed the land and much of her assets to starting a college for women, as her daughter Daisy had died at 16 and, therefore, never had a chance to attend college.


Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar College Historic District
Sweet Briar College is located in Virginia
Sweet Briar College
Location Sweet Briar Dr., .5 miles west of US 29, Amherst, Virginia
Coordinates 37°33′20″N 79°4′50″W / 37.55556°N 79.08056°W / 37.55556; -79.08056Coordinates: 37°33′20″N 79°4′50″W / 37.55556°N 79.08056°W / 37.55556; -79.08056
Area 27.2 acres (11.0 ha)
Architect Ralph Adams Cram; et al.
Architectural style Colonial Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 950002403
VLR # 005-0219
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 30, 1995
Designated VLR January 15, 19954

The campus is situated on 3,250 acres (13 km2) in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The college's architecture is dominated by the work of Ralph Adams Cram, who also lent his architectural expertise to the campuses of Princeton University and West Point, among others. The campus property also includes the Sweet Briar plantation burial ground, in which upwards of sixty slaves are buried; according to some, an authentic slave cabin remains on the land, but this is probably not the case as the cabin does not follow building techniques associated with cabins of the day. The techniques used actually reflect modern techniques and may simply be an early reproduction. Archaeologists have uncovered many slave artifacts. Twenty-one of the thirty buildings on campus were designated as the "Sweet Briar College Historic District" by the National Register of Historic Places. Also listed is Sweet Briar House.356


The school functions on a semester system,7 and operates 50 undergraduate courses of study as well as 3 pre-professional programs: Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine and Pre-Veterinary and two graduate degrees. Both programs are co-ed and in the field of education.

  • Sweet Briar College is the second women's college to offer an engineering degree.
  • Sweet Briar College offers several abroad programs to its students, the two largest being Junior Year in France and Junior Year in Spain.

Campus life

Sweet Briar is a residential campus, and nearly all students live on campus during their time at SBC. 8 There are 7 standard dormitories, and more independent living available in the Green Village and Patteson House, available to upperclasswomen. The school has over fifty clubs and organizations.


Sports teams are known as the Vixens. Sweet Briar is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Sweet Briar has 7 Varsity Sports: Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming,and Tennis. Sweet Briar also has Fencing as a club sport.

Students also participate in recreational sports through the Sweet Briar Outdoor Program (SWEBOP). SWEBOP organizes many trips throughout the year including hiking, fly fishing, caving, rock climbing and weekly kayaking and skiing.9


The school operates a horseback riding program,10 which focuses on show and field hunters, huntseat equitation, and show jumping. The school has 7 riding teams. These include a jumper team, hunter show team, JV hunter show team, Affiliated National Riding Commission (ANRC) team, field team, and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team. As part of its program, students can study for an Equine Studies Certificate with a focus in either training or equine management.10

ANRC Accolades include 9 ANRC Team national championship titles (1978, 1979, 1980, 1986, 198, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1999),11 and 10 ANRC Team reserve national championships titles (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005). Sweet Briar students have been individual national champions nine times (1978- Jamie Plank, 1979- Jamie Plank, 1980- Kathy Tayleor, 1981- Jamie Plank, 1986- Pam Ward, 1987- Gail Phillips, 1988- Pam Ward, 2000- Jen Lampton, and 2004- Karen Dennehy).12 Sweet Briar students have been individual reserve ANRC national champions seven times (1980- Pam Kobrock, 1985- Laurie Woolverton, 1986- Georgianna Congers, 1989- Pam Ward, 1990- Kerstin Chrisman, 2001- Cara Meade).

IHSA In 2006,13 Sweet Briar's IHSA team won their region (Zone 4, Region 1), and placed second at Zones, qualifying them for the Nationals Competition. The team placed third overall, with Jodie Weber '06 claiming a fourth overall in the Cacchione Cup competition. Weber also claimed the Open Over Fences Championship that catapulted the team into the third place position. In 2008,14 Sweet Briar IHSA won their region again, and proceeded to Nationals, where team members collected individual ribbons.15

Equestrian center features include:

  • 130-acre on-campus riding center
  • 10 large fields ranging from 3 to 25 acres
  • More than 18 miles of trails through wooded countryside, foothills, dells and open fields
  • One of the largest indoor college arenas in the nation, measuring 120 feet x 300 feet
  • Three spacious outdoor rings, along with an enclosed lunging ring
  • More than seven teaching and schooling fields
  • Hunter trials course
  • Fence lines with coops
  • Complete inventory of hunter-jumper fences suitable for USEF competitions
  • Veterinarians on call
  • Twice-weekly farrier visits
  • Frequent equine chiropractor appointments
  • Biannual equine dentist visits


Sweet Briar has continually ranked high across the board by several organizations.

  • The Washington Post listed Sweet Briar as #2 for Colleges that study.
  • Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges": in 2010, ranked No. 8 for "Best Career Services," No 11 for "Class Discussions Encouraged," No. 6 for "Most Beautiful Campus," No. 4 for "Professors Get High Marks," No. 3 for "Most Accessible Professors," and No. 8 for "Best Classroom Experience," making Sweet Briar the only college in the nation to appear on all four academic top-20 lists.
  • In 2009, Forbes rated it 69th of America's Best Colleges.16
  • In 2009-10, Princeton Review gave SBC an academic ranking of 99, a perfect score.
  • In 2004, Princeton Review gave SBC an academic ranking of 99, a perfect score.17
  • U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" ratings, out of 100 top liberal arts colleges: in 2006, 71st;18 in 2005, 68th;19 in 2004, 63rd.20
  • Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges": in 2008, ranked No. 1 for "Most Beautiful Campus," No. 5 for "Best Career/Job Placement Services," No. 8 for "Professors Make Themselves Available," No. 10 for "Professors Get High Marks" and No. 13 for "Class Discussions Encouraged."
  • Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges": in 2007, ranked 7th "Professors that Make Themselves Accessible," ranked 10th "Class Discussions Encouraged" and ranked 12th "Dorms Like Palaces." Based on a student-based survey.21
  • Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges": in 2006, ranked 11th "Professors Make Themselves Accessible," ranked 11th "Class Discussions Encouraged," ranked 14th "Dorms Like Palaces." 22
  • Princeton Review's "Best 357 Colleges": in 2005, ranked 14th, higher than any other women's college, "Best Overall Academic Experience" and ranked 9th "Best Bargains" (private schools).23
  • Princeton Review's "Best 351 Colleges": in 2004, ranked 4th in "Student Happiness with Financial Aid," ranked 11th "Best Quality of Life Category," and ranked 15th "Class Discussions Encouraged."24
  • Princeton Review's "Best 345 Colleges": in 2003, ranked 8th "Students Happy with Financial Aid," ranked 9th "Professor Make Themselves Accessible," ranked 10th "Best Quality of Life," and ranked 12th "Are Your Instructors Good Teachers?"25
  • Princeton Review's most beautiful campus: In 2007 rated #1,21 in 2006, rated #3;22 in 2005 rated #5.23 (Student-based survey)

Notable people


  • Victor Henningsen, former president of the Board of Trustees
  • James Jones Jr, Interim President, Sweet Briar College
  • Amy Jessen-Marshall, Dean of Faculty, Sweet Briar College
  • Cheryl Steele, Dean of Students, Sweet Briar College


Current faculty

Previous faculty

List of presidents26

  • James F. Jones Jr, Interim (2014-2016) 2
  • Jo Ellen Parker (2009–2014)
  • Elisabeth Showalter Muhlenfeld, President emerita (1996–2009)
  • Barbara A. Hill (1990–1996)
  • Nenah Elinor Fry (1983–1990)
  • Harold B. Whiteman, Jr. (1971–1983)
  • Anne Gary Pannell (1950–1971)
  • Martha B. Lucas (1946–1950)
  • Meta Glass (1925–1946)
  • Emilie Watts McVea (1916–1925)
  • Mary K. Benedict (1906–1916)
  • Meta Glass (1901-1906)


  1. ^ As of February 14, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b http://sbc.edu/news/mathematical-science/interim-president-installed-109th-opening-convocation/
  3. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  4. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ History Sweet Briar College. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.
  6. ^ Geoffrey B. Henry (February 1994). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Sweet Briar House". , Accompanying photo and Accompanying map
  7. ^ "2011-2012 College Academic Calendar". Sweet Briar College. Sweet Briar College. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Residence Life Sweet Briar College. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.
  9. ^ Outdoor Programs –SWEBOP Sweet Briar College. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.
  10. ^ a b Riding Sweet Briar College. Retrieved on 2008-06-06
  11. ^ "Championship History". ANRC. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  12. ^ "Winning Tradition | Sweet Briar College". Sbc.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  13. ^ https://members.ihsainc.com/publicnationals/PointCharts.aspx?Year=2006
  14. ^ https://members.ihsainc.com/publicnationals/PointCharts.aspx?Year=2008
  15. ^ http://ripley2.noc.sbc.edu/news/items/8103
  16. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Forbes.com. 
  17. ^ "SBC Current Ratings" http://sbc.edu/about/ratings.html
  18. ^ "Sweet Briar Ranks in U.S. News' Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges" http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1512
  19. ^ "U.S. News Ranks SBC in Top 100 of Liberal Arts Colleges" http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1327
  20. ^ "Sweet Briar College Scores High in Rankings." http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=865
  21. ^ a b "Sweet Briar Makes Princeton Review Top-20 Lists." SBC News 2006. http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1840
  22. ^ a b "Sweet Briar College Makes Five Top-20 Lists in Princeton Review." SBC News 2005. http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1516
  23. ^ a b "Sweet Briar Receives High Marks in Princeton Review Survey Results," SBC News 2004. http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1328
  24. ^ "Sweet Briar College Scores High in Rankings." SBC News 2003. http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=1250
  25. ^ "Sweet Briar in "Top 20" Lists of Princeton Review." SBC News 2002. http://www.sbc.edu/news/?id=829
  26. ^ Sweet Briar College web site, http://www.sbc.edu/president/past_presidents

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