Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who has spearheaded a recent effort to save her alma mater, Sweet Briar College, from closure, was elected chairwoman of its new board of directors in the board’s first meeting on Monday.
Sweet Briar, a bucolic all-female liberal arts college in the mountains north of Lynchburg, Va., was on the verge of being closed down by the previous board of directors, which cited financial woes due to dwindling number of applicants. In fact, its previous board had announced plans to close the school.
Tomlinson, a 1987 graduate, was chosen to be the commencement speaker at what was being billed as the school’s last commencement. In her speech, she challenged the school’s leadership to exhaust every possibility to save the 114-year-old school. About six weeks after the May 24 graduation ceremony, her challenge appears to have been met.
“It is a deep honor to return to campus less than two months after taking part in a commencement that some believed would be our last,” Tomlinson said. “I knew then that we could save our college and today’s board meeting provided a powerful affirmation that Sweet Briar will be open for another 114 years and beyond.”