Hundreds of Sweet Briar alumnae welcome returning students in fight to save college

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Over 700 Sweet Briar College alumnae lined a section of the long driveway leading onto the Sweet Briar campus on Sunday to welcome back students returning from spring break in a show of solidarity in the collective fight by alumnae, faculty and students to save the college from closure.

The welcome lasted for nearly two hours before the alumnae and a number of students walked to Monument Hill, a spot on campus that includes the grave of Daisy Williams, the daughter of Indiana Williams whose early death at age 16 led to the bequest that established Sweet Briar College to serve as a perpetual memorial to the young Williams daughter.

1993 graduate Ellen Pitera, one of seven Sweet Briar alumnae serving on the Board of Directors of Saving Sweet Briar, Inc., thanked those in attendance for rallying to save the college.

“I just want to thank you all for being here for this big moment in Sweet Briar’s history. I hope you’ve all been looking around today to see your love for this college in action. I am in awe yet never doubted Sweet Briar’s passion. On behalf of the Saving Sweet Briar board, as well as the alumnae, I want to say to the students, the faculty and staff, that we deeply admire your courage during this challenging time.

We are working literally around the clock to reverse the current board’s decision and we will not stop fighting until we in fact have turned over every stone, boulder, and pebble in order to save our beloved Sweet Briar. Let’s lean on each other as the next days unfold and let’s all work diligently in this fight.

The word is getting out and the possibilities to support our college are endless. We ask you to press on towards our common goal of saving our beloved Sweet Briar, not only for our current students, faculty and staff, but for future generations. As we look upon Daisy’s monument, let’s all take a moment to reflect on our past, our present and our exciting future. Together, we will save Sweet Briar College.”

Stay with 8News for continuing coverage of this developing story.

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