alumnae relations & development

Meet the Staff

Our staff consists of the alumnae relations office and the development office. We also coordinate Reunion, as well as Sweet Briar Days and other localized events. 

Vice President's Office


Mary Pope Maybank Hutson ’83
V.P. for Alumnae Relations & Development
(434) 381-6272
[email protected]
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Major Gifts and Planned Giving


Claire Dennison Griffith ’80
Director of Major and Planned Gifts
(434) 381-6479
[email protected]
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Advancement Services


Sarah Lewis
Director of Advancement Services
(434) 381-6373
[email protected]
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Bonnie L. Seitz ’01 
Assistant Director of Advancement Services
(434) 381-6417
[email protected]
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Katia Suntseva
Systems Specialist
[email protected]

 

Wanda Vest
Data Coordinator
(434) 381-6370
[email protected]
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Alumnae Relations and Annual Giving


Kathy "kp" Papadimitriou ’84
Director of Alumnae Relations & Annual Giving
(434) 381-6371
[email protected]
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Donna Dodd ’15 & PA'01
Associate Director of Alumnae Relations & Annual Giving
(434) 381-6416
[email protected]
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DJ Stanhope ’81
Senior Associate Director of Alumnae Relations & Annual Giving
(434) 381-6162
[email protected]
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Clélie Steckel
Associate Director of Alumnae Relations & Annual Giving
(434) 381-6299
[email protected]
Read Bio 

 

Admissions Office


Marcia Thom-Kaley
Director of Alumnae Admissions Recruiters
and Assistant Professor of Music
(434) 381-6331
[email protected]
Read Bio 

 

 

Staff Bios

Mary Pope Maybank Hutson '83

Mary Pope Maybank HutsonMary Pope Maybank Hutson ’83 led the Saving Sweet Briar Inc. campaign’s major donor task force beginning in March, when the former administration announced its intention to close Sweet Briar, through September, when the group delivered its final payment to the College and fulfilled the terms of the settlement agreement to keep the College open.

She served on Sweet Briar’s new board of directors until her appointment as vice president of alumnae relations and development, including as chair of the Advancement Committee and a member of the Building and Grounds Committee. For 13 years prior, Mary Pope served as executive vice president of the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, D.C., a national land conservation organization.

Mary Pope is a native of Charleston, S.C. and graduated from Sweet Briar with a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs. Her professional career has involved building relationships with individuals, as well as fostering coalitions in the public and private sector, and raising resources primarily for land conservation, historic preservation, and in the political arena in the United States and abroad. She previously worked in the American embassy in Kenya.

Hutson managed the Land Trust Alliance’s policy work on Capitol Hill, yielding billions of dollars in federal funding for conservation groups. She helped secure the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the organization and built and staffed its National Council, a group convened to provide expertise on emerging trends, to strengthen the Land Trust Alliance’s political effectiveness and to develop the necessary resources to advance the Alliance’s conservation programs. She was a lead fundraiser for the Land Trust Alliance’s successful capital campaign.

Mary Pope is not only committed to women’s leadership, but has been breaking gender barriers throughout her career. She was executive director of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust in Charleston and she was the first woman appointed to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Board in 1995, setting state policies for land and water resources. She helped start the “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” group in South Carolina, one of the first such groups in the nation. She also served as the only woman on the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Council for the past 11 years, appointed by three secretaries of the Department of the Interior, and she has been a committed mentor to young men and women in conservation.

As a Sweet Briar student, Mary Pope was a nationally ranked varsity athlete and a volunteer mentor for her fellow students. She was a member of the QVs, Earphones and Aints and Asses; captain and member of the varsity tennis and basketball teams; an admissions tour guide; athletic trainer; Social Committee member and community volunteer. Since graduation, she has participated in the College’s Friends of Athletics and was president and fund agent for her class for several alumnae reunions. In 2012, she was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Williams Society.


Kathy "kp" Papadimitriou ’84

Kathy Papadimitriou, more commonly referred to as ‘kp,’ accompanied a friend on a college visit road trip in the late seventies. At the onset, she was determined that UVa was her destiny. Her friend had an admissions appointment with Sweet Briar. After being introduced to the Sweet Briar community as the tag-a-long, there was no competition; SBC took the path of becoming kp’s beloved alma mater.

kp graduated with a B.A. in history and a concentration in European studies. She was active in the equestrian program, dabbled in theater arts performances and productions; and was the only history major in her class who was commonly found taking mathematics classes for fun. She served as sophomore class president, a QV, became the St. Andrews Junior Year Abroad Scholar, and returned to campus serving as student body president. Following graduation, she served a term on the College’s Board of Directors as a recent alumna representative.

Over the past 30 years, kp has specialized in the hospitality industry as an executive in experiential marketing and live events. She has become a specialist in the industry for helping organizations both internally and externally adapt and embrace change for growth and sustainability. Her career began with a creative national nestination management agency based in San Francisco. Through various operational and national sales roles, she matriculated up through the ranks, becoming the president of Safaris, Inc. Later, she led the acquisition and integration teams into the conglomerate Production Group International, Inc. (PGI). With PGI, she served in various roles for the M&A, integration teams of subsequent acquisitions. She further served as SVP of destination services and expanded PGI’s EU operations over eight years as managing director and SVP of Europe.

kp assisted the CEO and chairman’s office with the sale of PGI’s assets to TBA Global, LLC. At TBA Global, she was an executive committee member in the newly formed parent company. She continued & served as managing director of the Canadian operations and EVP of destination services. Five years later, kp led the spinout of her operational business unit and integration into the U.S. operations of the publicly traded Swiss company The Kuoni Group. kp served as COO of the U.S. DMC business unit until Dec. 2013, when she retired from living on airplanes after 30 years.

With her accomplished sister, an executive pastry chef, she opened and owns Pies, Cakes & S’More, LLC, a custom-made-to-order bakery in Charleston, S.C. During her 30-year career in the hospitality industry, kp served the industry in many capacities. Some of her beloved experiences include the following: Safaris ESOP Trustee, Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts Incentive Advisory Council, executive consultant to Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure, founding member of ADMEI association, and the executive responsible for working on a myriad of complex and award-winning programs.

Her client portfolio includes many Fortune 500 brands and notable nonprofit organizations, including multiple Olympic Games sponsors’ hospitality programs, working alongside the NGB’s, the Local Organizing Committees, the TOP sponsors and supporters. Some of these include The Coca Cola Company Global and Canadian Olympic Hospitality Programs, John Hancock’s Olympic Hospitality Program, Samsung and the Canadian Pavilions. She also worked on several NBA All Star Weekends, AFLAC National meetings, Liberty Mutual Insurance’s EU Program Launch, Roche Laboratories training meetings, AARP Community Engagement programs, LexisNexis Leadership Events, and Xerox Executive Leadership Series.

The fateful day of March 3, 2015, brought kp back in touch with fellow alumnae across the country and abroad. She joined the Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. campaign. She applied her knowledge of grassroots events by serving as the team leader for 78 engagement events executed over 130 days. She supported the Major Donor Task Force and State Representatives Outreach Team by coordinating calling and cross-communication projects.

She volunteered to help the new administration in her early days here with laying the framework of President Stone’s Alumnae Road Trip for the fall of 2015. She was asked by the president’s office to continue her efforts in a full-time capacity for a transitory phase. Her love of the College dictated her decision to join the alumnae relations and development team. She is proudly serving the College that has opened so many possibilities for her and introduced her to many with a beloved, shared heritage.

 

Donna Dodd ’15 & PA’01

Donna DoddDonna Dodd is a native and proud member of Amherst County. She is very excited to re-join the Sweet Briar alumnae relations and development team! Donna brings more than 17 years of experience and employment with the College. Prior to working in the alumnae relations & development office, she was the buyer and AP coordinator for Physical Plant. Donna’s connections to the Sweet Briar community are not limited to the administration.

Her older daughter is a 2001 alumna. Donna joined the Turning Point program at Sweet Briar a couple of years ago and just completed her B.A. in business in the historic year of 2015. She cannot express enough the love she has for Sweet Briar College and is ecstatic to be a part of the team that will help sustain this beautiful place, which is now her own alma mater.

Donna enjoys spending time with her husband “Bo” and her family, which includes three wonderful grandchildren. Her younger daughter currently lives in London, but Donna is an avid user of WhatsApp to keep in touch.

 

DJ Stanhope ’81

Originally from Maine, DJ (Dorothy Jean) Stanhope is a 1981 graduate of Sweet Briar College majoring in religion. Although her classmates may commonly tell the story of how DJ drove the garbage truck during her student tenure; her proudest achievement during her undergraduate years culminated in serving as the president of the Racial Awareness Movement. DJ holds a graduate certificate in nonprofit organizational capacity building from Regis University and is currently pursuing her master’s in nonprofit management.

For more than 20 years, DJ has served the nonprofit world in executive leadership and board of directors roles both in United States and abroad. Her first professional experience in nonprofits was as president of the Children’s AIDS Network, the only agency in Maine entrusted with the distribution of federal “Ryan White” funds. She subsequently served as executive director of Friendship House, Inc., overseeing two homeless shelters in her hometown of Portland, Maine. Most of her adult career has been serving American troops through the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) in Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Germany, where she has planned and executed a wide variety of events, including a major gala on the deck of a battleship, the delivery of Christmas gifts by helicopter to remote outposts in the combat zone, and celebrity tours and concerts with popular artists and dignitaries, including a former president of the United States.

Recruited by a retired general to serve with Military Ministry, she served on the production team of ‘Care and Counsel for Combat Trauma’, an accredited 30-part video series offering training for lay ministers caring for returning troops. Among her awards and honors are the Patriotic Civilian Service Award, the USOvation, the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, and the Commander’s Award for Public Service and induction into the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharp.

Having experienced a life of unparalleled service opportunities made possible by the education and leadership preparation she received at her alma mater, DJ is humbled and privileged to be able at this time to give back to the college that nurtured and developed her.

 

Clélie Steckel

Clélie Steckel

Clélie holds a B.A. in English from Guilford College and an M.A. in English from Lynchburg College. She returns to Sweet Briar with 6 years of professional experience, having served as development coordinator at the Centra Foundation and assistant director of development and membership coordinator at Amazement Square. She eagerly joins the Sweet Briar alumnae relations team, bringing with her myriad experiences in fundraising.

Since 1988, Clélie has been in love with Sweet Briar College. The Sweet Briar community nurtured her along with her parents, who both proudly served as former administrators for the College. Many alumnae may remember Clélie’s constant canine companion, Cinnamon. In high school, Clélie worked in Guion as a lab assistant for Dr. Robin Davies’ summer research students and in Alumnae House on preparations for the College’s centennial celebration. Clélie continued to work for Alumnae House each summer until she graduated from Guilford College.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Clélie had the great fortune to work with an excellent team of students as interim director of student activities and programs for one year before attending Lynchburg College to earn her master’s degree.

Clélie then worked at Amazement Square, a children’s museum in Lynchburg, on donor solicitations and recognition (including corporate partnerships), special events, grant applications, board relations, the museum’s membership program and exhibition research. From there, she went on to work at the Centra Foundation, the charitable arm of a health system in Central Virginia, where she continued her work on grant applications and expanded her knowledge in many areas of fundraising: coordinating an annual fund campaign for employees, physicians and volunteers; planning and executing special events; implementing a corporate annual fund campaign; working with the M.A.A.M. Committee (which raises funds for annual screening mammograms for women who cannot afford them), direct mail, volunteer engagement, and work in publications.

For Clélie, this challenge is a wonderful gift. She will have the chance to give back to her childhood home using the knowledge and experience she has gained. Growing up at Sweet Briar fostered a love of learning in Clélie, and she is eager to foster its continued success in return.

 

Claire Dennison Griffith ’80

Claire Griffith '80

Claire came to Sweet Briar from Pecos, Texas, by way of St. Stephens Episcopal School in Austin, where an alumna insisted she look at SBC. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen; and hence, her love affair with the College took root. While at Sweet Briar, she played field hockey and lacrosse, was a QV, student representative to the board, junior class president and Student Government Association president. She graduated in 1980 with a B.A. in economics.

Professionally, Claire worked on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch as an equity trading specialist for 6 years and ran Direct Hits Education for the last 11 years, working with high school students and their families as they prepare for college.

Her true heart is demonstrated in her volunteer leadership roles over the past 30 years in the fields of education, the environment and social issues. Claire has led successful turnaround efforts as executive chairman of the board for two nonprofits working closely with the board, major donors and foundations.

As an active Sweet Briar alumna, she has been the SBC Alumnae Club president of the New York City, Northern New Jersey and Atlanta chapters. Claire’s passion for the College continued in the roles of J-Term internship coordinator in NYC, class union gift chair, an AAR representative for the Northern New Jersey and Atlanta areas and serving two terms as the Region V Representative on the Alumnae Association Board. She currently works with the top 50 donors of Saving Sweet Briar, Inc.

Claire is a dedicated mother, wife and family member and enjoys entertaining and meeting people.

Returning “back to school” in the role of director of major and planned gifts, she works closely with the vice president of alumnae relations & development and the alumnae relations and annual giving team to successfully lead the College’s efforts with its major donors on outright and planned gifts.

 

Sarah Lewis

Sarah LewisSarah graduated from Virginia Tech in 2005 with two degrees: a B.S. in biology with a specialty in ecology, evolution & behavior and a B.A. in English with emphasis in professional writing. She feeds her thirst for learning by taking classes at Sweet Briar, where she regularly participates in the business major curriculum.

Sarah joined the Sweet Briar College staff in 2006, working in various departments but most especially serving with alumnae relations specializing and developing in the Annual Giving program. Now, as the newly-promoted director of advancement services, she both proudly carries the Master Geek Hat title and manages all the many ways we can say THANK YOU for the new team. Sarah contributes her leadership skills and analytic skills of data mining and analysis to guide decision-making for our future endeavors as an alumnae team of the College and for the valued Alumnae Alliance organization. When not at work, Sarah dances in ballet and jazz classes at Forest Dance Academy with a group of fabulous women ranging in age from recently graduated to retired.

 

Bonnie L. Seitz ’01

Bonnie SeitzWhen Bonnie began working at the College in 1985, there were no office computers. As campus offices became computerized, she discovered a special interest and decided to pursue a degree in computer science, earning her B.A. from Sweet Briar in 2001. She uses her computer skills to maintain records on the College’s seemingly ever-mobile population of over 14,000 living alumnae. When not at her computer in the Alumnae House, she enjoys reading, walking and spending time with grandchildren.

 

 

Wanda Vest

Wanda VestWhen first setting eyes on Sweet Briar College, Wanda knew she never wanted to be any place else. She immediately felt a calmness and serenity and a calling to be there. A proud local of the Lynchburg community, she joined the College’s administrative team in 1995.

Because she loves Sweet Briar so much, although her position does not start until 8:30 a.m. in the morning, she is commonly in the offices by 6:30 a.m. and has made coffee for the team and visiting alumnae. Ironically, she does not drink or like coffee.

Wanda draws strength from the College community and enjoys watching young ladies grow into women ready to take their place in the world. She truly believes the Sweet Briar community produces women who make a difference in the world, wherever life sends them.

She focuses her passion for Sweet Briar College by ensuring that the records of the alumnae, friends and family, along with their gifts, are up-to-date and accurate so we can use the information to continue in sustaining this great community.

 

Marcia Thom-Kaley

Marcia Thom-Kaley, a Lynchburg native, is a 1981 graduate of Virginia Tech with a B.A. in liberal arts and sciences, and a 2014 graduate of Hollins University with an M.A. in liberal arts and sciences. A classical singer, Thom-Kaley has enjoyed a 25-year professional career on the operatic and musical theater stages and has sung with the Nashville Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Roanoke Symphony and the Lynchburg Symphony. Her repertoire encompasses roles from Verdi to Mozart and, as a prolific soloist, includes performances at national and local events.

An avid fundraiser for community organizations, Thom-Kaley was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award by the Central Virginia United Way in 2014, as well as the Virginia Association Fund Raiser of the Year Award in 2014. She has served on the Lynchburg Symphony Board of Directors and the founding board of Opera on the James. In addition, she served on the YWCA Board as an advocate for women’s rights, and she continues to work within her community on issues surrounding domestic abuse.

Thom-Kaley taught Applied Voice and Opera Workshop at Randolph Macon Woman’s College from 2004-2009. She is currently an assistant professor of music at Sweet Briar, where she conducts three choral organizations and teaches applied voice. Thom-Kaley has been a Sweet Briar College faculty member since 2005. In 2009 and in 2015, she was awarded the Connie Burwell White Excellence in Teaching Award by the Sweet Briar College Student Government Association.