student life

June 2013 E-newsletter

Dear Students and Families,

Congratulations to returning students on completing another year at Sweet Briar! New students, welcome to Sweet Briar. We look forward to greeting you personally in August. Parents, you are important partners in your daughter’s experience at the College, and we are grateful for your support.

Communication with you is very important to us. E-newsletters are intended to keep you informed about the College between semesters. This edition focuses on summer activity at Sweet Briar and some advance planning information for new and returning students. You will receive other e-newsletters in mid-July and early August.

As many of you may have already heard, this summer started on a somber note for the College with the death of Elizabeth “Liz” Wilson, a member of the Class of 2013. She and fellow Sweet Briar student Mariah Skalka ‘14 were involved in a car accident June 12 in nearby Bedford County. The entire Sweet Briar community mourns the loss of Liz and sends Mariah our best wishes as she progresses in her recovery.   President Parker will send an email to all students once Liz’s family makes memorial arrangements.

If I or my office can be of any assistance to you over the course of the summer, please do not hesitate to call us at (434) 381-6134.

Warm wishes,

Cheryl Steele
Dean of Co-Curricular Life




News From the Honors Program
Library Construction and Classroom Renovations Update
Financial Aid Reminders
New Student Information and Planning
Buzz the Briar
Endstation Theatre Company Returns to Campus




News From the Honors Program

It’s the end of a busy year in Honors! Check out the latest issue of the Honors Program newsletter to read about Ashley Bakerhonors students’ activities and events this spring, including a report from two members of the Class of 2016 who lived on the new — and by all accounts very successful — First Year Honors Hall. 

Although the academic year has ended, intellectual pursuits continue in Honors with the start of the Honors Summer Research Program. Eleven students were awarded 2013 Honors Summer Research Fellowships from among the largest and most competitive group of applicants in many years. The fellowship offers students the opportunity to pursue their own research, with guidance from a faculty mentor, and to observe the pursuit of scholarship in different disciplines across campus. To see a description of each student’s research project, go to


  • Ashley Baker, Class of 2015
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Rob Granger (Chemistry)
  • Kaitlyn Cartwright, Class of 2014
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Abraham Yousef (Chemistry)
  • Rebecca Dalley, Class of 2014
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Janet Steven (Biology)
  • Moriah Donaldson, Class of 2015
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Scott Pierce (Engineering)
  • Anna Donko, Class of 2014
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Pamela DeWeese (Modern languages and literatures)
  • Katlyn Fleming, Class of 2014
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Abraham Yousef (Chemistry)
  • Dolores (DJ) Gallagher, Class of 2015
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Bryce Walker (Classics, philosophy and religion)
  • Jennifer Gray, Class of 2013
    Faculty sponsors: Professor Lynn Laufenberg (History); Professor Eric Casey (Classics)
  • Amy Kvien, Class of 2015
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Sherry Forbes (Economics)
  • Fumin Li, Class of 2015
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Bethany Brinkman (Engineering)
  • Lilian Tauber, Class of 2014
    Faculty sponsor: Professor Lynn Laufenberg (History)

[Back to contents]


Library Construction and Classroom Renovations Updates

Construction progress on Phase 1 of the new library facilities is speeding up as the summer begins. Looking at our public webcam, you can see the library addition is now almost completely enclosed and you can get a sense of the shape. Phase 1 will be finished by fall term and student workers in the library have been busy preparing the collections so they can be moved into the new space. They are excited about the features and looking forward to several areas that will enhance the library. A new classroom and collaborative space will have multiple projection features. The café/club on the new exterior terrace will provide a variety of snack and drink options from high-end vending machines, while the terrace itself will be a great place for students and library constructionfaculty to study and meet. The new handicap entrance will allow equal access to the facility, and the new staff area provides a better working space for the many student library workers. Access to collections will be improved with two new stack levels, and the entire building will have modern lighting and environmental controls — a true benefit since our historic 1927 building has never had air conditioning!

Sweet Briar will also be renovating and upgrading eight additional classrooms this summer through grant funds and the generous donations of alumnae, parents and friends of the College.

Four of the largest classrooms on campus, Benedict 209, 216, 309 and 316, will receive new instructor stations, computer-controlled flexible lighting systems, computers and full Crestron control systems. They will be equipped with new interactive touch projection systems and receive new paint and window treatments, in addition to technology and seating upgrades.

In the Connie M. Guion Science Center, rooms 012 and 202 will be completely remodeled with new seating, as well as full control and multiple projection systems. Improved lighting, new paint, window blinds and new sound systems will make these rooms ideal for teaching science.

In the Anne Gary Pannell Center, room 202 is receiving special upgrades in support of teaching art history. New lighting controls, touch projection systems, computers and full Crestron electronic control systems — plus construction that expands the capacity of the room — will greatly enhance instruction.

Finally, Gray 106 will be renovated and receive touch projection and full control systems, a new computer, as well as lighting and furnishing upgrades. Each renovated classroom builds on eight other classroom renovations completed last summer. Aside from upgrading classrooms, there will be basic videoconferencing equipment in each instructional building and the coming year will bring high-quality video facilities for collaborative distance learning.

All classrooms will benefit from systems that allow integration of mobile devices, increase opportunities for student interaction and improve the resources available to instructors. Each space will also have increased writing surfaces available for collaborative work between faculty and students. With full interactive control systems, multiple video capabilities, high-speed network access, new classroom computers, improved lighting and seating and physical upgrades, Sweet Briar students will enjoy state-of-the-art instructional facilities across most of campus, with additional upgrades in the coming years to enhance our remaining classrooms.


[Back to contents]


Financial Aid Reminders

Students who applied for financial aid for 2013-14 should have received award packages in bright pink envelopes by now. Please return all appropriate paperwork for funds you wish to accept, such as loan request forms and campus employment applications. Most forms are also located on our financial aid website. If you are unsure of your financial aid award or of additional paperwork you may have to return, go to

It is never too late to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We encourage everyone to apply at There are many variables involved in determining eligibility, but there is no way to know whether you are eligible if you don’t apply.

We are here to help you navigate this process. Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions or concerns at (800) 381-6156 or [email protected]. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

[Back to contents]

New Student Information and Planning

We are eagerly planning for the arrival of new students and their family members on Aug. 24 for Orientation! New Vixen and studentsstudents will receive a packet of important information from the Office of Co-Curricular Life during the first week of July. Please review this with your family members. If you have questions, call the Office of Co-Curricular Life at (434) 381-6134 (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. EST).

New students should complete the following forms before June 30:

In addition, Authorization to Use and Disclose Protected Health Information, education records and other forms are required for new riders and varsity athletes. Visit for a complete list.

[Back to contents]

Buzz the Briar

It’s almost time to pack, but you’ve forgotten whether Sweet Briar beds take standard or extra-long sheets. What kinds of appliances can you bring? Can your turtle come to college with you?

Buzz the Briar at (434) 381-6294 for answers to those questions and many more! Sweet Briar staff will be available to assist you July 15-16. The schedule, based on the enrolled student’s last name, is below. Offices participating in this event include Academic Advising, Co-curricular Life, Financial Aid, First-Year and Sophomore Programs, Honors, Registrar, Residence Life and Housing, and the y:1 program.

  • Monday, July 15, 1 to 5 p.m. EST: If the enrolled student’s last name begins with A-M
  • Tuesday, July 16, 1 to 5 p.m. EST: If the enrolled student’s last name begins with N-Z

[Back to contents]


Endstation Theatre Company Returns to Campus

Endstation Theatre Company took up residency at Sweet Briar College in 2006 and went on to produce theActors from Cymbeline company’s first show, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Mind of Poe," in a number of theaters throughout Virginia and as part of the Washington, D.C., Fringe Festival in the summer of 2007.

Endstation produced the first Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival (BRSTF) on the College’s grounds in 2008, and the festival has expanded with each new season.

Currently, Endstation offers the only outdoor theater in the greater Lynchburg area, and Sweet Briar College grounds are an ideal setting. Audiences can enjoy a picnic and a glass of wine while watching an incredible story unfold before them. Each year, Endstation sets out to explore a different site-specific location, providing variety and excitement for its audiences.

Endstation also collaborates with Sweet Briar’s Blue Ridge Summer Institute for Young Artists (BLUR) and the University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop, both of which take place on campus in June and July. In addition, the theater company offers a variety of summer internships to college students.

Information regarding the 2013 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival can be found on Endstation’s website.

[Back to contents]