News from the president and board report for Oct. 13 meeting

| October 23, 2015


In its telephonic meeting last week, the board of directors elected two new members to the board, both graduates of Sweet Briar and both outstanding professional women.

Carol McMurtry Fowler ’57. A native Texan, Fowler graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1957 with high honors. She then attended the London School of Economics. She has been a newspaper reporter and editor, a political campaign organizer, manager and speechwriter for public officials, including a governor. She has also served as chief locater of escheated funds division in Texas; as a legal assistant to a law firm and as executive assistant to the board chair of the State Board of Insurance. She was married to Dudley Fowler, an attorney, for 50 years before his death in 2014. Fowler notes that as a student, Sweet Briar College taught her that she was an adult and responsible for herself and for her future. Intellectually her brain was set on fire at Sweet Briar, and that fire has never gone out. “What a gift the College gave me — gave many other women.”

Mason Bennett Rummel ’83. Since 2010, Rummel has been president of James Graham Brown Foundation Inc., whose mission is to cultivate progress and civic pride through philanthropic investments that promote the image of Kentucky and Louisville and the well-being of its citizens. She has been employed by the foundation since 1989. Previously, she served on the staff of the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture and as a press officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She has been a board member and held other leadership roles in a great number of philanthropic, cultural, educational and civic organizations. Mason graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1983 with a B.A. in English and earned an M.A. in philanthropic studies at the Lilly School of Philanthropy, Indiana University. She is married to Rick Rummel and they have three grown children.

Other board notes

The board has accepted with regret the resignation of Garry Friend. The board expressed its appreciation for his service.

Several committees of the board had been meeting by telephone over the past several weeks. The Finance Committee, chaired by Rocky Query, working in concert with the Executive Committee and the administration, has been working hard on the 2015-2016 operating budget. Because of the decision to close the school and a change in governance, the budget preparation was months behind.

Vice president for finance Tom Connors and assistant vice president Gail Payne, together with colleagues in their department, have worked exceptionally hard to prepare the budget. The full board will review the proposed budget at its meeting on campus Oct. 30. After the board approves the budget, more information will be provided to the community.

Vice chair of the board Charles C. Krulak was recently honored by Birmingham-Southern College, which renamed its football stadium the General Charles C. Krulak Stadium. Gen. Krulak became president of BSC in June of 2011 and retired last May. In his four years on campus, he grew enrollment, tallied record fundraising and shepherded the college through its 10-year reaccreditation process.

Gen. Krulak is also receiving an additional significant honor. The Alabama Academy of Honor will induct him into membership Monday, Oct. 26, in the old House Chamber of the State Capitol in Montgomery. With membership limited to 100 distinguished citizens of the state, the Academy of Honor bestows honor and recognition upon living Alabamians for their outstanding accomplishments and services.

Congratulations to Gen. Krulak for these significant recognitions.


If any of our friends and supporters have wondered whether we could provide a full array of campus opportunities with so little time to prepare for the opening of school and in the face of a small enrollment, I can assure them that all the usual campus activities are going forward. I personally have had the pleasure of attending a dance recital, field hockey and soccer games and the performance of “Twelfth Night.” I am regularly learning about Sweet Briar traditions as I encounter special paraphernalia, apparel and other indicia of rituals and traditions. There is no sense whatever of being too small to have a full program. As many of you remember from your own student days, the problem is not too little to do but far too much to do!

Admissions. While it is early to have meaningful numbers about inquiries and applications, the anecdotal information coming to us is very positive. The participation of the alumnae in our recruitment efforts, the sympathetic media coverage of our efforts to remain open and our energetic recruitment activities are producing lots of inquiries and interest. We are optimistic that we can enroll a strong first-year class for the coming fall. We are also recruiting transfer students, both for this spring semester and next fall. I urge you to encourage young women to look at Sweet Briar as their college. If you are able to talk to them yourself, refer them to the campus staff or, especially helpful, accompany them on a trip to the campus, it will pay great dividends for the College, and you will be doing the young women a great favor by making a Sweet Briar education possible for them.

Fundraising. Under the leadership of Vice President Bun Perkinson and the chair of the board’s Committee on Alumnae Relations and Development, Mary Pope Hutson, planning is well underway for additional ambitious fundraising. The alumnae have saved their college; I know they want their college not only to survive but to flourish as never before. Opportunities will certainly be given to permit the alumnae and friends of the College to continue to show their commitment and support.

The Rolling Stone Tour. In the past several weeks, I have met alumnae groups in Norfolk Va.; the Philadelphia area; New York City; Chicago; and Atlanta. The passion and excitement of the alumnae continue to be amazing. Several alumnae in each of those communities provided special leadership in organizing the alumnae gatherings in a polished and professional way. The turnout was tremendous in each place and the excitement level was sky-high. In the coming few weeks, I will be in Richmond; Birmingham, Ala., Washington, D.C.; Lynchburg; and Texas for additional alumnae events. Others are being planned. The alumnae of Sweet Briar College have not abandoned their commitment to save their college just because the initial victories have been won. Everyone seems to understand that we must work hard to overcome the challenges ahead of us.

I am deeply grateful for the warm welcome you have given me and for the kindnesses you continue to show me. It is hard to imagine a more engaged, enthusiastic and committed community of alumnae, faculty, staff, students and friends who make up the Sweet Briar community. It is an honor to be part of this community.

Phil Stone
Oct. 22, 2015

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