In a recent post on UVA, discussion in the comment thread turned to the imminent closing of Sweet Briar College. Assistant editor Chris Sharp offers the following musings.
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The pink and green world comprised of both alumni and the larger preppy diaspora was recently rocked by the news that Sweet Briar College is set to close. The women’s college situated on a former Virginia plantation and founded in 1901 announced that it would cease operations on August 25th of this year due to “insurmountable financial challenges.”
Recently I came across this video for prospective students from 2010. It is scenic, full of iconic pink and green imagery, heavy on the school’s equestrian traditions yet stressing inclusion, all presented to a hummable modern country feminist anthem by Stephanie Quayle titled “Sweet Briar Woman,” a song which appears to be a hit at parties.
“The Official Preppy Handbook” gives a nod to Sweet Briar. In 1980, the year of the book’s publication, 50 percent of the 700-member student body had attended prep school. The book wryly described Sweet Briar women as “very pretty girls all of whom aspire to speak French so they may spend junior year in Gay Paree.”
Politically correct objections aside, the Sweet Briar women of the 1980s were bright, beautiful and charming. They were they type of woman that other women hated. One might go as far as to say they were “stone cold foxes,” or more correctly (and politically incorrectly), “vixens,” though that may not be obvious from the image below.
If this is really the end, if in the vernacular of the hunt “they are going to ground,” the least we can do is offer an Ivy Style homage to 114 years of Sweet Briar tradition. Tally-ho, and thanks for the memories ladies. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP