March 5, 2015
Dear Alumnae and Friends,
By now, you no doubt have heard the surprising news that Sweet Briar College, one of our women’s college sisters, is closing its doors as of August 31, 2015. Our hearts go out to Sweet Briar students and alumnae on the sudden loss of their beloved alma mater. As a champion of an all-women’s education, I am pleased to report that Meredith has become one of the institutions offering expedited transfer admissions to Sweet Briar College students.
The news about Sweet Briar comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that the Women’s College of the University of Denver will also be closing. At one time, the U.S. boasted about 270 women’s colleges; today, that number is fewer than 40.
All of the former women’s colleges seem to have followed a similar path of low enrollments, inadequate financial support, and ultimate decisions to close or go co-ed. As a Meredith alumna, I know first-hand the value of a women’s college education and reaffirm our commitment to remaining a women’s college.
As President of Meredith, I find it essential that our “Going Strong” brand is more than a catchy slogan. It is a reality based on extensive research and reflects the strength of our educational programs, enrollment, financial position, and reputation in the community and among top employers and graduate programs. Much of that support comes from you, and I could not be more grateful or proud that Meredith’s alumnae and the larger community have taken such extensive measures to preserve this beloved institution.
Through your support and the fine work of our faculty and staff, in fact, we have just enrolled our second largest class in history. We have just reached an all-time high in our endowment of $94 million, and we have just had our largest fund-raising year in history—all exceptional evidence that Meredith’s friends are powerful forces in ensuring the well-being and future of the College.
Many of you have asked, “Can I do more?” And the answer, always, is “yes.” Here are some ways you can help ensure Meredith’s long-term strength.
1. Financial support is always appreciated. There has never been a better time to double or triple your annual gift to Meredith. Cash gifts bring opportunities for immediate impact in programming, scholarships, facilities enhancements, and other critical needs of the College. On the other hand, making a long-term impact may appeal to those who would consider an estate gift or a planned remembrance. Please contact our Institutional Advancement Office at (919) 760-8060 or email@example.com.
2. Recruiting help is also appreciated. Meredith has made its reputation on its successes in helping strong women become even stronger. When you see a promising student, talk with her about Meredith. And please send us her name and contact information, and our admissions team will reach out to her. You can reach our Admissions Office at (919) 760-8581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, your being a shining example of all the good that Meredith does is our best advertisement. We hope you talk about your Meredith experience with great fondness, highlighting exceptional experiences of rigorous learning in a supportive environment of faculty, staff, and friends. We hope you wear your class ring, and we hope you return for events throughout the year – and especially for your reunion years.
Next year, Meredith will celebrate her 125thanniversary. We are planning a week of events and celebrations for Founders’ Week in late February, culminating in a past-present-future gala event. Please make early plans to attend. Again, this is a great time to reconnect with faculty, staff, and your other friends.
Meanwhile, thank you for all you do to help Meredith continue going strong – and for all the ways you can help us become even stronger.
Jo Allen, ‘80