Sweet Briar College announced March 3 that its class of 2015 will be its last. The college is closing on Aug. 25 due to insurmountable financial challenges.
Sweet Briar College, a liberal arts and sciences college for women in Sweet Briar, Va., is well known for its riding program. Based on a 130-acre riding center on campus, the school’s hosted numerous successful riding teams, including an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team and an Affiliated National Riding Commission team. SBC has also offered equine studies certificates in training or equine management, though it didn’t offer a degree in equine studies.
“While the College has long been part of my life, as my wife is a 1969 graduate, my role as president has taken on more meaning than I could ever describe,” President James F. Jones Jr. said in a press release from the college. “The board, some key alumnae and I have worked diligently to find a solution to the challenges Sweet Briar faces. This work led us to the unfortunate conclusion that there are two key realities that we could not change: the declining number of students choosing to attend small, rural, private liberal arts colleges and even fewer young women willing to consider a single-sex education, and the increase in the tuition discount rate that we have to extend to enroll each new class is financially unsustainable.”
Students have been offered transfers to Randolph College, Hollins University, Mary Baldwin College and Lynchburg College, all in Virginia and several of which offer riding programs. Sweet Briar College hasn’t officially announced plans for the horses it owns.
This news follows on the heels of Virginia Intermont College closing in 2014. That college’s riding program was transferred to nearby Emory & Henry and is now known as Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry.