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Sweet Briar President Phillip Stone Retiring in 2017

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AMHERST CO., Va (WSET) - Sweet Briar College President Phillip Stone is already thinking about his replacement. The former Bridgewater College president came out of retirement last year to accept the job at Sweet Briar, and has announced he'll retire next year.

As the school year comes to an end, Sweet Briar College President Phillip Stone has one word to describe the last 10 months. "We use the word miracle not because we can't find another word to describe success, but we really mean miracle" said Phillip Stone.

He came in as the captain of a ship left to sink. "Faculty, students, staff all sent away. We had no riding program, the Junior year study abroad program was gone, the food service was gone" said Stone.

But despite all the obstacles, Stone says they have exceeded all of their expectations. "You fall in love with a place like Sweet Briar, I did" said Stone. Which is why he says the decision to leave has been a hard one.

"I expect to retire June 30, 2017My wife's health hasn't been good, so that is also a consideration for me" said Stone.

In his short time on campus, Students like Senior Madeline Artibe say he was able to make an impact on them. "I've been able to meet with him multiple times, even in the lunch room when he comes in to sit with us" said Artibe.

"I was saddened but I wasn't shocked. I know he had a great career at Bridgewater" said Dodson.

As for his replacement"I'd like to see us at least have the opportunity to see a woman lead the college" said Stone.

Whoever the next replacement maybe, Stone says they'll need to keep the fundraising effort going. So far the school has been able to operate solely on donations. He says they haven't even touched the endowment and don't have plans.

Stone says the goal is to raise $10 million by the end of the semester, and they've already raised $7 million.

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