Sweet Briar receives $3 million grant for engineering program

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Sweet Briar receives $3 million grant for engineering program

A 1945 almuna of Sweet Briar College and her husband have given $3 million to the women’s college to support its engineering program.

As a result, the program will be called the Margaret Jones Wyllie ‘45 Engineering Program. The college will use an endowment created by the gift to purchase lab equipment, provide scholarships and support community-based design courses.

Margaret Wyllie, known as “Peggy,” entered Sweet Briar in 1941 and graduated with a degree in chemistry. She met her husband, Malcolm Robert Jesse Wyllie at Johns Hopkins University where she earned a master’s degree in chemistry. A South African Rhodes scholar, he became president and chairman of Gulf Oil Co. (Eastern Hemisphere).

Sweet Briar is one of only two women’s colleges in the United States to offer an engineering degree. The engineering curriculum was built over several years beginning in 2002 with $1.5 million in grants from the National Science Foundation. The first class of degree candidates enrolled in 2005 and graduated last year.

Previous contributions by the Wyllies helped the engineering program renovate laboratories and buy computers, equipment and software.

The Wyllies live on a cattle farm in Charlottesville.

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