Guion Science Center at Sweet Briar College. Courtesy of Sweet Briar.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs. Want more education news? There’s no full-time reporter west of Richmond covering education K-college. You can help fix that. Help us fund this position.

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Sweet Briar receives $5 million gift for science building

Sweet Briar College has announced that an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous has given $5 million to renovate the Guion Science Center. Earlier this year, another alumna donated $1 million toward the project.

Both contributions were made by alumnae who majored in and have had careers based in the sciences.

In a statement, the college said: “This gift will help to modernize the building, which is home to Sweet Briar’s engineering and other science disciplines. The building will receive technology upgrades in labs, classrooms, and faculty offices. Classrooms will have more multimedia immersive capacities. The ventilation system will also be updated, including additional fume hoods, a new in-house vacuum system and a new compressed air system. The lab benches will be upgraded to streamlined lab stations.”

In 2010, a gift from 1945 graduate Margaret Jones Wyllie established an endowed engineering program, one of only two Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited engineering programs at a women’s college in the United States. Since then, the engineering department has called Guion home in addition to the other science divisions.

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Mary Baldwin University. Courtesy of Mary Baldwin.

Mary Baldwin launches free tuition program for low-income students

Mary Baldwin University in Staunton has launched a new program that eliminates 100% of tuition costs for incoming students from the Commonwealth whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, according to a release from the school.

MBU Vice President of Enrollment Management Matt Munsey has spent the past year working with with fellow university administrators to secure institutional funding to supplement state and federal aid, and bring out-of-pocket tuition costs to zero for economically disadvantaged learners, according to the school. That means participating students could graduate debt free from tuition. Access MBU is available to new, residential, full-time undergraduate students enrolling for fall 2023. 

Visit the Mary Baldwin website to learn more about Access MBU.

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Community Foundation to give out more than $100,000 scholarships in New River Valley

The Community Foundation of the New River Valley will give out more than $100,000 in scholarships in 2023 to New River Valley students. From now until January 30, 2023, the foundation’s scholarship application is open to students planning to pursue a degree or currently in school at 2- or 4-year colleges or universities as well as trade or technical schools.

Since issuing its first scholarship in 2002, the foundation has awarded $1,190,000 to 939 students. While there are dozens of CFNRV funds set up to fund scholarships each year, applicants only need to submit a single application to the foundation and indicate the scholarships for which they would like to be considered. Many funds are set up specifically with financial need in mind. In 2022, 40% of scholarship recipients were from lower-income backgrounds.

The foundation’s scholarships support a wide variety of students, whether a student is a high school senior, currently attending college or school, or someone returning to school later in life. Recipients may continue to apply for scholarships each year, with many students getting funds annually throughout their schooling to help offset the costs of attending school.

Students may review scholarship requirements and access the application at [] Any questions about the application may directed to Laura Pynn at or 540-381-8999. The application is due Monday, January 30, 2023, at 5 p.m. EST.

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Axios founder to speak at Washington and Lee

Mike Allen ’86, co-founder of Axios, will give a public talk followed by a book signing at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. This event is free, and registration is not required.

Allen will speak about “Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less,” the book he co-authored with fellow Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz.

“Smart Brevity” teaches readers how to say more with less in virtually any format. It also contains communications lessons from the authors’ decades of experience in media, business and communications.

Allen writes the Axios Daily Essentials newsletters, Axios AM, Axios PM and Axios Finish Line. He was also an executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning docu-news series, “Axios on HBO.”

A co-founder of Politico, Allen created Politico Playbook and helped build the company for its first decade. He has been named several times to Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” list. He is also an alumnus of TIME, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is from Orange County, California, and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1986.

Read more about Allen and “Smart Brevity” at

This event is sponsored by the Office of Alumni and Career Services at W&L.

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