Mary Pope Maybank Hutson ’83 became the president of Sweet Briar College in November 2023. 

Mary Pope Hutson Mary Pope Maybank Hutson was named the 14th President of Sweet Briar College in November 2023. A member of the Class of 1983, she is the first alumna to hold the position.

Hutson served as Sweet Briar’s senior vice president for alumnae relations and development for the previous eight years, dramatically increasing alumnae engagement and financial support for the College, having brought extensive experience to the job from her long career in both the public and private sectors. Under her guidance, the College raised more than $140 million from 2015 through 2023.

Prior to her position at Sweet Briar, Hutson served as the executive vice president of the Land Trust Alliance (2002-2015), a national conservation organization that works to save and strengthen land conservation across America. The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) represents more than 1,100-member land trusts, including 25 national conservation groups, and is supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. Hutson made an immense impact on the American landscape and conservation leadership through her work with the LTA and its members, leading the coalition’s efforts to pass permanent tax incentives for land conservation, raising significant philanthropy, and inspiring conservation leaders.

With extensive experience in historic preservation and land conservation, Hutson’s passions are imbued with protecting and conserving the built and natural environment. Prior to her tenure at Land Trust Alliance, she was executive director of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust in South Carolina (1998-2002). She also served as the director of educational programs for the Historic Charleston Foundation, managing the oldest heritage tourism program in the United States (1993-1998).

Hutson also has a background in public service and policymaking, having worked in the office of a U.S. Senator, and for the Department of the Interior as a liaison for the Office of Territorial and International Affairs to St. Thomas, as Guam Desk Officer, and in the Office of the Assistant Secretary (1985-1989). In 1990, Hutson was appointed by the White House as special assistant to the Ambassador of Kenya.

Throughout her career, she has served in numerous volunteer leadership roles, including as the Chairwoman of the National Park Service System Advisory Board for the last four years, appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. She also served four Secretaries of Interior on the North American Wetlands Council, was appointed by Governor David Beasley as the first woman to serve on the Board of Natural Resources in South Carolina, and most recently, was appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Historic Resources in July of this year. She also currently serves on the board of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.

In 2015, when Sweet Briar College was threatened with closure, Hutson joined thousands of volunteers along with the Saving Sweet Briar Board, leading the efforts to raise funds from major donors to meet the terms of the settlement agreement. She served on the Board of Directors immediately following the successful efforts to save Sweet Briar. She joined the College’s staff in January of 2016 as vice president, leading the alumnae relations and development team.

Hutson has served Sweet Briar since her student days, when she was a student leader and a nationally-ranked varsity tennis player. After graduation, she stayed involved through Friends of Athletics and was president and fund agent for her class. In 2012, she earned a spot in Sweet Briar’s Athletics Hall of Fame.