Kathy joined Sweet Briar in July 2022 as director of human resources. She has more than twenty-five years of experience in the field, in a variety of industries ranging from engineering manufacturing, to health care and senior living communities, to state agencies. Before coming to Sweet Briar, she was director of human resources at Westminster Canterbury of Lynchburg. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and Development from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg and a certificate from the Senior Living Leadership Program of Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional, a Senior Professional in Human Resources, and has additional human resources certifications.
Peter H. Bryan
Prior to joining Sweet Briar as Vice President for Finance, Operations and Auxiliary Enterprises, Peter was the President, CEO and Chief Compliance Officer of Heritage Wealth Management Group, LTD. in Norfolk, Va. Before launching his financial services career, Peter served five and a half years aboard ship as a line officer in the US Navy. In early 1982 he entered the financial services arena and worked as a retail stockbroker, commercial paper trader, stock loan broker and portfolio manager with several firms, before shifting to the insurance side of the industry.
Peter earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) professional designation from The American College. His connection to Sweet Briar spans several generations with his aunt (class of ’42), his cousin (class of ’63) and his wife, Jean (class of ’82.)
John joined Sweet Briar in 2022 as director of communications and marketing. He has a wealth of experience in communications and marketing, particularly in the education sector. He was the director of communications and marketing at Blue Ridge School, an all-boys boarding school in Central Virginia. Prior to that, John was director of digital marketing and social media at Hampden-Sydney College, his alma mater. John also earned a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media, and has additional experience in radio news, having worked for iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications) and CBS Radio in Chicago.
Kerry joined Sweet Briar in February 2021 as dean of student life. Prior to Sweet Briar, Kerry served as the dean of student affairs at Beacon College. In that role, he was responsible for the oversight and management of housing and residence life, student activities, counseling, health services, safety, fitness and recreation, transportation and overall student advocacy. At Sweet Briar, he utilizes his passion for leadership development to engage students in student life, and in conjunction with the student life team provide students a full co-curricular experience. Kerry holds a B.A. in communications from Rider University, a M.Ed. in student affairs practice in higher education from the University of Delaware, and an Ed.D. in educational administration from Georgia Southern University.
Claire Dennison Griffith ’80
Claire joined Sweet Briar College in July of 2015 as the Director of Major Gifts in the Alumnae Relations and Development (AR&D) Office. She became Senior Director of AR&D in 2017 and was appointed Interim Vice President in June 2023.
Claire was the Managing Director of Direct Hits Education for 11 years organizing SAT, PSAT and ACT prep classes for high school students and help families work through the college admissions process. She also managed the marketing and distribution of the Direct Hits Vocabulary series. She was on the board of a non-profit, Student Aid Foundation, which loaned money for college and graduate school to girls that live or go to school in Georgia.
After graduating from Sweet Briar with a degree in Economics, Claire joined Merrill Lynch in the Corporate Intern Executive Training Program and then spent 6 years in the as an Assistant Vice President of the Special Transactions Group in Equity Trading. Claire was the Sweet Briar Club President in New York City, New Jersey and Atlanta and served on the Alumnae Association Board.
Jeffrey E. Key
Acting Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College
Jeff Key is an expert on the politics of South Asia (the area stretching from Afghanistan to Myanmar), has conducted research in the region for three decades beginning with his doctoral work on voluntary organizations in Pakistan in 1988, and teaches globally-themed courses in the political science program at Sweet Briar. He served as Social Sciences and Humanities Division Head at Sweet Briar from 2018 through 2022.
He received his B.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, his M.A. in political science from Baylor University, and his Ph.D. in government from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a member of the Sweet Briar faculty from 1990 until 2006 and returned to Sweet Briar in 2016 following 10 years as the Haggerton Professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
Cynthia “Cindy” Peterson
Cindy became the assistant vice president for admissions in August 2023. She is a veteran of higher education with more than 20 years of experience in admissions, recruitment and enrollment, most recently at Piedmont University, a private, liberal arts university in Demorest, Georgia. She was Piedmont’s vice president for enrollment management for undergraduate and graduate admissions. Previously, she was associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment where she developed the university’s undergraduate strategic recruitment strategy for first-year, transfer, international and targeted audience students, including effective DEI initiatives. Cindy is a lifelong athlete and former director of sports and recreation ministry at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and director of athletics at Agnes Scott College. She has a Master of Education from Auburn University and a BS from James Madison University, where she was an NCAA Division I basketball player. She has extensive experience working with leaders in academic programs, student life, financial aid, and athletics to drive enrollment goals through creative, data-driven strategies.
Kathleen has been working on grants for Sweet Briar since 2003. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University and did additional graduate study in American art at the University of Virginia. Before coming to Sweet Briar, she was a fundraiser at CWRU and at Monticello, and she has taught art history at several colleges, including Sweet Briar. As the director of institutional grants, Kathleen collaborates with the faculty and professional staff to help the College obtain external grant support from a variety of funders, ranging from federal and state agencies to private foundations, corporations and individual donors. Kathleen serves on a number of College committees and works closely with the president on communications and special projects.
Jason Vittone became Sweet Briar’s athletics director in November 2022. He has worked in higher education for more than 25 years in various positions at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and II and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) institutions. Jason came to Sweet Briar from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, where he was director of athletics with oversight of sixteen NAIA teams, and also served as an advancement officer. He started the baseball program at Brescia University and was its head coach for nine years and was previously assistant baseball coach at Emporia State University and at Illinois State University. He earned a Master of Science in Education from Emporia State University and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Illinois State University.