Sweet-Briar-College-215x300SWEET BRIAR, Va. (AP) _ Students are returning to classes at Sweet Briar College, months after the women’s college in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains seemed destined to shutter. The school’s former leaders said in March the school would close under insurmountable financial woes. But former students refused to believe that. Alumnae took matters into their own hands, raising tens of millions of dollars to assure the 114-year-old liberal arts college would open this academic year. When students return this month, they’ll have a new president. Phillip Stone left a law practice with his grown children to take over Sweet Briar. He’s a former president at another liberal arts college where he oversaw large enrollment growth. Stone says growing enrollment from the present 300 to 800 students is key to Sweet Briar’s survival.