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Alumnae Relations
Hollins University
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Alumnae Accomplishments

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At the fall 2014 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Nancy Gray, Board Chair Tom Barron, Mim Farmakis '67, and Senior Philanthropic Advisor Suzy Mink '74 joined in the official presentation of a portrait of Pat Thomas Bain '49. Bain was committed throughout her lifetime to serving Hollins and encouraging alumnae giving, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for more than 14 years, until her death in 1992. The Pat Bain Award is one of the highest honors a Hollins alumna can receive. The portrait hangs in the Cromer Bergman Alumnae House. Watch the video of the portrait presentation.
The New York Times says her new book, Factory Man, "will be one of the best, and surely most talked about, books of 2014." Hollins graduate Beth Macy's M.A. '93 book is also getting coverage on NPR and other media outlets. She was inspired to write the book from her reporting in the Roanoke Times. Macy spoke at Hollins on Thursday, October 23, 2014. And, in this Southern Living article, Macy talks about her book with another acclaimed Hollins author: Southern writer and alumna Lee Smith '67.
Congratulations to Hollins alumna Ellen Parke '71, who was recently elected president of the Circumnavigators Club. The Circumnavigators Club was founded in New York as a men's club in 1902. Women were finally admitted in 1983. At present, the Club has 715 members worldwide (12 chapters in the US and two abroad). To join, a person must have crossed all meridians of longitude or latitude in one direction. The Circumnavigators Club Foundation provides four or five grants each year to rising college seniors, who travel around the world during the summer researching their chosen topic. The photo shows Ellen accepting the Club's whale's tooth gavel from the outgoing president. The gavel is quite historic, as it was given to the Club in 1910 by William Jennings Bryan, one of the Club's early members.

Alexandra Trower '86 Honored by International Women's Media Foundation

For the past 15 years, the Hollins alumna and current executive vice president of global communications at Estee Lauder has devoted herself to protecting the lives of female journalists in an increasingly complex and dangerous world.

Read more

Watch CBS This Morning interview with Trower

Congratulations to Hollins alumna Emily Compton '08, who received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, MidSouth Division, for best community / public service spot. Emily is a producer at Chattanooga’s PBS station, WTCI, and the winning piece is "One with Courage," which implores Tennesseans to stand against child abuse. (Photo: Sergio Plecas)

In 1980, Hollins alumna Suzy Mink ’74 carried the Olympic torch for part of its journey to the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid. Representing the state of Virginia, Suzy was one of just 52 runners. Suzy returned to Lake Placid, along with others of the 1980 Torch Relay Team, for a re-lighting ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Flame Cauldron at the end of January 2014.

Watch the video

Hollins alumna Ann Compton '69 received the Washington Press Club Foundation 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 70th Annual Congressional Dinner. Ann has been present at many historic moments throughout her career with ABC News, and been a trailblazer for women - truly a Hollins woman who has gone places.

An incredible Hollins alumna has celebrated an incredible birthday: Fonnie Foy Strang '28 turned 106 years young on January 31, 2014. To celebrate such an extraordinary birthday, the alumnae relations office invited all alumnae and friends to mail birthday cards to Hollins, and we then sent a package of more than 50 cards to Fonnie. While at Hollins Fonnie was May Queen and President of the SGA. Her mother, daughter, two aunts, and a great-aunt graduated from Hollins. Fonnie is the niece of Mrs. Charles H. Cocke, wife of the founder's son. She was instrumental in securing the manuscripts of alumna Margaret Wise Brown '32 for the Hollins collection (the author of Goodnight Moon) and served Hollins on the Alumnae Board.

Two Hollins Alumnae Are Champions at Washington International Horse Show

Hollins alumnae Dudley Wood MacFarlane ’77 and Devon Braswell Hamnett ’03 captured titles at the country’s leading metropolitan indoor horse show.

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Three Hollins alumnae - Courtney Hamill '05, Danielle Rollins '90, and Emily Wheat Maynard '00 - were featured in the December 2013 issue of Southern Living. Maynard and her Elva Fields' "heirloom worthy" necklace is featured, Courtney Hamill's Honeycomb Studios, small batch, handmade porcelain shop, is on p. 28, and Danielle Rollins shares her five cardinal rules for setting the perfect Southern table.

Leitner '73 and Leitner '39

Hollins Class Ring Found Seven Decades After its Loss

A fantastic Hollins story - alumna Kathleen McDonald Roglan '97 found a Hollins class ring on eBay and purchased it, contacted the alumnae office, and we helped her discover that the ring's owner is alumna Frances McDowell Leitner '39, age 95, who lost the ring 72 years ago. Mrs. Leitner's daughter, Frances Leitner '73, helped facilitate the happy reunion.

More than 90 alumnae returned to campus for the second annual Hollins C3: Career Connection Conference on October 10, 2013. They shared tips, tools, and tricks of the trade with hundreds of current students on landing that first job, and spent time networking and connecting with one another and Hollins.

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In September 2013, Hollins alumna Ann Compton '69 celebrated 40 years at ABC News, covering seven U.S. Presidents. President Obama surprised her on Air Force One with a cupcake to celebrate.

Video from ABC News


Congratulations to Hollins alumna Valerie James Abbott '93, who is co-owner of the women-owned and operated S & S Painting LLC, an interior painting firm in Richmond. In fall 2013, S & S won first place in the KILZ® Picture It Painted Professionally Award, during the annual conference of the Middle Atlantic Council of Painting and Decorating Contractors of America - for overall project excellence and superior craftsmanship.

Read more


Mary E. Hatten '71 is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at Rockefeller University. She investigates how the complex cellular architecture of the mammalian brain is assembled during embryonic development. Watch a lecture she gave during a "Parents and Science" conference at Rockefeller titled "The Dynamic Childhood Brain: Preparing for a Lifetime."

Watch the lecture

Wyndham Robertson '58 has been named to the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame. Wyndham was the first female editor at Fortune magazine and is a former business editor of Time magazine. 

Read more

Watch the video of Wyndham's induction speech

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein '84 was presented with the Distinguished Alumnae Award on January 23, 2013. In 1994 she founded The Gotham Group, which quickly grew into the largest representation firm in the world. Her work in the industry has garnered an Emmy nomination and recognition as one of the Most Powerful Women in Entertainment by Hollywood Reporter

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Renee Robinson, a principal dancer with New York’s renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who earned her master of fine arts degree in dance from Hollins, is one of four artists to receive the 2012 Dance Magazine Award. Robinson is perhaps best known as “the woman with the umbrella” in “Revelations,” considered Ailey’s “signature work” by The Washington Post.

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Hilary DuBose ’05 will never forget the sight that greeted her when she walked outside the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in August 2011. “There was this giant tent camp of people,” she recalls, who had been displaced following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation on January 12, 2010. “Thousands and thousands of tents were set up in an open public space. To see so many people still living in camps, a year and a half after the earthquake, was really shocking.” DuBose came to Haiti to help direct post-earthquake relief projects for Catholic Relief Services, the latest chapter in a career distinguished by humanitarian and social justice initiatives, both domestically and abroad. Read more

More than 50 alumnae returned to campus October 4, 2012, for Hollins' first ever C3: Career Connection Conference. Alumnae shared advice and their personal stories with students on getting that first job, internships, resumes, graduate school, and networking.

Hollins graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey M.A. '91 was named U.S. Poet Laureate for 2012-13 by the Library of Congress, and in June 2013 it was announced that she has been named to a second term.

"But for me Hollins was Mt. Parnassus, not only because it’s an idyllic campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but also because the Muses were everywhere, some of them in tweeds and smoking pipes, others steeped in defiance to easy answers, all of them devoted to liberating arts." Enjoy this article by Guneli Gun Hershiser '62, who came to Hollins from Turkey thanks to Gail Wood George ’55.


Elizabeth Vann Hobbs '58 received the Anne D. Johnston Award from the Junior League of Pittsburgh. Johnston was also a Hollins alumna of the class of 1960. Hobbs has moved more than 20 times in her 54 years of marriage and with each move made an impact on her new community.


"Who WAS that man 'Wyndham Robertson'?" We are delighted to share these remarks from that member of the class of '58, who has been captured on canvas by Annette Polan '67, in this portrait which now hangs in the library. 


"In painting, we're dictators," she says, unapologetically. "It's not about compromise. It's about truth, though." Hollins alumna Mary Page Evans '59 has a retrospective of her Impressionism-inspired art at the Delaware Art Museum through July 15.


ABC News White House Correspondent Ann Compton '69 has been inducted into the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association's Hall of Fame. Her internship as a Hollins student started her on her career path.

Compton is one of eight women honored at the Library of Virginia at a celebration March 28, 2013, for having had a significant impact on the history of Virginia. She was named to the "Virginia Women in History" for breaking new ground as the first woman White House correspondent for a national news organization.


Dr. Lorraine Lange MALS '74, who earned her master's degree at Hollins and is a former adjunct professor here, was named one of four finalists for the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year Program by the American Association of School Administrators. Lange, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools, was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year in May of 2011.


Jane Parke Batten '58 received Old Dominion University's Hugo Owens Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award. The first non-African American to win the award, Batten was recognized for her long record of community involvement and service on behalf of the disadvantaged. ODU President John Broderick lauded the selection of Batten for the MLK award, noting that “her family has been influential on many levels. She and her family have played a key role in championing the rights of minorities in this community and beyond.” Read more

Bennett The Raleigh News & Observer has named Betsy Bennett '65 "Tar Heel of the Year" for her work as director of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. "In two decades, [she] has managed to bag dinosaurs, lure scientists, sell lawmakers and inspire captains of industry to build a museum that captures the imagination of 700,000 visitors each year." Bennett was a recipient of Hollins' Distinguished Alumnae Award in 2010.
Annie Dillard '67, MA '68 was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by Governor Tom Corbett on October 19, 2011. A widely recognized scholar and author, Dillard received the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, the New York Press Club Award for Innocence in the Galapagos, and the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for An American Childhood. Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania began in 1948 as a way to honor women who have shown distinguished service through a professional career and/or voluntary service.

Danielle "Dani" Vellines Startt ’98 proved that being a self-taught baker is no impediment when it comes to professional cake decoration. She was the grand-prize winner in Ace of Cakes' Duff Goldman's "Show Your Duff" online cake contest.

Sally Mann
Sally Mann '74, M.A. '75 was featured on NPR's All Things Considered, From Lens to Photo: Sally Mann Captures Her Love, calling her "one of the most influential photographers of her time." Mann presented the 2011 Massey Lectures in American Civilization at Harvard University in May 2011.

Two prestigious awards, one amazing storyteller: Lee Smith ’67 received the University of North Carolina's 2010 Thomas Wolfe Prize on Oct. 7, and the Library of Virginia's 2010 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 16. Established in 1999, the Thomas Wolfe Prize recognizes contemporary writers with distinguished bodies of work. The Department of English bestows this prize each fall, around the time of Wolfe's October 3 birthday. In addition to receiving an honorarium and the Thomas Wolfe Prize medal, the honored writer comes to campus as the University's guest and delivers a lecture. The Library of Virginia's Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Smith for a “life’s work [that] exemplifies the very best of Virginia’s literary tradition.” Smith is the author of twelve novels, including Oral History and Fair and Tender Ladies, plus three collections of short stories. Her novel The Last Girls, based on a Mississippi River journey she took as a Hollins student, was a New York Times bestseller as well as a winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. A retired professor of English at North Carolina State University, Smith received an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. Her newest collection, Mrs. Darcy and the Blue Eyed Stranger, was published in 2010.

North Carolina Award

Margaret S. "Tog" Newman '58 received the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state bestows, on Oct. 7, 2010. Governor Beverly Perdue and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle made the presentations at the N. C. Museum of History. Newman has made a life of public service in the areas of arts and culture, with hands-on leadership at cultural, civic, and community organizations across the state and nation. She currently serves as the chair of the statewide board of directors of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. Newman chaired the N.C. Arts Council in 1993-2005 and continues to serve on the board as trustee emeritus. She is also past president and a board member of the Southern Arts Federation, a regional organization working in partnership with the state arts agencies of nine southeastern states. Newman has served as president of the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, based in Washington, D.C., on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, as the founding president of the Association of Symphony Orchestras of North Carolina; as a board member of the N.C. Conference for Women, and as a board member of the N.C. Center for International Understanding.  On the local level, she has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University, as a member of the City of Arts and Medicine Advisory Board, and as a member of the Forsyth County Health Planning Council, among many others.


Mallory Potock '09 is coordinating producer on a documentary film with Citizen Pictures called Race Across the Sky 2010. It tells the story of the most challenging mountain bike race in North America - the Leadville 100 - and both the professional riders and "average Joes" who take part in it. This year's film is a sequel to the film documenting the 2009 race, which Lance Armstrong won. Potock worked with the director and executive producer, as well as the story producer and the rest of the 40 person crew, to coordinate and execute the filming of this rocky mountain race. Citizen Pictures posted the trailer for the film at www.raceacrossthesky.com. The film will premiere in nearly 500 theaters nationwide this November.


Liana Camper-Barry '09 (who writes under the name Liana Quill) is the latest Hollins alumna to earn a prestigious writing award. Camper-Barry has been named a winner of the first Mississippi Review Poetry Series contest. Her poetry collection, Fifty Poems, is one of three books selected for publication in January 2010. She competed against poets from across the country for the award, which also includes a $1,000 cash prize. "I am so happy for Liana I am beside myself, and this is a big honor for our undergraduate creative writing program as well," said Professor of English R.H.W. Dillard. "She is certainly the youngest Hollins alumna to have a 'real' book published since possibly Anna Sevier in 1963 and Lee Smith in 1968." Dillard added that Camper-Barry will also have a selection of 15 poems from the book published in the next issue of Blackbird, an online journal of literature and the arts, for which he is writing an introduction. The Mississippi Review Poetry Series contest was judged by award-winning poet Dara Wier, who has authored 11 books of poetry and directs the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


President Obama has appointed Pamela J.H. Slutz '70 as Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi. Read more from the White House press release. Slutz is a career member of the Foreign Service, and was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia. She has also served as Deputy Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, chief of the political section in Jakarta, director of the Office of Regional and Security Policy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and deputy director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs. Earlier in her career, she was a political officer in Shanghai, Jakarta and Kinshasa, and served in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs and as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear and Space Talks with the USSR. Slutz received Hollins' Distinguished Alumnae Award on Oct. 19, 2010.


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