It is altogether fitting that a new scholarship honoring Katherine Fralin Walker was the first to qualify for the Batten Challenge. Walker is the founding director of the Batten Leadership Institute established by Batten and her late husband, Frank.
Any gift or pledge (up to five years) made by December 31, 2013, to
Hollins University has successfully met a challenge from philanthropist and alumna Jane Parke Batten '58 of Norfolk to raise $5 million – roughly two-and-a-half years before the challenge was set to end.
Batten issued the challenge in April 2010 with the condition that it be met by December 2013 in order for the university to receive a matching grant of the same amount.
The funds will enhance:
"This challenge is just the latest example of the Batten family's strong commitment to supporting women's education and leadership opportunities, and we extend our deepest gratitude to Jane and the more than 820 alumnae and friends of Hollins whose generosity made this achievement possible," said President Nancy Gray. "The Battens have had an enormous impact on Hollins, and we are delighted at how this challenge inspired others to help make a difference in the lives of young women."
The Batten family's close relationship with Hollins goes back more than 80 years. Dorothy Martin, the mother of Jane Batten's late husband, Frank (who served as chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications, Inc., from 1967 to 1998), attended Hollins in the early 1920s; Jane Batten is a member of Hollins’ class of 1958; and the Battens’ daughter, Dorothy, graduated in 1985. Frank Batten served three terms on the Hollins Board of Trustees between 1969 and 1991.
Frank and Jane Batten gave $2 million to Hollins in 1995 to establish the Batten Scholars program, and in 2002, they funded the creation of the Batten Leadership Institute, which provides a diverse array of initiatives that focus on students’ personal, interpersonal, and intellectual development; four years later they gave Hollins $2 million to further endow the Institute, and in 2008 added a $3 million gift to support its mission. In 2003, the Battens gave Hollins over $2.2 million to fund an endowed chair in leadership.