Our President & Leadership

President Nancy Oliver Gray

President Nancy GrayNancy Oliver Gray became Hollins University’s 11th president in January 2005. She brought to Hollins a strong belief in the liberal arts and sciences and the need for women’s colleges in higher education.

Strategic Plan

  • President Gray is guiding the university through the second strategic plan of her tenure. The current plan, Connecting Liberal Arts Education and Experience to Achieve Results, focuses the university’s efforts through 2017.
  • The plan’s vision is for the university to become nationally recognized as the women’s liberal arts college that best unites excellence in liberal arts education with experiential learning opportunities and strong career preparation.


  • A university endowment that is at an all-time high: $180.6 million, the third highest endowment among members of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
  • No debt and a balanced operating budget for the past nine years. Hollins was ranked among “America’s 100 Most Financially Fit Colleges” by Forbes in 2013.
  • The highest amount of giving to the Hollins Fund in a single fiscal year: $3.58 million in 2013-14.
  • The largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in school history and the largest ever undertaken by a women’s college in the South. The Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places successfully concluded in 2010 with more than $161 million raised, far exceeding the goal of $125 million.
  • The creation of a number of new academic programs: majors in environmental studies and environmental science; a certificate program in leadership studies; an extensive seminar program especially designed for first-year students; a Master of Fine Arts degree in children’s book writing and illustrating; and a faculty-designed honors program that complements the university’s academic curriculum and provides students a multidisciplinary and research-based experience.
  • Renovation of historic buildings and gardens on the Hollins campus.


A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Gray holds an M.Ed. from North Texas State University and has completed additional graduate work at Vanderbilt. She also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Presbyterian College.


  • President of Converse College in South Carolina for five and a half years before coming to Hollins.
  • Serves on the boards of Princeton Theological Seminary, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and Mill Mountain Theatre.
  • Presidential sponsor for the Virginia Network of the American Council on Education’s Office of Women in Higher Education.
  • Past vice chair of the board for resource development for the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).
  • Past chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV).
  • Past vice chair of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC).

A native of Dallas, Texas, she is married to David Maxson. Between them they have seven adult children.