Nancy Oliver Gray Returns to Hollins as Interim President

Hollins University has announced that President Emerita Nancy Oliver Gray has been named the school’s interim president for the 2019-20 academic year, beginning August 12.

Gray, who was president of Hollins from 2005 to 2017, will serve in that capacity while the University conducts the search for a new president to succeed Pareena Lawrence, who resigned as president effective June 30.

“We are extremely grateful to be able to benefit from Nancy’s leadership and institutional knowledge during this time of transition,” said Alexandra Trower ’86, chair of the Hollins Board of Trustees. “She left an indelible mark on our campus as Hollins’ 11th president.”

Among her many achievements, Trower noted that Gray “facilitated innovations in our undergraduate and graduate programs, oversaw major campus renovations and improvements, masterfully managed the University’s budget, and spearheaded the largest fundraising campaign in Hollins’ history and doubled the size of the endowment.”

Since her retirement two years ago, Gray has been a senior consultant at Gonser Gerber, where she helps colleges, universities, secondary schools, and other non-profit organizations nationally with institutional leadership and advancement. She will continue this work while assuming her new role at Hollins.

“When the Board of Trustees approached me to serve as interim president, I knew I had a responsibility to return to this special place and community during this time of presidential transition,” Gray stated. “I will do all I can to help the University move forward as the search for the 13th president of Hollins is conducted.”

In a message to the Hollins community, Trower said that Gray’s responsibilities as interim president “will be focused on ensuring that we have a smooth and successful leadership transition,” and that Gray will also play an important role in the presidential search process.

“With Nancy’s help and with the support of Hollins’ strong bench of senior leaders,” Trower concluded, “I can say with confidence that Hollins will remain the university of choice for the leaders, decision makers, and cultural shapers of tomorrow.”


An Important Message from the Board of Trustees to the Hollins Community

Alexandra Trower ’86, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, has shared the following announcement with students, faculty, and staff:

 

Dear members of the Hollins Community,

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Trustees to share with you the news that President Pareena Lawrence has decided to step down from her position to pursue her long-standing interest in international education and development.

We offer our sincere thanks to President Lawrence for her dedicated service and contributions to the University. Over the past two years she spearheaded important innovations to our academic and co-curricular programs while championing new institutional partnerships. We are appreciative of her efforts to help develop a new strategic plan for the University and to launch the new Apartment Village that will serve generations of students. We also thank her for her enthusiasm for our mission of educating women to live lives of consequence.

Very shortly, the Board of Trustees will announce an interim president, and over the summer we will appoint the Presidential Search Committee. In the meantime, we are fortunate that Hollins has a strong bench of senior leaders who are well prepared to oversee the University during this transition.

I wanted to deliver this news to you directly and assure you that our dedicated leadership will make this a smooth and successful transition. While change is never easy, Hollins’ future is bright, and I am confident that we will grow even stronger during this process.

Sincerely,

Alexandra Trower, Class of 1986
Chair of the Board of Trustees


Gift To Wilson Museum’s Permanent Collection Honors Hollins Staff Member

An anonymous donor has made possible a gift to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum in tribute to a longtime Hollins employee.

Alex Trower ’86, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, announced that two paintings would be added to the museum’s permanent collection “to honor the wonderful work and deep commitment of our own Brook Dickson.” Dickson, who serves as executive assistant to the president and secretary for the Board of Trustees, is retiring from Hollins on June 30.

“Recognizing Brook’s extraordinary contribution to Hollins,” Trower explained, “the donor worked with Jenine Culligan, director of the museum, to select artwork she believed Brook would admire.”

The first piece, by artist/naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, is from Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suraname, printed in 1705. “Throughout her life, Merian observed, sketched, wrote about, and beautifully portrayed the life cycles of insects, especially caterpillars and butterflies,” Trower said. “Between Art and Science: Maria Sibylla Merian was an exhibit at the Wilson Museum in the fall of 2016, and Brook was very interested in this work.”

The second painting is “Siena” by Alison Hall, who graduated from Hollins in 2001. She served as visiting assistant professor of art, painting, and drawing at the university from 2005 – 2013 and also directed Hollins’ summer study abroad program in Todi, Italy.

“Hall’s practice is rooted in ritual, meditation, and repetition,” Trower noted. “Her works are captivating in their formal complexity and subtlety. From a distance, her paintings may appear like monochrome color-field works. On a closer look, the paintings reveal unfathomable intricate geometric patterns as light plays across the surface.”

Dickson graduated from Hollins in 1995 and joined the school’s staff that same year. “Over the years she has truly inspired all of us who have been fortunate to know her as a co-worker and a friend,” said Hollins President Pareena Lawrence. Along with serving seven presidents and the Board of Trustees, and supporting the development of four strategic plans, Dickson oversaw planning for an array of campus events ranging from Hollins’ transition from a college to a university, presidential inaugurations, and the 175th anniversary celebration, to the restoration of Beale Garden, bringing distinguished speakers to campus, and organizing with Roanoke College the annual Perry F. Kendig Awards, which honor the quality and diversity of arts and culture in the Roanoke Valley. She has also helped advance the university’s environmental initiatives, grow connections within the Roanoke community, and steward major donors.

“Throughout her 24 years here, Brook has personified steady leadership in the president’s office,” Lawrence added. “Content to work behind the scenes, she exemplifies quiet dignity and unshakable perseverance. She will be deeply missed.”

 

Photo (left to right): Suzy Mink ’74, vice president for external relations; Kerry Edmonds, vice president for finance and administration; Brook Dickson ’95, executive assistant to the president and secretary for the Hollins University Board of Trustees; Kurt Navratil, Dickson’s husband; and Laura Jane Ramsburg, assistant director of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, with the two paintings given in Dickson’s honor to the Wilson Museum’s permanent collection.


Hollins Announces New Dean of Graduate Studies

Image of Julie DeLoiaHollins University has named Julie DeLoia, Ph.D., as dean of graduate studies at the university. She will oversee the university’s established graduate programs and be responsible for developing new programs.

DeLoia comes to Hollins from Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, where she had served as dean of the college and professor of arts and sciences since 2017. She also held a secondary appointment at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University School of Medicine, where she was a professor in the department of interprofessionalism. Previously, she held various academic appointments and leadership positions at the George Washington School of Public Health, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

DeLoia holds a B.S. in biology from Westminster College and a Ph.D. in human genetics from Johns Hopkins University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wistar Institute.

“We are excited to welcome DeLoia as a member of the Hollins leadership team,” said Hollins President Pareena Lawrence. “The university and our graduate programs will benefit greatly from her broad experience and expertise. She is a proven leader with a track record of innovation, including developing and launching successful distance education programs, creating flexible, hybrid course programming for working students, and tracking marketplace trends through alumni and employer engagement to inform curricular revisions.”

“I am honored to be joining Hollins University, which is one of our nation’s outstanding institutions and one that is committed to superb liberal arts education,” said DeLoia. “I have been impressed and inspired by President Lawrence’s energy and dedication to growing Hollins in alignment with its mission and values and look forward to being part of the Hollins community.”

Hollins offers coed Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in children’s literature, liberal studies, screenwriting and film studies, teaching, and teaching and learning, and Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees in children’s book writing and illustrating, children’s literature, creative writing, dance, playwriting, and screenwriting. For more information about the university’s graduate and certificate programs, visit https://www.hollins.edu/grad.


Hollins Names “Experienced, Successful, and Respected Leader” as Director of Athletics

Hollins University has appointed Myra Sims as the school’s new director of athletics. She will officially assume full-time oversight of the athletic department’s day-to-day operations in mid-May.

“I am pleased that Myra will be heading our athletic department and am excited that Hollins is able to have such an experienced, successful, and respected leader,” said Trish Hammer, the university’s vice president for academic affairs. “She’s the right person to take us into the future and guide Hollins Athletics to new heights.”

Sims comes to Hollins from Emory & Henry College, where she has been director of athletics since 2010. Sims led the strategic planning process at E&H that resulted in expanded and more competitive sports offerings, facility upgrades, and successful fundraising.

“It is a great honor to have been selected to lead the athletics program at Hollins University,” Sims said. “I was convinced during my interview that there is institutional commitment to having an athletics program where student-athletes feel empowered by competitive success on the field or court.  I am excited to begin work with President Pareena Lawrence and Vice President Hammer to help make the vision they have for athletics come to fruition.  I am especially excited to have the opportunity to work at a strong women’s college with a rich tradition of excellence in so many programs.  Hollins stands out in so many areas, and I am confident that athletics can become a stronger point of pride for the university.”

Sims is a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Asheville, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and was a member of several athletic teams. After graduation, she began her coaching career at her alma mater, serving as head volleyball coach and as an assistant women’s basketball coach. In the latter role, she was part of the UNC-Asheville team that won the NAIA National Championship in 1984.

In 1987, Sims moved to the NCAA Division III ranks and created and coached the women’s volleyball program at Atlanta’s Emory University. The following year she started the women’s basketball program at Emory and led the Eagles until 2003; highlights of her coaching tenure include two trips to the NCAA Division III National Tournament’s “Sweet 16” round.  Sims subsequently was Emory’s associate director of athletics and recreation and senior woman administrator before becoming senior associate director of athletics in 2007.

Sims has served on numerous committees in the NCAA and in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), and also served for two years as president of the National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators. She completed a master’s degree in recreation administration in 1997 at Georgia State University.

“While I am sad to leave Emory & Henry because of the relationships I have with coaches, students, colleagues, and alumni, I very much look forward to engaging with the community at Hollins,” Sims stated. “Success comes only when people are working together with common purpose, and I look forward to building connections and developing a strategic path forward with the help of Hollins students, athletics staff, alumnae, and administration.  I am excited to start learning the culture and traditions of the institution, and getting to know the community.”

Hollins recognizes intercollegiate athletics as an avenue for the empowerment of women. Hollins Athletics is dedicated to the pursuit of academic achievement and athletic excellence, and is committed to the overall success of the student-athlete. Hollins is an NCAA Division III school and is a member of the ODAC, competing in nine varsity sports: basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.

  


Hollins Appoints Executive Director of Career Development

Hollins University has named Karen M. Cardozo executive director of career development. She will oversee Hollins’ Career Center and its programs and services, implementing the university’s strategic goal of collaborating with internal and external partners to create career development initiatives that will engage students throughout their undergraduate education and beyond.

Cardozo will serve as a consultant starting September 4 and will begin her full-time employment with Hollins on January 2, 2018.

Cardozo has worked as a career counselor at Harvard University and at Williams College, as a dean of student and academic affairs at Mount Holyoke College, and as a faculty member on all campuses of the Five College Consortium of Western Massachusetts (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts). She comes to Hollins from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires, where she was a tenured associate professor of interdisciplinary studies. Her World of Work course provides substantive coaching by putting the question “Who am I and where am I going?” into cultural, historical, and philosophical context while introducing key principles of life design. Another of her courses, Leading Women, fosters a more inclusive understanding of leadership.

“I am well-equipped to translate career placement from the field back to the campus and vice versa: to educate families, employers, and the public about why a Hollins education is an excellent investment, and why hiring Hollins alumnae would be a smart move,” Cardozo said.

Cardozo holds a Ph.D. in literary American studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; a M.Ed. in higher education administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University; and a B.A. in English from Haverford College. She has authored articles for scholarly publications such as American Studies, Critical Sociology, Journal of Asian American Studies, and Pedagogy, and has presented on career, diversity, and women’s issues at the American Political Science Association; the Modern Language Association; National Women’s Studies Association; New York Leadership Education Conference; and the Society for Cultural Anthropology, as well as on many campuses. Informed by her work as a Ph.D. career coach for the international consulting firm The Professor Is In, she is currently completing a book entitled Careering Toward Authenticity: A Guide for Academics Who Want to Get a Life.

Founded in 1842, Hollins is an independent liberal arts university offering undergraduate liberal arts education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. Hollins graduates contribute to and succeed in a vast array of fields because their experience has included not only a broad education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, but also internships, study abroad, undergraduate research, and leadership training.

 

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Virginia Business Magazine: Celebrating Women’s Education, Hollins University Blends Liberal Arts and Job Preparation

President Nancy Gray and Board of Trustees Chair Judy Lambeth ’73 discuss Hollins’ 175th anniversary and how the university is ready fiscally and academically to meet the present and future challenges in higher learning in this profile from the February 2017 issue of Virginia Business magazine.

(Correction: The article states that Lambeth led the search for a new president. In fact, the presidential search committee was chaired by Linda Lorimer ’74 and Lambeth served on the committee.)

 

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Hollins Appoints Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity

Hollins University has named Idella Goodson Glenn as Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity. She will have oversight of and coordinate all inclusivity and diversity activities and programs at the university.

A collaborative leader with 25 years of higher education experience, the last 20 years focused on leading diversity and inclusion initiatives, Glenn comes to Hollins from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was director for diversity education and retention initiatives. While at VCU, she created diversity and inclusion education sessions; facilitated relationships among 13 colleges/schools on two campuses to maximize diversity and inclusion efforts; and was part of the core leadership team for the Institute on Inclusive Teaching.

Prior to joining VCU, Glenn served in a number of roles during 18 years at Furman University, including assistant vice president for student development and director of diversity and inclusion; assistant dean for diversity and inclusion; and director of multicultural affairs. She was an effective liaison between multicultural and international students and the university’s faculty, staff, and administration, and developed an ongoing educational awareness program to sensitize the campus community regarding multicultural issues.

Glenn holds a B.S. from Furman and completed her M.Ed. in higher educational administration at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Ph.D. in educational leadership at Clemson University. In 2005, the Southern Association of College Student Affairs presented her the Bobby E. Leach Award for significant contribution to the development of multicultural relations on campus. The following year, Furman honored her with the Chiles-Harrill Award in recognition of exemplary concern and exceptional caring for undergraduate students. Last August, she received the James Curtis Harkness Foundation Community Award.

Glenn is a member of the board of directors at the National Coalition Building Institute and a senior leader for their campus programs. She also serves on the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity.

 

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Hollins Names Augustana College Provost as New President

Judy Lambeth ’73, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, announced the selection of Pareena Lawrence as the school’s next president in this letter to students, faculty, staff, and alumnae on November 29, 2016.

Hollins University has announced that Pareena Lawrence, provost and chief academic officer of Augustana College, will become the school’s 12th president. She will take office in July 2017.

Lawrence will succeed Nancy Oliver Gray, who will be retiring next June after serving as president of Hollins since 2005.

“We were intent on recruiting a president who is devoted to women’s education and the liberal arts, and is a proven leader and strategic thinker,” said Judy Lambeth ’73, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. “We wanted to find an individual who embodies the values we hold dear at Hollins and can also inspire us to advance the institution even further. Pareena has all these characteristics, together with boundless energy and optimism.”

“Enabling more students to have access to transformative educational opportunities, as I have had, has been the core to my life choices,” Lawrence said. “However, it wasn’t until I was contemplating the presidency of Hollins that it hit me that everything in my life, each experience was preparing me for this extraordinary opportunity.”

Lawrence has been at Augustana, a 156-year-old, nationally ranked liberal arts college in Illinois, since 2011, and her responsibilities have gone beyond the traditional role of provost. In addition to serving as a primary architect of Augustana’s strategic plan, she has overseen an innovative set of student services, pioneered new career development initiatives, and has been a successful fundraiser and external ambassador for the college.

Lambeth described Lawrence as “a passionate believer in the power of a woman’s college. She movingly conveyed to our presidential search committee how attending a girls’ school in India changed her life. It is precisely our mission as a women’s college that has drawn Pareena to Hollins.”

“The dedicated faculty and staff members at the school gave me the freedom and support to envision who I could become,” Lawrence recalled. “They mentored me and helped me grow in determination and confidence. They instilled in me a deep sense of social responsibility and giving back to the community. My education gave me the skills to break traditional norms and the assurance that I could make something of myself based on raw talents and perseverance despite scarce resources and lack of connections.”

Lawrence, 49, graduated from the University of Delhi in 1987 with honors in economics, and two years later moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. in economics at Purdue University. In 1994, she joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota at Morris, where she became a full professor of economics and management in 2008.

“It is a plus that Pareena is an award-winning instructor and an accomplished scholar, with research focusing on international development and women’s issues,” Lambeth explained. She added that Lawrence’s training as an economist gives her an extensive understanding of the finances of higher education, and her various administrative roles have equipped her to deal with the array of challenges and opportunities that arise on a college campus.

“Pareena embodies all that is a Hollins woman: smart, articulate, warm, caring, and engaged, and aligned with our mission,” said  Alexandra Trower ’86, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and the presidential search committee. “She has the ability to execute with excellence while always looking ahead toward a great vision and strategy.”

“I am honored and delighted to join the Hollins community,” Lawrence said, “and I look forward to building on the tradition of excellence at the university.”

 

President-Elect Lawrence was officially introduced to the campus community during a special event in duPont Chapel on November 29, 2016. View her remarks here

Here is coverage of the presidential announcement from The Roanoke Times and WDBJ-TV (News 7)

 

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Hollins Names New Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing

Hollins University is welcoming a new leader in the management and implementation of student recruitment with the appointment of Jason D. Hamilton as vice president of enrollment and marketing. He begins his duties in February 2016.

Hamilton comes to Hollins from the Arkansas Commitment Program, where he has served as executive director since 2008. The non-profit organization based in Little Rock identifies and develops academically talented African-American high school students and helps them acquire the education and experience necessary to become leaders in the community and society at large. During Hamilton’s tenure, Arkansas Commitment celebrated having numerous National Merit and National Achievement recipients and nine Gates Millennium Scholars, more than any other program or school in the state. The program ensures a 100 percent matriculation rate of participating students to four-year colleges and universities across the country.

Prior to heading Arkansas Commitment, Hamilton spent six years at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee. He first served as assistant director of admission/coordinator of multicultural recruitment, then as associate director of admission and finally as director of admission. During his three years as director, he coordinated recruitment efforts that resulted in a significant increase in applications while having the highest academic profile and meeting enrollment goals.

“Jason knows ‘both sides of the fence’ and he can speak compellingly to both students and families as well as counselors and educators,” said DeAngela Burns-Wallace, assistant vice president for undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri.

David Lesesne, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid at Randolph Macon College, agrees. “Jason’s gift is that he can relate to the full spectrum of constituents.  This will distinguish him as an outstanding leader for Hollins.”

Hamilton is a 1995 graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, and holds an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is currently a member of the Common Application Outreach Advisory Group, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund Board, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Nonprofit Leadership Studies Advisory Council. He also serves as a reader/consultant for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. He received the Education Leadership Award from the Arkansas Black Democratic Caucus in 2013, and the Garrett Klein Award for Mid-Level Service from the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling that same year.

“I am greatly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve in this role at Hollins University. I look forward to contributing to the mission, traditions, and goals of Hollins,” Hamilton said. “The University plays a significant role as a women’s institution in higher education through its personal and professional development of students. My family and I are excited to be joining the Hollins community.”