“Stand Tall, Forge Ahead”: Hollins Celebrates Its 176th Commencement

Alumna and Virginia House of Delegates member Jennifer Barton Boysko ’89 welcomed Hollins University’s class of 2018 to “the ranks of the strong, barrier-breaking women who have come before you” during the school’s 176th Commencement Exercises on May 20.

Boysko, who represents the commonwealth’s 86th District, was the guest speaker at this year’s event, which was held on Hollins’ historic Front Quadrangle. The university conferred 202 undergraduate and graduate degrees during the morning ceremony.

Reflecting on “what’s different between the time that I sat in your place 29 years ago and today,” Boysko noted that “most of my classmates were not as politically active or deeply civically engaged [as you are]. We realized society wasn’t perfect in 1989, but there wasn’t this sense of urgency like there is now. We all have to acknowledge that in today’s society, we cannot afford not to be engaged. During the time that you’ve been here at Hollins, we’ve seen a number of movements spark real political engagement, specifically around racial and social justice issues. You have taken a stand on many of them, making sure that we are working for a more inclusive society.”

176th Commencement - 4Boysko lauded this year’s graduates for having “grown and reached into yourselves academically, socially, and emotionally. I’m here to tell you that you should stand tall and forge ahead. You have the resources to face whatever comes your way. There are many ways for you to create a meaningful life for yourself and to make a difference. You don’t have to run for office or be the CEO of a major company. But what it does require is that you become invested in whatever you do.

“My message to you is, trust yourself as you move forward. Remain open to opportunities. Once you’ve set a long-term goal and things get difficult, reassess and regroup, knowing that you’re worth the effort. Give yourself permission to be who you are and use your life experience to make your world meaningful for you.”176th Commencement - 2

Hollins’ 176th Commencement was the first for President Pareena Lawrence, who took office as the university’s 12th president last July. She congratulated this year’s graduates on “finding and expressing your own voice. This authenticity and sense of purpose ensures that you will live a life of consequence as you define it,” and thanked them for making her feel at home at Hollins, proclaiming, “You welcomed me, you educated me, and as a result, I have personally grown in so many ways. I will be eternally grateful for your warmth, your patience, and your perspectives.”

 

176th Commencement - 3Other highlights of this year’s commencement included the presentation of the following honors:

  • Raynitra Olds, a psychology major from Baltimore, Maryland, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award was given to Antonia Nagle, an English major from Reston, Virginia. The award honors the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, recognizing the junior or senior who is preeminent in character in addition to being a good student, was given to Danielle “Dani” Raymond, an English and communication studies double-major from Fredericksburg, Virginia.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2018, was presented respectively to Erin Bragg, an English major from Richmond, Virginia, and Lan Nguyen, an economics and environmental science double-major from Hanoi, Vietnam.

 

 

Watch Hollins University’s 176th Commencement in its entirety here.

View a gallery of commencement photos here.

 

 

 

 

 


Hollins Celebrates the Class of 2018 on May 20

Hollins University will conduct its 176th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred, including the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Science, as well as the Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. The following awards will also be announced:

 

  • Faculty Awards for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest academic standings in the class of 2018.
  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, honoring a senior and a member of the Hollins community who have shown by daily living those qualities that evince a love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award, presented to a senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, highlighting the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character and leadership.

The ceremony marks the first commencement exercises at Hollins for President Pareena Lawrence, who took office last July.

Jennifer Boysko
State Delegate Jennifer Boysko ’89 will be the guest speaker at Hollins’ 176th Commencement Exercises.

Jennifer Barton Boysko, who graduated from Hollins in 1989 and is now a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing parts of western Fairfax County and eastern Loudoun County, will be the guest speaker. Boysko majored in psychology and French as an undergraduate, but found herself in politics immediately after graduation, working in the U.S. Senate office of Richard Shelby from her home state of Alabama. Later she took a job at a D.C. government-relations firm as a legislative assistant. Boysko paused her career to be a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters, but stayed busy volunteering for Democratic campaigns, including serving as the Virginia director for the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean.

In 2015, Boysko was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 86th District, and last year was successful in her re-election campaign. She credits EMILY’s List—founded by Ellen Malcolm ’69—with providing financial and logistical help in both of her elections.

Hollins’ 176th Commencement Exercises will be live-streamed here.

 

 


Alumna and State Legislator Named Guest Speaker for 176th Commencement

Jennifer Barton Boysko ’89, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing parts of western Fairfax County and eastern Loudoun County, will be the guest speaker for Hollins University’s 176th Commencement Exercises.

The ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 20, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Boysko, who double-majored in psychology and French at Hollins, embarked on a career in politics immediately after graduation. Her first job was in the U.S. Senate office of Richard Shelby from her home state of Alabama, and from there she went on to work for a Washington, D.C., government relations firm as a legislative assistant. In the early 2000s, she began volunteering with numerous Democratic campaigns in the Herndon, Virginia, area, where she has been a longtime resident, and elsewhere in the commonwealth. In 2004, she served as State Director for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.

In November 2015, Boysko was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 86th District, which encompasses the localities of Herndon, Oak Hill, and Chantilly. She credits EMILY’s List, founded by Ellen Malcolm ’69, for providing financial and logistical help in her race. She is currently a member of the Cities, Counties, and Towns Committee; the Privileges and Election Committee; and the Broadband Advisory Committee. Education funding, access to health care, and reforming the political process are among her legislative priorities.

More details about this year’s commencement can be found here.

 


175th Grads: “Take What You Have Experienced, Enrich Our Society”

Retiring President Nancy Oliver Gray was cited for setting “the highest standard of servant leadership with selflessness and compassion” during Hollins University’s 175th Commencement Exercises on May 21.

Hollins Board of Trustees Chair Judy Lambeth ’73’s recognition of both Gray and Thomas A. Barron with honorary degrees was one of the highlights of this year’s event, where 211 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred.

Commencement 2017Gray is stepping down on June 30 after 12 years as president of Hollins, “an exemplary champion of the liberal arts and sciences and of women’s colleges,” said Lambeth. She also noted that Barron worked diligently to ensure that the university thrived after he was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2008 and then served as chair from 2012 to 2015.

Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten, a member of Hollins’ class of 1971 and the Frederick P. Rose Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City, was this year’s featured speaker. She addressed the question, “What is a woman’s voice?”, and cautioned that even though “a women’s voice is beginning to be heard, it is still questioned, still qualified as different, still somewhat slightly less important than the dominant male voice in society.”

Hatten explored how today’s graduates can “take what you have experienced here at Hollins and enrich our society with…a women’s voice. Perhaps the most important advice from the past decade is that of [Facebook COO and author] Sheryl Sandberg, who wrote about women, ‘We hold ourselves back, in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.’ Try taking the confidence that you feel in your circles at Hollins into the world of business, academia, wherever you may land. Follow your passion and do what you love.”

(Mary Beth Hatten ’71 commencement address)

(Commencement photo gallery page)

The 175th Commencement Exercises included the presentation of the following honors:

  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, recognizes a senior and a member of the Hollins community who have shown by daily living those qualities that evince a love and helpfulness to other men and women. This year’s recipients are Nora Williams, a double major in Spanish and religious studies from Littleton, Colorado, and the late Caren Diefenderfer, professor of mathematics.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award was given to Lia Joseph, a sociology major from Hampton, Virginia. The award honors the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, recognizing the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character and leadership, was presented to Tegan Harcourt, a business major from Wilmington, Delaware.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2017, was received respectively by Taylor Walker, a biology major from Camillus, New York, and Samantha Stone, an English major from Patrick Springs, Virginia.

 


175th Commencement Exercises to be Held May 21

Hollins will celebrate its 175th commencement on Sunday, May 21, at 10 a.m. on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred before an audience of families, friends, and members of the campus community. Other highlights will include the presentation of the following honors:

  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Prize. Presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins, this award was established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award. Honoring an alumna of the class of 1911, this award recognizes the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character.

Renowned neuroscientist Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten, a member of Hollins’ class of 1971, is this year’s guest speaker.

Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Hollins, she earned a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University and did her postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She subsequently served with the New York University School of Medicine and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

In 1992, Hatten joined Rockefeller and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her initiatives have implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers.

In acknowledgment of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Hatten was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

More information about Hollins’ 175th commencement can be found here.


At Commencement, Ann Compton ’69 Urges the Class of 2016 to “Stay Engaged”

During Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises on May 22, Ann Compton, a trailblazer for women in broadcast journalism, asked graduates to “make a difference as you move forward.”

A member of Hollins’ class of 1969, Compton was the guest speaker for the windy but sunny morning ceremony on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle, where 176 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred. (View Compton’s address in its entirety here. See highlights of the complete ceremony here.)

Compton joined ABC News in 1973. Just one year later she became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis. She covered seven presidents during her distinguished 41-year career.

The Journalism Hall of Fame inductee told graduates, “Your generation needs to stay engaged,” and offered three ways in which they could be an agent for positive change:

  • “Bundle up all your energy and invest it in restoring trust in America.” Even if the graduates were reluctant to become active in the political arena, Compton said their involvement in civic issues “will make our society strong.”
  • “Look up to the horizon.” Just as the presidents she covered all faced unforeseeable crises during their administrations, “abrupt challenges” will happen to the graduates, too. “The path you set from this campus into the world is yours to choose,” Compton explained. “But at some point, you will also be defined by how you react to the unexpected in life. Do not fear it. Persevere. Protect your core aspirations but know that you have the strength of character to handle any adversity.”
  • “Please don’t forget to look inward.” Compton noted that “women have had lots of recent advice about leaning forward and to be bold. But please don’t lean forward at the expense of those closest to you, family and dearest friends.” She recalled an address by then-First Lady Barbara Bush to a graduating class at Wellesley College “that has stayed with me every day since. Barbara Bush said, ‘At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, not closing one more deal. You’ll regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not only on what happens in the White House, but what happens inside your house.'”

Compton was introduced by classmate and close friend Suzanne Allen Redpath ’69, who was also a pioneer for women in television news and recently retired after spending more than four decades with CBS News. Most recently, she served as the senior coordinating producer for 48 Hours, and was recognized during her career with three Emmy Awards. Compton joked that she and Redpath were “among the first women to climb the network news ladder in high heels,” but on a more serious note she stated, “Both of us worked hard, had a little bit of good luck, and build careers and families on the strong foundation of a liberal arts education at a women’s college. I believe that is still the key to success in the 21st century.”

Other highlights of the 174th Commencement Exercises included the presentation of the following honors:

  • Hailey Hendrix, an English major from High Point, North Carolina, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award was given to Sarah Pillow, a communication studies major from Orange, Virginia. The award honors the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, recognizing the junior or senior who is pre-eminent in character in addition to being a good student, was given to Emani Richmond, a communication studies major from Mebane, North Carolina.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2016, was presented respectively to Mandy Moore, an English major from Maurertown, Virginia, and Mikaela Murphy, an international studies major from High Point, North Carolina.

 

 


Hollins Celebrates 174th Commencement May 22

Hollins University will conduct its 174th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the university’s Front Quadrangle.

An expected 176 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred before an audience of families, friends, and members of the campus community. Other highlights will include the presentation of the following honors:

  •  The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities which evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award. Presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins, this award was established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award. Honoring an alumna of the class of 1911, this award recognizes the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is pre-eminent in character.
  • The Hollins University Teaching Award. Each year seniors are invited to nominate secondary school teachers who inspired them or contributed significantly to their intellectual and personal growth. The award is made possible by The Decker Endowment, established in 2007 by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker ’58 and her late husband, James DeWitt Decker.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. This award recognizes the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2016.

Ann Compton, a member of Hollins’ class of 1969 and an esteemed veteran of the White House press corps, is this year’s guest speaker.

After graduating from Hollins, Compton became the first woman ever hired as a reporter at Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV. She joined ABC News in 1973, and just one year later became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis.

Compton covered presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies during a distinguished 41-year career that took her throughout the country and around the world. She was a floor reporter at the 1976 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She also served as a panelist for the 1988 and 1992 presidential debates.

During the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Compton was the only broadcast journalist allowed to remain aboard Air Force One. She was part of the ABC News team honored with the prestigious Silver Baton Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for the network’s coverage that day.

Compton was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2000. The Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame welcomed her in 2005. Upon her retirement from ABC News in 2014, President Barack Obama stated, “Ann Compton…is not only the consummate professional but is also just a pleasure to get to know.” ABC News Radio Vice President and General Manager Steve Jones called her “one of the most amazing women in journalism.”

Hollins has celebrated commencement on Front Quadrangle since 1957.


Legendary White House Correspondent Ann Compton ’69 to Speak at 174th Commencement

Pioneering broadcast journalist and Hollins alumna Ann Compton will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises. The ceremony takes place Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

After graduating from Hollins in 1969, Compton became the first woman ever hired as a reporter at Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV. She joined ABC News in 1973, and just one year later became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis.

Compton covered presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies during a distinguished 41-year career that took her throughout the country and around the world. She was a floor reporter at the 1976 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She also served as a panelist for the 1988 and 1992 presidential debates.

During the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Compton was the only broadcast journalist allowed to remain aboard Air Force One. She was part of the ABC News team honored with the prestigious Silver Baton Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for the network’s coverage that day.

Compton was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2000. The Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame welcomed her in 2005. Upon her retirement from ABC News in 2014, President Barack Obama stated, “Ann Compton…is not only the consummate professional but is also just a pleasure to get to know.” ABC News Radio Vice President and General Manager Steve Jones called her “one of the most amazing women in journalism.”


“This Is Your Moment in Time”: Hollins Celebrates the Class of 2015 at Its 173rd Commencement

Hollins’ class of 2015 was encouraged to “live purposefully, live authentically, live courageously, live passionately, and live compassionately” during the university’s 173rd Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 24.

A total of 218 Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Arts degrees were conferred during the morning ceremony on Hollins’ historic Front Quadrangle.

A photo album with highlights of this year’s commencement ceremony can be viewed here

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, a member of Hollins’ class of 1975 and founding and senior pastor of the 5,000-member Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, was this year’s guest speaker. Considered one of America’s most dynamic pastors, Hale told the graduates, “You are among the brightest and best minds in the world. You are gifted beyond measure, graced with unlimited potential and possibility. The sky is the limit for what you can be and what you can do.

“You sit poised for the next phase of your life, excited but no doubt a little anxious about leaving the place you’ve called home for the last four years. You are wondering if you are ready for the world. The question is not, are you ready for the world, but is the world ready for you?

“You are prepared to handle whatever challenges come your way as you take your rightful place in the world as Hollins women. [But] the world still struggles to be an equitable place in providing the same opportunities for women that it affords to men.

“My sisters, this is your cue. This is your moment in time. There’s a world out there that desperately needs you, your gifts, your knowledge, your creativity, your voice.”

Hale offered five principles to guide graduates whatever path they choose to take in life:

  • “Focus your strength, time, and energy. What are the essential things you need to be doing? Get rid of all distractions. A purposeful woman is a confident woman.”
  • “Be your true self. Women, one of our greatest challenges is to believe in ourselves. Where you go is really up to you. It’s all about what lies within.”
  •  “Be courageous. Some folks think courage is the absence of fear. But, it’s the ability to press on in spite of your fear.”
  • “Passion is the key to success. Loving what you do will cause you to work hard to make it happen. Passion increases willpower when you get discouraged or tired. It makes the impossible possible.”
  • “Value each person and treat them with dignity and respect.”

Following Hale’s remarks, Thomas Barron, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, presented her the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her distinguished career in the ministry.

Hale’s address may be viewed in its entirety here.

Other honors presented at this year’s commencement included:

Faculty Awards for Academic Excellence

Given by the faculty, these awards recognize the students with the highest academic standings in the class of 2015. This year’s recipients are chemistry major Adeiye Ayodele Pilgrim (highest standing) and economics major Thao Thanh Nguyen (second highest standing).

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities that show love and helpfulness to other men and women. Chanice Holmes, a dance major, is this year’s honoree.

Annie Terrill Bushnell Award

Presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins, this award was established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother. This year’s awardee is film major and Student Government Association President Georden West.

Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award

Honoring an alumna of the class of 1911, this award recognizes the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character and leadership. Molly Budd, a biology major, is this year’s recipient.

Hollins University Teaching Award

This annual award celebrates a member of the teaching profession who has dedicated his or her time and talent in preparing the nominating student for an outstanding liberal arts education. This award is endowed by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker ’58. Sister Mary Brigid Burnham, English and Latin teacher at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Virginia, was presented this year’s award. She was nominated by English major Kathryn Sirks.