President Hinton Among University Presidents, CEOs, and Civic Leaders Urging Passage of Bipartisan DREAM Act

Citing an uncertain future for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, their employers, families, and communities after a Texas federal judge declared DACA unlawful and closed the DACA program to future applicants, more than 400 university presidents, CEOs, and civic leaders, including Hollins University President Mary Dana Hinton, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) advocating passage of the bipartisan Durbin-Graham DREAM Act of 2021.

According to the American Immigration Council, “The DREAM Act would permanently protect certain immigrants who came to the United States as children but are vulnerable to deportation….[It] would provide current, former, and future undocumented high-school graduates and GED recipients a pathway to U.S. citizenship through college, work, or the armed services.”

“We urge the Senate to come together and immediately provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals through the passage of the bipartisan DREAM Act, and if necessary, through budget reconciliation,” the letter states. “We understand no bill is perfect, but we believe this existing bipartisan bill is the best framework to protect Dreamers rather than starting over with new legislation.”

Read the letter here. See the full list of signatories here.

The letter was convened by the American Business Immigration Coalition, a bipartisan group of more than 1,200 business leaders from across the country, and the nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which brings together over 500 college and university presidents and chancellors on immigration issues that impact higher education.



President Hinton Named to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Hollins University President Mary Dana Hinton has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, an organization established in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and others among the nation’s founders to honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good.

Announcing this year’s new members, the Academy stated, “The 2021 election provides an opportunity to recognize extraordinary people who help solve the world’s most urgent challenges, create meaning through art, and contribute to the common good from every field, discipline, and profession.”

“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” added David Oxtoby, president of the Academy. “This is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge, and leadership that can make a better world.”

The Academy’s newest members are grouped in 30 sections within five classes. Hinton is among the seven elected in the Educational and Academic Leadership section from the Leadership, Policy, and Communications class. Other new members from this section are Joy Connolly, American Council of Learned Societies; Michael M. Crow, Arizona State University; John W. Etchemendy, Stanford University;  Katherine E. Fleming, New York University; Kumble R. Subbaswamy, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and H. Holden Thorp, American Association for the Advancement of Science. They join other artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors elected this year including:

  • Economist Dirk Bergemann, Yale University
  • Civil rights lawyer and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, Columbia Law School; UCLA School of Law
  • Neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, CNN; Emory University
  • Civil rights activist and math literacy pioneer Robert Moses, The Algebra Project
  • Composer, songwriter, and performer Robbie Robertson
  • Journalist Kara Swisher, VOX Media Inc.; The New York Times
  • Atmospheric scientist Anne Thompson, NASA/Godard Space Flight Center
  • Media entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey

The Academy noted that 55% of the members elected in 2021 are women.

“While it is noteworthy that we continue to elect members more than 240 years after the Academy’s founding, this is about more than maintaining traditions,” said Academy Board of Directors Chair Nancy C. Andrews. “We recognize individuals who use their talents and their influence to confront today’s challenges, to lift our spirits through the arts, and to help shape our collective future.”

The new class joins Academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin (1781), Alexander Hamilton (1791), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Martin Luther King Jr. (1966), Anthony Fauci (1991), Antonin Scalia (2003), John Legend (2017), and Anna Devere Smith (2019).

President Hinton’s Statement On U.S. Capitol Riots

Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton shared the following message with students, faculty, and staff in response to the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021:

Dear Hollins community:

The past 24 hours have brought forth a rush of emotions.  As I watched mob violence unfold at the U.S. Capitol, I found myself genuinely fearful about the democracy on which our country was founded. A democracy which – even with its flaws – represents a promise of hope to all people. The emotions I felt were visceral as I witnessed this terrible moment in history.

My fear was matched – and at times supplanted – by my anger. Anger that some people feel so entitled to their demands that they believe they can attack the very heart – literally and figuratively – of the nation they claim to love. Anger at the inexplicable injustice of how a federal insurrection was handled versus how protesters, the majority of whom were peaceful, were treated in 2020.

Yet, I awoke this morning with a heart filled with hope. Yes, I was relieved that Congress successfully fulfilled its Constitutional mandate. But, truthfully, my hope stemmed not from what occurred in Washington, DC, overnight but from what happens at Hollins every day. My hope was born out of our mission which explicitly calls us to nurture civility, integrity, and concern for others, and encourage and value diversity and social justice. Our mission – and the daily work of our faculty, staff, and students – stands in stark contrast to what we saw yesterday. Our mission and our work is the future as a community and as a nation.

Today, more than ever before, we must embrace the call of our mission.  What we do each day counters fear mongering, hate-filled actions, injustice, and threats to democracy. With my whole heart I believe that when we learn, live, and love together, we are the counternarrative to what we saw unfold. We are called on this day to work harder, to be better, to do better, and to use our voice so that never again will we have to witness an insurgence wrought by misinformation and injustice.

Levavi Oculos,

Mary Dana Hinton


President Hinton Honored As Winner of Courageous Leadership Award

Credo, a comprehensive higher education consulting firm specializing in working with independent colleges and universities, has named Hollins University President Mary Dana Hinton as the recipient of its eighth annual Courageous Leadership Award.

Presented each year during the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC) Presidents Institute, the Courageous Leadership Award is given by Credo to recognize an innovative leader in independent higher education. Recipients demonstrate one, or many, of the following achievements as part of their institutional leadership:

  • Minimum five years in a leadership position at current or most recent institution.
  • Institutional growth across one or more key indicators: enrollment, fundraising, retention.
  • Visible champion and advocate for students and their success.
  • Proven champion of inclusive leadership.
  • Articulation and successful execution of a compelling and clear vision for their institution.
  • Proven track record of fostering collaborative relationships both inside and outside of their institution.
  • Acknowledgement by peers and/or within the field of higher education as an advocate and champion of independent higher education.
  • Proven innovation in operations, academics, net revenue, strategic planning, student success, or other critical areas.
  • Strategic, game-changing planning for and investments in campus spaces and places.

“Mary’s dynamic and inclusive leadership improves the student experience and lifts up leaders around her wherever she is,” said Tom Gavic, president and cofounder of Credo. “We have such a deep respect for Mary and know that the field of higher education is stronger with her in it.”

The award announcement from Credo stated:

“An active and respected proponent of the liberal arts, her leadership reflects a deep and abiding commitment to educational equity and the education of women.

“In a few short months [after becoming Hollins’ 13th president on August 1], Hinton’s forward thinking, team-oriented approach began coming to fruition. She engaged in dialogue with more than 200 campus community members to create a comprehensive strategy to facilitate and support diversity, equity, and inclusion. This important work was augmented by Hollins’ first annual Leading Equity, Diversity, and Justice (EDJ) Day, where more than 550 students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and trustees joined together to explore themes of race and racial justice.

“Hinton also helped champion a spirit of mutual accountability and collective responsibility, a Culture of Care, that is enabling Hollins to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. In this achievement, she embraced the transformational role of education; as a leader, she entrusted, empowered, and supported the campus community in every shared experience.

“For six years prior, Hinton served as president of the College of Saint Benedict (Saint Ben’s) in Saint Joseph, Minnesota, and was named President Emerita upon her departure. Under her leadership, Saint Ben’s put into action a collaborative strategic plan and dynamic vision to guide the institution through 2020. During her tenure, the college completed a $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, exceeding its goal. Hinton also led the process to implement a $43 million campus facilities update, enabling Saint Ben’s to provide premier facilities for teaching learning, and women’s leadership development.

“Hinton speaks frequently in the U.S. and abroad, and founded the Liberal Arts Illuminated Conference. Hinton’s scholarship focuses on higher education leadership, strategic planning, the role of education in peace building, African American religious history, and inclusion and equity in higher education. She is the author of The Commercial Church: Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America, and is a frequent op-ed contributor across higher education publications. Her TEDx talk, “Leading from the Margins,” reflects the thesis of her new book.”

To be considered for the Credo Courageous Leadership Award, a leader need not be a current or past Credo client.

President Hinton Engages in Dialogue With Michelle Alexander, Bestselling Author Of “The New Jim Crow”

Acclaimed author, civil rights lawyer and legal advocate Michelle Alexander understands that a lot of change can happen in just 10 years. A decade ago, Alexander had just published her first book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Some critics at the time considered the book’s subject dubious, especially since the nation had just elected its first Black president in Barack Obama. Still, The New Jim Crow would go on to spend almost 250 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list—transforming Alexander’s career as a legal scholar and author—and recently had a 10th-anniversary edition released with a new foreword by Alexander.

On Tuesday, September 22, Alexander “visited” Hollins (via Zoom) as part of the university’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The bestselling author had a virtual sit-down with Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton to discuss the 10th-anniversary edition of her book as well as a host of other issues including racial unrest in the U.S. and social activism both on and off-campus. “We’re grateful to have these timely and robust conversations,” said Hinton in welcoming Alexander to the videoconference, which was live-streamed exclusively to the Hollins community, with over 400 in attendance. “The text remains as relevant and resonant today, perhaps even more so, than when it was released.” (This video features highlights of their dialogue.)

“It’s hard for me to believe it’s been 10 years,” replied Alexander. “When I was researching this book, Obama hadn’t been elected president yet. Trayvon Martin hadn’t been killed. I felt desperate to sound an alarm about the crisis of mass incarceration, seeing up close [through my work] the victims of racial profiling and police violence. And now 10 years later, with all of the viral videos of brutal police killings and the uprisings, it feels in many that the whole world hasn’t changed. The [criminal justice] system continues to function in pretty much the same way as it functioned 10 years ago—or 15 years ago—or 30 years ago.”

However, Alexander was quick to add that she did find hope in the creation of new protest movements and increased social activism, in particular movements led by formerly incarcerated and convicted people. “There’s been an explosion of movement-building and organizing and leadership,” said Alexander. “And that’s enormously encouraging to me. Until we hear from the people who’ve been most harmed, transformational change is impossible. And as long as those voices are excluded from decision-making spaces and tables, transformational change is impossible.”

A graduate of Stanford Law and Vanderbilt University, Alexander has received numerous legal awards and fellowships, including a Soros Justice Fellowship, and clerked for legal luminaries such as Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Though just her debut book, The New Jim Crow has become so influential that it’s even been cited in some judicial decisions as well as read in countless book clubs and college classrooms across the country.

To that point, in advance of the Q&A on Tuesday, Hollins students were given access to free e-editions of the book (there was also a limited number of free hardcopies available). Students and faculty were then invited to meet virtually with Hinton to discuss and propose questions for the interview.

Following up on the book’s popularity on campus, Hinton said that colleges, universities, and, in particular, the liberal arts were good places where students could “rehearse what it means to have courage and have a voice and step up” before engaging politically in the bigger world off-campus.

“I don’t think it’s an overstatement that our democracy will not survive without robust liberal arts education,” Alexander replied when asked about the role of the liberal arts in relation to social justice. “That’s one of the main pillars of a successful, thriving, multi-ethnic, multi-gender, multi-faith democracy. It can help us learn more about our past and present so we can respond to our present moment with wise action and with greater concern and care for our fellow citizens. Without it, we are stuck in patterns of reactivity. We can be misled by demagogues and be inspired to resort to fear-mongering.”

Near the end of the hour-long discussion, Hinton asked The New Jim Crow author about finding courage to speak the truth in the era of Fake News and constant misinformation. “How are we ‘midwives to this next generation?’” Hinton asked, borrowing Alexander’s language, “How are we midwives as we look at the [transformational] change that’s so important?”

Alexander acknowledged the difficulty in answering that question. “It can feel overwhelming at times,” she said. “We’re at a moment where I think our democracy literally hangs in the balance. I think what’s important is for us to pause and think: How can we use our skills and our talents to their highest use for this moment? And how do we educate ourselves about history, our racial history, about the present, about how to do democracy? What’s important is not just being aware and awake, but being willing to act with some courage. Because if we see what’s happening but lack the courage to speak up or step out, we can be as awake as we want to be, but if we act without courage, it’s all for naught.”


Jeff Dingler is a graduate assistant in Hollins’ marketing and communications department. He is pursuing his M.F.A. in creative writing at the university.

President Hinton Joins Women’s College Coalition in Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Hollins University President Mary Dana Hinton is among the more than 30 leaders of women’s colleges and universities from across the nation who are commemorating the life and work of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “a leader whose words and actions changed the lives of women across generations.”


Women's College Coalition logo


The Women’s College Coalition issued the following joint statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of metastatic cancer on September 18, 2020, was a leader whose words and actions changed the lives of women across generations. She changed our lives – and the lives of our alumnae, our students and our colleagues.

Born in 1933, Justice Ginsburg was a student and mother, a lawyer and teacher, a judge and a citizen whose example requires us to stop and take stock. She studied at Cornell, Harvard and Columbia. She taught at Rutgers and Columbia. She received honorary degrees from a variety of institutions – and is perhaps the only Supreme Court justice to be so recognized in popular culture and opera audiences. Known for her gift of friendship, her work ethic and her brilliance, she defined and redefined what legal scholarship could mean in our daily lives.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and legacy remind us of the importance of what Adrienne Rich once called “claiming” rather than “receiving” an education. In this, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in life – and now in death – reminds us of the incredible value of women’s education. She reminds us that passivity in the face of injustice is unacceptable and of the call to serve, to lead, and pursue justice. Whether we met her in classroom or courtroom, in film or dissent, she taught us in the vibrancy of her intellect and the intensity of her devotion to justice.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed each of our lives – building institutions that required us to value women, changing the world through litigation and judicial decisions that made clear that women’s rights are, indeed, human rights. She called us – and is calling us – to be better leaders and to be a better nation in which liberty and justice are for all.

At women’s colleges, we prepare women who lead, who change the world, who speak for themselves and stand for justice. Today, we mourn the loss of a life lived in service and celebrate an inspiration to us all.

Tomorrow – and always – we will honor this tremendous loss by pursuing the mission and dream of a world where justice flows down like water. We will all walk humbly, seek mercy, and act justly. And, we will educate women in pursuit of a more perfect union that values us all.”


President Leocadia Zak, Agnes Scott College
President Andrea Lee, Alverno College
President Sian Beilock, Barnard College
President Sandra Doran, Bay Path University
President Suzanne Walsh, Bennett College
President Anne Skleder, Brenau University
President Kimberly Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College
President Elizabeth Meade, Cedar Crest College
President Laurie Hamen, College of Saint Benedict
President Maryanne Stevens, College of Saint Mary
President Krista Newkirk, Converse College
President Jann Rudd Weitzel, Cottey College
President Mary Dana Hinton, Hollins University
President Pamela Fox, Mary Baldwin University
President Jo Allen, Meredith College
President Elizabeth Hillman, Mills College
President Cecelia Fitzgibbon, Moore College of Art and Design
President Sonya Stephens, Mount Holyoke College
President Ann McElaney-Johnson, Mount Saint Mary’s University
President Marylou Yam, Notre Dame of Maryland University
President Dottie King, Saint Mary-of-the Woods College
President Katie Conboy, Saint Mary’s College
President Susan Henking, Salem College
President Lara Tiedens, Scripps College
President Lynn Perry Wooten, Simmons University
President Kathleen McCartney, Smith College
President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Spelman College
President ReBecca Roloff, St. Catherine University
President Dianne Lynch, Stephens College
President Meredith Woo, Sweet Briar College
President Carine Feyten, Texas Woman’s University
President Patricia McGuire, Trinity Washington University
President Paula Johnson, Wellesley College
President Vivia Fowler, Wesleyan College

President Hinton Updates the Campus Community on Fall Reopening Plans

Dear Hollins community,

We hear you.

Thank you to the 659 members of our community who completed our recent survey about our reopening plan, and for sharing your feedback and ideas. Words such as “excited,” “anxious,” “hopeful,” and “concerned” resonated throughout your responses, and we are right there with you in experiencing these feelings.

We are also very grateful to those faculty, staff, administrators, and SGA leaders who took the time to talk with us about the plan. We shared the various scenarios we face and discussed two key questions:

  • How do we deliver the best Hollins experience we can given the current constraints and changing landscape?
  • What resources or support could be provided to enhance your comfort level with a face-to-face, on-campus semester?

What came through clearly in both the survey and in our conversations was that while a vast majority desires to be together in the fall, our community also wants greater individual flexibility in how they might receive their education and deliver their courses in the fall term.

To be clear, we remain fully committed to providing the best on-campus, in-person learning environment we can offer, given the conditions, for those who want it. That said, we are also exploring ways we can honor individual students’ and faculty members’ interest in greater flexibility and learning online, and to provide the best experience possible for them in that environment. Likewise, we aim to be responsive to the concerns of staff, and are exploring ways to accommodate the needs of our employees. Please understand that there will be inevitable and necessary trade-offs in our efforts to address the interest in expanded flexibility. You will receive additional information once changes made in this regard are finalized. We ask for your patience and grace as we navigate this space.

The desire for safety is one shared by all of us in the community. We want to be together and remain physically healthy, and we need to have our emotional and social needs met as well. A healthy campus can only be achieved if we ALL commit to doing it together. If, as our survey results suggest, 10 percent of us ignore these guidelines, this effort will fail.

No president, cabinet, faculty, student, or other individual or single group can assure everyone’s health and well-being without the support and effort of us all. In a sea of unknowns, what we do know is that we have to make our communal health our top priority. In order to be on campus, we have to prioritize mutual accountability and responsibility for our communal well-being. To that end, the Culture of Care commitment is forthcoming and will need to be signed by all within our campus community. Our togetherness depends on our ability and commitment to keep one another well. Every action counts and matters.

While we continue to move toward a more flexible reopening, the reopening plan continues to be dynamic and ever evolving in response to the pandemic. That is an essential part of our work. We were asked several times in our meetings to be as transparent as possible, and to communicate about these matters regularly. As such, you will receive weekly updates so that you are aware of our actions, and updates will continue being made regularly to our Carefully Onward reopening site.

We also heard a desire to understand not only the decisions we are making, but why we are making them. We have updated our FAQ at Carefully Onward to outline the rationale behind some of our decisions. We share this in order to be transparent and to help our community members make informed decisions.

I want to end by sharing the point made quite often in our conversations: We want our students back on campus. We want the campus enlivened with your energy and voices. We think it is especially important for our first-year students to come to campus and be engaged with the Hollins experience. We also want to honor the concerns of all in our community, even as it is clear how varied – and sometimes in respectful opposition – those concerns might be.

In this time of uncertainty, what I do know with absolute certainty is that we can only be together if we work together. With this pandemic, we are only as strong as the community member least interested in our collective health and safety. We heard as much from many of you – faculty, staff, administrators, and students – who mentioned “consequences” and “enforcement” as it relates to the Culture of Care. As such, we will be sharing next week our Culture of Care conduct expectations and outcomes for noncompliance.

We fully believe in this community and what it can be if we unite in committing to a Culture of Care to look out for and protect one another.


Mary Dana Hinton
Hollins University

President Hinton’s Statement On ICE Guidelines Affecting International Students

Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced significant changes related to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program that seriously impact the experience and opportunities for international students in colleges and universities across the United States. The Hollins community stands with our international students in opposition to this policy, and supports the Association of American UniversitiesNASPA, and the American Council for Education in speaking out against this policy. We decry the unnecessarily difficult position in which our students, and the more than one million international students nationally, have been placed.

Our decision to reopen the campus and offer a wide array of learning modalities enables Hollins’ international students to continue their education. We are actively supporting our international students and are incredibly grateful to the numerous students, alumnae/i, and faculty who have reached out to us to express their concern for our international students. Our international programs director, Ramona Kirsch, and Jeri Suarez, our associate dean of cultural and community engagement, have been in contact with our students, and we will keep these lines of communication open as we approach the fall term.

As our mission states, “Hollins nurtures civility, integrity, and concern for others, encourages and values diversity and social justice.” In this and every moment, we must continue to live up to our own ideals.

Mary Dana Hinton
Hollins University



“All Of Us Must Do The Work. All Of Us Must Begin Now.”: President-Elect Hinton Calls for “Lasting, Meaningful Cultural Change” at Hollins

President-elect Mary Dana Hinton shared the following message with Hollins University students, faculty, and staff on June 19:


Dear Hollins Community,

When we were together during my visit in February, none of us could have imagined the events of this moment. We are now planning for the resumption of college in the fall under the constraints of COVID-19, and each of us also has been called to use our voice to actively work towards justice and equity. I am grateful for President Gray’s support and counsel as I have worked with her and university leadership to navigate reopening and our inclusion efforts.

I have spent the past few weeks having difficult and, often, inspiring conversations with my family, with students I have the privilege of serving, and with members of the Hollins community. I have heard the hurt, concern, anger, and disappointment many of us feel. I have also heard the belief in our mission, the desire to do the work of transformational inclusion, the love for Hollins, and the choice to be and do better. It is with a spirit of hopeful action and a deep sense of honor for the Hollins mission and community that I write to you today.

Like all institutions across the United States, we must do the important work of facilitating and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, Hollins University has a special obligation in this moment as it relates to dismantling systemic racism. At Hollins our call must not only be in reaction to recent events, but also to reconcile our institutional past with enslavement; to ensure all of our students – including the voices and concerns of students of color – are heard, seen, and valued, and feel safe on campus today; to create an environment of inclusive excellence that supports rigorous teaching and learning in the liberal arts tradition; and to develop a plan that guides our efforts to be an inclusive community. We must be accountable for equity regardless of what is happening in the world around us.

As a leader, I recognize that in the moment it is easy to react, to send out statements, and to develop plans that sit on a shelf. What we are compelled to do at Hollins University, however, is engage significant cultural change that demands far more from me, and each of us, than merely reacting. As a learning institution, we must grapple with these issues individually and collectively.

As President-elect, I have already learned that we need to reconsider building names and continue to reconcile our institutional history. I have heard students reference feeling at risk on campus and in the classroom. I know that faculty, staff, and administrators must do the work of inclusion education and professional development. The responsibility of explaining why Black lives matter, and what that requires of the community, should not fall disproportionately on community members of color. We need a committed effort to diversify our faculty and staff, and to ensure all community stakeholders have engaged in anti-racist training. I also know these items are just a beginning. The dismantling of systemic injustice also means the building of just, equitable systems. The work must be done with both urgency and deliberate process.

All of us must do the work. All of us must begin now.

I am asking that, as we navigate this critical moment for our world, our country, and our campus, we dig deeper and not only react but commit to substantive, transformative change for the campus. I implore us to look at our culture, programs, policies, and practices to determine how we can transform the institution to ensure we are always working in an equitable and just manner. I am pushing myself, and asking each of you to commit alongside me, to do the transformative work of culture-change and inclusion – which will be long, hard, and uncomfortable. Lasting, meaningful cultural change cannot be done overnight. However, this cultural shift will ensure we stand firmly by our liberal arts mission and our humane values as we put equity and inclusion at the forefront.

To that end, I will be hosting town hall meetings beginning in July for faculty, staff, students, and alumnae. These will be critically important moments as I continue to learn about Hollins’ history, as we acknowledge the challenges of our present, and as we begin to envision a pathway of action towards a shared, aspirational, and inclusive future. Out of these meetings will come deliberate, impactful action, starting now.

Over the next several weeks, in preparation for those town hall meetings, I will be in dialogue with many groups on campus including, but not limited to:

  • Black Student Alliance
  • Descendants of the Hollins community
  • Inclusivity and Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC)
  • SGA Roundtable
  • The Working Group on Slavery and its Contemporary Legacies
  • International students
  • The librarians
  • Jeri Suarez (Cultural and Community Engagement)
  • Dr. Idella Glenn (OID), Dr. LeeRay Costa (Faculty Development)
  • Hollins Alumnae Board leaders

These groups and individuals, as well as others, have been working on issues of diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to learning from and with them as we develop a process for transformation.

Critical to this moment is ensuring we have a public timeline and accountability structure. At this moment I anticipate that we will:

  •  Identify campus concerns and outline the plan of action (summer/fall)
  •  Engage/Implement solutions (fall):
    • In addition to addressing and acting on what is learned during the summer, a guiding vision will be developed and coordinated activity begun
  • Assessment (ongoing)
  • Inclusion audit completed and report to the community (December 2020)

While this timeline is subject to change as this intentionally dynamic process unfolds, I commit to updating the community regularly about our direction, significant learnings, and the action steps we are taking to develop an inclusive culture.

Even as I learn more about Hollins each day, I continue to hold close what first drew me to this institution and presidency: the mission, values, and integrity of the Hollins University community. What compels me daily, and affirms my desire to partner with each of you, is the vibrant future I know we have ahead of us.

The road we must tread together will not be easy. But as we commemorate Juneteenth this week, it has never been more fitting or more important that we commit ourselves now to working collaboratively, to being vulnerable to and with one another, to learning and leading, and to privileging hope over fear. I have every confidence we will do this work with excellence and become a stronger community because of it.

Levavi Oculos,

President-elect Hinton




President-Elect Hinton Joins Higher Ed. Leaders, New York Times Magazine to Discuss College This Fall

President-elect Mary Dana Hinton is among the higher education leaders brought together this week by The New York Times Magazine to consider “What Will College Be Like in the Fall?”

In her introduction to the discussion, Staff Writer Emily Bazelton notes the challenges colleges and universities face as the coronavirus remains a global threat this fall and winter. “On one side of the ledger are the health risks of density if students return to the dorms and classrooms and facilities….On the other side are disruption and derailment, concern about the isolation of online learning and economic loss for institutions, college towns and regions.”

Bazelton asks, “As colleges and universities make decisions now about their operations over the next academic year, what are the conditions for trying to reopen campuses? If students return, what changes to college life will be needed to contain and suppress the virus?”

Hinton and five other panelists explore “the new realities of life on campus in the midst of a pandemic,” and address specifically the following questions:

  • “If Schools Reopen, What Will Campus Life Look Like?”
  • “What About Working on Campus?”
  • “What Will Learning Be Like?”

Hinton believes reopening Hollins “will be a time of mutual accountability and collective responsibility for the well-being of one another. Healing and the safe re-establishment of community has to be the priority for student life on campus. The community has to collaborate.”

The president-elect goes on to highlight the distinction that “for students whom we want to have social and economic mobility, it’s not just the transactional part of education that matters. It’s the transformational component. And we hear from our students that the development of critical thinking, problem solving and leadership skills – skills that are so important in this search for equity and mobility – happen within and outside the classroom. Being together, being seen and heard, really matters. Also, for some of our students, they need the housing, they need food, they need safety, they need to be in community.”

Joining Hinton in the discussion are Carlos Aramayo, president of the Boston chapter (Local 26) of the union UNITE HERE, which represents dining hall staff members at colleges and universities; Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University and a physician; Richard Levin, former president of Yale University and an economist; David Wall Rice, a psychology professor and associate provost at Morehouse College; and Pardis Sabeti, a biology professor at Harvard University and a member of the Broad Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.