Hollins' fiscal year ends June 30.
Thanks to the generosity of Hollins alumnae and friends in the great state of Texas, the Texas Challenge was met – and exceeded – a full year early!
In summer 2008, Texas philanthropist and Hollins son and grandson Robert Priddy issued a Lone-Star-State-sized challenge to Texans to raise $100,000 in new and increased gifts to the Hollins Fund by December 31, 2010.
Texans responded to the challenge with gusto and by January 2010 we counted $108,740 in qualifying gifts and commitments, making possible a generous matching gift from Mr. Priddy and an additional $100,000 bonus for meeting the goal early.
We are deeply grateful to Mr. Priddy, who has given generously to Hollins both personally and through the Wichita Falls Community Foundation, for his support and proving once again: "Hoop-la-roo! Hoop-la-reet! Texas, Texas, Hard to Beat."
To those who gave generously to the challenge, we thank you for throwing your hat in the ring with Hollins. And because we know everything is bigger in Texas, we hope you'll keep supporting Hollins in a big Texas way. As the Hollins Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places draws to a close June 30, we hope you'll continue your valuable support and strengthen the Texas-Hollins legacy.
When Sally Ware of Rusk County, Texas, stepped off the train in Salem, Virginia and boarded a stagecoach for Hollins Institute in 1868, there was no doubt she was tired and a little anxious for what lay ahead. She had no inkling of the great connection she was starting between the Lone Star State and Virginia’s first college for women. Today, 140 years later, we continue to celebrate that special Texas-Hollins Connection.
For four years, Sally Ware was the only Texan at Hollins. Two followed her and a year later, four. By 1876, the 30 Texas women at Hollins comprised nearly a third of the student body of 104. That same year, Virginia, still reeling from the devastation of the Civil War, had only 47 students represented. Virginians, for the most part destitute after the war, could not afford to send their daughters to Hollins. Texans could and did. Into the 20th century, Texas regularly sent the second largest contingent of students.
Later, girls from Texas traveled by sleeping car under the conductor’s care, changing trains only in New Orleans. As the Texas contingency grew, Hollins sent an escort to Houston to gather up the Texas girls. "Young ladies from the State of Texas who propose to attend the ensuing session should assemble in the city of Houston by the 4th day of September. On the 5th day of September, the party will start." So promised a notice in the 1887-88 academic catalog.
Through the late 1800s and into the early 1920s Hollins women, banded together by geography, formed several state clubs, including an always strong Texas Club. A page devoted to the Texas Club in the first Spinster, published in 1898, lists the club's colors as gold and white, song as " My Prairie Land" and beverage was the Mint Julep. Its 18 members embraced the yell "Hoop-la-roo! Hoop-la-reet! Texas, Texas, Hard to Beat."
While getting to Hollins is easier now than in the train-stagecoach days, fewer Texas students enroll because young women today have unlimited options. Regardless of that, the Texas-Hollins Connection remains strong with 25 Texans currently enrolled.
It is in celebration of that 140 year heritage, that Robert Priddy issued this challenge. Mr. Priddy is the son of Swannanoa Horne Priddy, a member of Hollins' Class of 1911, in whose memory he renovated and renamed Swannanoa Hall. Mr. Priddy's paternal grandmother, Lavinia Priddy, was in the Class of 1867. As a Virginia Tech graduate, Robert Priddy has many fond memories of the Hollins campus. He wants to see Texas alumnae support Hollins in a big Texas way. He also wants to see Hollins increase her presence in Texas, building upon those long-honored connections. Texas alumnae can help him in this effort by encouraging smart young women to look at Hollins.