The Hollins University Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to extend President Mary Dana Hinton’s contract through June 30, 2030. Hinton is Hollins’ 13th president and its first African American president. She joined Hollins in 2020.
“The board of trustees has the highest confidence in President Hinton, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership,” said Board Chair Debra Meade. “As we prepare for a bold future ahead for Hollins in an ever-changing world, it is essential that we ensure her visionary leadership remains in place through 2030.”
Meade noted that the contract extension keeps Hollins on a committed, vibrant course at a time when many institutions of higher learning nationally are experiencing instability.
“We recognize the tremendous leadership churn in higher education – the average has declined rapidly to 5.9 years in office for presidents today – and the toll that turnover exacts on institutions seeking steady, effective, and inspirational leadership,” she explained. “In President Hinton, we are fortunate to have an exceptional university leader who embodies these traits. This seven-year contract extension is our clear endorsement of her leadership.”
In a letter to the Hollins community, Meade cited Hinton’s numerous achievements of the past three years, including her and her team’s “steady, caring and successful leadership during the pandemic”; her vision to create and fund an Imagination Campaign that led to updated facilities, new academic programs, and enhanced access, including the HOPE scholars program for students in the greater Roanoke region; and her work to foster student success, well-being and belonging with an integrated approach that gives students better support and has improved retention rates.
Meade said Hinton’s fundraising success has been “unmatched,” securing more than $100 million in gifts to the university in her first three years, including the single largest gift in the history of women’s colleges.
This year, Hinton has overseen the development of a collaborative, transformational strategic plan for Hollins, while preparing to launch the largest comprehensive campaign in the institution’s history, Meade said.
“We could not be more pleased to have President Hinton as a part of our community, and we are grateful for her ongoing leadership of Hollins for the next seven years.”
A native of Kittrell, North Carolina, Hinton earned a Ph.D. in religion and religious education with high honors from Fordham University, a Master of Arts degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Williams College. She also holds two honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Misericordia University and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Hinton joined Hollins after serving six years as president of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, where in 2020 she was named President Emerita. She is a member of the board of directors for the American Association of Colleges and Universities, InterFaith America, Mount Saint Mary’s University (CA), The Teagle Foundation and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where she is the vice chair. Hinton is a commissioner on the AGB Council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.