The end of the campaign signals new beginnings

on February 8 | in President's Essay | by

Work has already begun on three new initiatives to help Hollins thrive in a competitive and rapidly changing environment.

By President Nancy Oliver Gray

President Nancy Oliver GrayIt might be tempting to think that the financial successes Hollins has experienced in the past two years—winding up the most successful campaign in our history and increasing the endowment to an all-time high of $153 million—are endpoints, successful conclusions to a long period of hard work.

In fact, however, reaching ambitious financial goals allows us to continue the true work of the university: setting and meeting strategic initiatives that make a Hollins education both enriching and relevant.

To flourish in this rapidly changing and highly competitive environment, Hollins must be distinctive in its mission while seeking even greater excellence in the years to come. Toward this end, we are focusing on three new initiatives:

We will complete a new strategic plan. Members of the Board of Trustees and the campus community are currently engaged in a strategic planning process designed to foster academic excellence, increase institutional reputation, and ensure a vibrant campus community. Our goal is to bring greater visibility to Hollins as a distinctive small university with an excellent undergraduate liberal arts program for women. You will be hearing more about this process later in the year.

We will carefully grow and shape our student enrollment. Central to this effort, we hope to elevate our academic profile and increase enrollment of talented young women as well as adults seeking to enhance their education. Our success will require wise leveraging of merit and need-based scholarships, a continued emphasis on opportunities to support scholarship needs, enhanced marketing and communication plans, and operational and tactical changes within our Office of Admission. To lead these efforts, I am delighted to welcome Stefanie Niles, our new vice president for enrollment.

Stefanie and our recruitment staff are talented and hard working, but they cannot accomplish our goals alone. We depend on you, our alumnae, to refer prospective students and regularly share with friends and colleagues the advantages of a Hollins education. You never know when a good word about Hollins will be appreciated or passed along. If you know high school students who could thrive at Hollins, or adults who might be interested in our graduate programs, please contact Stefanie at or Cathy Koon, manager, graduate services, at

We will improve student housing. Students today expect a high-quality residential experience on their college campus, and our Board of Trustees has approved a multifaceted approach to enhancing our housing options:

  • We have refurbished public spaces in the Front Quad residence halls, including kitchens, social rooms, flooring, and bathrooms. We will continue to upgrade these beautiful historic buildings.
  • A mini-campaign to renovate most of the structures in the Hill House district for student residential use is under way. Linda Lorimer ’74 and her husband, Charley Ellis, have given Hollins $1 million as a challenge grant for this $3 million project. We must raise $2 million to meet the challenge and complete this project. This fall, students moved into Rose Hill, the first completed phase, and the upgrades have been very well received. Next, we hope to renovate Rath Haus for student use, followed by Carvin, Sandusky, and the French House. We also plan to improve landscaping in the area.
  • An anonymous donor is funding the renovation of Tinker, starting with the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system beginning in the summer of 2012.
  • Our Board of Trustees has retained an architect to design new apartments at a site to be determined on the campus side of Williamson Road. Students will enjoy an independent living option while still contributing to—and benefiting from—the vibrancy of campus life. Watch for additional details about this project.
  • Once the new apartments are complete, we intend to convert the old apartments for mixed use, possibly to include housing for graduate students and others.

The times we live in are challenging, but challenging times are also exciting times, often full of opportunities to find creative solutions to difficult problems. I invite your support and ideas and look forward to sharing more information about our plans as they develop this year.


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