Alumnae connections

on May 15 | in Alumnae Connections | by

Danielle Deaton Rollins '90

Credit: John Aquino; WWD, October 2012

Women’s Wear Daily (10/5/12) reported on a festive gathering in New York City last October at Saks Fifth Avenue to celebrate the publication of Soiree: Entertaining With Style, by Danielle Deaton Rollins ’90. The first book for Rollins, it’s a how-to guide to throwing parties at home, complete with invitation suggestions, table setting ideas, and recipes. The only thing to avoid, Rollins told WWD, is “boring people and bad attitudes—that’s pretty much it.”



Renee Robinson M.F.A. '12

Renee Robinson M.F.A. ’12, a principal dancer with New York’s renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), was one of four artists to receive the 2012 Dance Magazine Award.

Robinson was honored at a ceremony December 3 in New York City, along with Julie Kent, senior ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre; New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff (who was a guest lecturer in Hollins’ M.F.A. program, 2006-08); and tap dancer Dianne Walker.

Robinson joined the AAADT in 1981 and holds the longest tenure of any female member. In addition to Ailey, she has worked with such acclaimed choreographers as Lar Lubovitch, Jerome Robbins, Bill T. Jones, and Judith Jamison, who presented the award to Robinson at the event. Her televised performances include President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, the Kennedy Center Awards, and the PBS special “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.” In 2003 she performed at a White House State Dinner honoring President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, and in 2008 she appeared in the first dance event hosted in the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Robinson is perhaps best known as “the woman with the umbrella” in Revelations, described as Ailey’s “signature work” by The Washington Post in a February 2012 article. “It is among the most popular and most performed works of modern dance,” the Post explains, “and millions of ballet fans around the world regard the woman with the umbrella with particular reverence.”



Kristin Ward Vines ’82, a varsity fencer while at Hollins, not only coaches the sport at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but she also competes at an international level. According to (10/19/12), she finished sixth in the Ladies Foil 50-59 age group at the Veteran Fencing World Championships in Krems, Austria, last October. “Vines, a Latin teacher, was seeded 29th for the competition but moved up to 10th after the first round and progressed through two elimination rounds before losing to the eventual gold medalist.” Competition included athletes from 10 countries, including Italy, Germany, China, and Canada.



Elva Fields, the jewelry line by Emily Wheat Maynard ’00, is creating quite a buzz. Her work was lauded in O, The Oprah Magazine last September, and just two months later she was one of Country Living’s “10 Women Entrepreneurs to Meet.” Hollins magazine got the jump on both publications by featuring Maynard’s work in its first alumnae products contest (summer 2011).



O, The Oprah Magazine featured another alumna, Valer Clark Austin ’62, in its September 2012 issue. A lengthy article detailed the painstaking work Austin and her husband, Josiah, have done to bring water back to numerous ranches they own in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The couple have been using two techniques to keep rainwater from washing away from parched land that had been overgrazed and drained for decades. They do not permit their cattle to overgraze, and they’ve built thousands of large and small rock dams that trap rainwater, allowing silt to build up and encouraging plant growth—which in turn slows down rainwater run-off and attracts wildlife. As the magazine’s writer observed, “The Austins’ aim is not to resurrect a past landscape but to create a variety of habitats, so as many native species as possible can benefit. A Garden of Eden, in miniature.”

Austin received the Distinguished Alumnae Award at her reunion in 2012.



Cornel West, LeBron James, and Barack Obama topped Ebony magazine’s 2012 “Power 100” list—but keep reading. At #23 is Cynthia Hale ’75, founder and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, and a member of Hollins’ Board of Trustees.



Emma by the River, by Betty Branch ’79, M.A.L.S. ’87, was one of dozens of sculptures selected for SculptureWalk, an outdoor exhibition in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last May-September. According to (12/31/12), “Artists gain exposure, Sioux Falls gets a great attraction, and citizens enjoy the art.”



Niam Itani M.F.A. ’11 was one of 10 finalists—and the only woman—whose films were shown at the Venice Film Festival last September. Itani’s film, Super.Full, was selected from more than 15,000 entries.



Mary Terrell Joseph ’66 was named by Best Lawyers in America as the Baton Rouge Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year for 2013. She is a member in McGlinchey Stafford’s Baton Rouge office and has more than 40 years of experience in the area of collections and creditors’ rights.



Republican Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen ’82 won the election last November for the Florida House of Representatives, District 78. Fitzenhagen is marketing director for the Condo & HOA Law Group with offices in Fort Myers and Naples.



Erin Ganaway M.F.A. ’08 is included in Best New Poets 2012, an annual anthology that consists of poems selected by a guest editor from work by new writers. Ganaway’s poem, “Meds,” originally appeared in Third Coast.



David Huddle M.A. ’69 was one of the finalists for the Library of Virginia’s 15th annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards for his novel Nothing Can Make Me Do This. Huddle was a recent distinguished professor of creative writing at Hollins.



Force of nature

Wannamaker honored for environmental advocacy

Catherine Moore Wannamaker '96Environmental lawyer Catherine Moore Wannamaker ’96 received the Distinguished Young Alumna Award during the annual 1842 Society weekend in Atlanta last November. She was set to receive the award during her reunion in 2011, but a scheduling conflict delayed the presentation. Her award citation calls her “a force of and for nature” and concludes, “You have devoted your professional life to fiercely protecting and preserving the ‘rich web of life upon which so many depend.’”

Wannamaker majored in biology under professors Renee Godard and Harriet Gray. She earned her master’s degree in biology from North Carolina State University and in 2003 received her law degree from Stanford University. After clerking for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, she drew upon her background in biology and served three years as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Since 2008, Wannamaker has been a senior attorney and lead litigator at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Atlanta. She has been a principal spokesperson on behalf of environmental groups seeking to sue the energy company BP under the Endangered Species Act for the unlawful harm or killing of endangered and threatened wildlife caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. In addition, she has led litigation on a number of nationally prominent cases, including challenging the U.S. Navy’s creation of a training range in right whale breeding grounds, saving wetlands along Georgia’s fragile coastal region, and leading efforts to end unfettered industry control of offshore drilling.

The Distinguished Young Alumnae Award honors alumnae of the 5th, 10th, or 15th reunion classes who have brought distinction to themselves and to Hollins through outstanding career performance that demonstrates the value of a liberal arts education and/or participation in community, national, or world affairs in which she has significantly bettered and strengthened our society. To nominate an alumna or to learn about previous winners, visit and click on the link under “Alumnae Accomplishments.”



Tinker Day in Richmond

The Richmond alumnae chapter celebrated Tinker Day on October 24 with an alumnae party. As chapter cochair Savon Shelton Sampson ’04 said, “The weather was perfect, the Krispy Kreme doughnuts were delicious, the fried chicken was crispy, and the Tinker Cake was sweet!” Alumnae in Texas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Hampton Roads, Virginia, also celebrated the Hollins tradition.



Anna Moncure and Kerry KinnisonLast fall the external relations office welcomed two alumnae back to Hollins: Anna Moncure ’07 (left) joined the staff as associate director of alumnae engagement, and Kerry Kinnison ’12 as assistant director of the Hollins Fund.



Department of corrections

In the summer 2012 issue of Hollins magazine, we used the wrong name for Isabel Henderson’s [’13] mother (“Hollins: Pass it on,” p. 9). Her correct name is Katherine “Kathy” Phillips Henderson ’73.

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