Sage advice from this year’s commencement speaker
What’s the key to fulfillment in life? According to Ellen Goldsmith-Vein ’84, the leader of a company that represents some of the most creative minds in the entertainment industry, it isn’t just ambition or hard work.
“Remember to be kind. Treat people the way you would want to be treated,” the owner and CEO of the Gotham Group encouraged graduates during Hollins’ 172nd Commencement Exercises on May 25. “It costs nothing, but it pays enormous dividends.”
Goldsmith-Vein is widely considered to be one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. She was the first talent manager ever featured on the cover of the “Power 100” special issue of The Hollywood Reporter in 2006, and is the only woman to own her own entertainment management company completely. In addition to boasting a client list that includes 500 top directors, writers, producers, authors, illustrators, and publishers, the Gotham Group produces a host of live-action and animated movies and television programs.
While she was composing her commencement address, Goldsmith-Vein recalled, “The thought occurred to me that what I should write about was something that I learned here at Hollins that has been a central precept in my life, something that transcends all things: Kindness. The Dalai Lama once said, ‘Be kind whenever possible.’ And then he added, ‘It is always possible.’”
Goldsmith-Vein spoke of how applying that philosophy as a business woman has helped her not only to achieve personally, but also to inspire her employees. “I have found that a kind word at the right time makes them not only happy in the moment, but more fulfilled, loyal, and in the long run more successful.
“And kindness is what keeps you human through the madness, and keeps the monster of greed out of the war of ambition.”
Following Goldsmith-Vein’s address, Thomas Barron, chair of Hollins’ Board of Trustees, awarded her the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her personal and career accomplishments.
Photo by Amy Nance-Pearman ’97
Responsive website coming this fall
New design responds to user’s screen size
When you visit the Hollins website late this fall, you’ll see something new: an updated design, new photography, and a modern approach to telling the Hollins story in compelling ways.
But a large part of the work in the redesign of the site is taking place behind the scenes. That’s because the site is being built to be responsive. NewCity, the Blacksburg, Virginia, company that is leading the marketing and admission offices through the process, began with the desktop size and then looked at the “points where the design starts to break as the screen shrinks,” said Matt Simmons, who works in client strategy and business development. “At each of the ‘breakpoints’ we decide how to modify the visual design and layout, keeping the overall look and feel intact.”
In other words, the design will adapt to the device you’re using, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
The website redesign is the second phase of Hollins’ research and rebranding efforts. During the 2012-13 academic year, research was conducted through interviews and surveys of every important Hollins audience: alumnae, current and prospective students, parents, and campus community members. Those findings helped inform the rebranding of the university, which found expression in printed materials, including a suite of admission publications and Hollins magazine. The website redesign project began with a review of proposals in the fall of 2013. The expected launch date of the new site is late October or early November.
Students invited to Lafayette Debates
Trip to D.C. preceded by statewide Ethics Bowl victory
Two Hollins students were among “the best and brightest student debaters” at the Lafayette Debates, sponsored by the Embassy of France and George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., in April. Hollins’ invitation to compete came on the heels of the university’s debate team winning the 15th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl, held in February at Randolph-Macon College.
“The executive who organizes the Lafayette Debates witnessed Hollins’ victory and was very impressed,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy James Downey, who serves as the team’s faculty coordinator.
Madchen Specht ’16 and Rory Keeley ’17 represented Hollins at the event, which focuses on addressing issues of great importance to both the United States and France as a way to encourage discourse and interaction between the two nations. Hollins faced the United States Military Academy in the first round and then defeated Hampden-Sydney College in the Rivals Round, which pitted rival schools against one another. In subsequent rounds, Hollins took on Wake Forest and NYU.
Golfers win top honors
Senior cited for performance on the course and in class
Elizabeth Cheng ’14 and Shannon Ciccarello ’17—one a seasoned collegiate golfer, and the other finishing her first year of competition in April—each had an outstanding golfing year.
Cheng, who left her mark as one of Hollins’ most celebrated student-athletes ever, dominated the ODAC conference awards. She received two All-ODAC first-team selections, was named ODAC Women’s Golfer of the Year, and won numerous ODAC Women’s Golfer of the Week awards. She was honored by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) as a three-time All East Region team member, 2013 second-team All American, and 2014 honorable-mention All American.
The standout golfer not only excelled on the course, she also performed well in the classroom. ODAC honored the chemistry major as its Women’s Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year for the past two seasons, and the WGCA named her Scholar All American each of her four collegiate seasons.
Ciccarello capped a strong first year at Hollins by tying for sixth at the ODAC tournament. Her season average of 85.6 was seventh in the conference tables. She competed in seven events in the spring, posting three top-10 finishes. In addition, Ciccarello was named All-ODAC Second Team.
Photo by Sharon Meador
Hollins Student Conference prizewinners
Cynthia Romero ’14, Cecelia Parks ’14, and Amanda Parsons ’15 were the top prizewinners in the third annual Hollins Student Conference. Sponsored by the president’s office, the conference showcases and celebrates scholarly and creative undergraduate work. Romero, an English major, read from her senior thesis, a work of creative nonfiction about her maternal grandparents. Parks, a double major in history and political science, wrote about southern women and the Civil War. Parsons, a communication studies major, analyzed the rhetorical devices used by Mary Fisher in her 1992 speech, “A Whisper of AIDS.”
Photo by Sharon Meador
Three faculty members in the children’s book illustration summer program — Elizabeth Dulemba, Lauren Mills, and Ashley Wolff — hold up the winning location names that will be added to the sign. The winners of the contest from the summer 2013 issue of Hollins magazine are:
Leslie Wessel M.A. ’10: Tar Beach (Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold)
Linda Dunlap M.A. ’12: Villa Villekulla (Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren)
Betsy Smith Krahenbuhl ’64: The Bunny Planet (The Bunny Planet by Rosemary Wells)
Anna Moncure ’07: Platform 9 3/4 (from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Margaret Winchell Miller ’77: Klickitat Street (where Beezus and Ramona live in the books by Beverly Cleary)
Photo by Sharon Meador