Focus on Philanthropy

on September 1 | in Giving, Homepage | by

$6.5 million for science, theatre, and playwriting

McDonnells continue their legacy of generosity

Elizabeth Hall McDonnell and James S. McDonnell IIIElizabeth Hall McDonnell ’62 and her husband, James S. McDonnell III, have committed $6.5 million to fund renovations to the Dana Science Building and Hollins Theatre, and endow new faculty positions in the theatre and playwriting programs.

Of the total gift commitment, $4 million is earmarked to upgrade classroom furniture, research equipment, projector systems, teaching laboratories, and technology in the Dana Science Building.

“This investment gives our outstanding faculty the tools they need to continue facilitating the serious study of the sciences in a comfortable and inviting environment,” said President Nancy Gray. “We are proud of our record of preparing women for graduate school and careers in this field. These funds help make certain we can offer quality education in the sciences for many years to come.”

The remaining $2.5 million is allocated to endow a faculty chair in the theatre program ($1,000,000); endow visiting professional artist positions in the theatre program and the graduate Playwright’s Lab ($600,000 and $500,000, respectively); and make capital improvements to the Hollins Theatre facility ($400,000). The latter includes ADA compliance for the theatre’s annex and the installation of a new wooden floor for rehearsal space.

“The Hollins Theatre is already a jewel in the crown of the university and is poised to become a highly competitive player in the world of academic theatres,” Gray explained. “This funding will ensure our position and continued success for our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

The McDonnells’ commitment continues their legacy of generosity to Hollins. In 2009, they pledged $3 million to transform and update the theatre space.


Kenan Trust boosts student aid

Challenge results in growth to endowed scholarships

Recognizing Hollins’ growing scholarship budget, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust invited the university to leverage the trust’s recent gift as motivation to grow the school’s scholarship endowment. Alumnae, parents, and friends rose to the challenge and have added a total of $1.2 million to endowed scholarships.

Who gives to scholarships? Alumnae who are thankful for the financial aid they received as students, alumnae who recognize the need for Hollins to be attractive in the higher education marketplace, and parents who want to provide the same powerful experience for students that their daughters enjoyed. We are grateful to our donors who establish these endowments, including trustee Sue Barth Dobbs ’63, who recently created a need-based scholarship.

Alumnae and friends who give to endowed scholarships help us continue our commitment to making a Hollins education affordable and attractive.


Enhancements to student life

Hollins meets Parsons Foundation challenge

To complete two important student-life projects—upgrading Moody Center and combining our academic resources in one location—Hollins successfully met the challenge from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond, Virginia, to raise $400,000 for capital projects by May 2015 in order to receive a $200,000 grant from the foundation.

Moody Center

The coffee shop and bookstore, formerly on the lower level of Moody, were moved to the main level to have greater visibility in a higher traffic area. The renovation also resulted in reconfigured and new meeting rooms, a new commuter student lounge, an updated Intercultural Center, and a larger Student Government Association (SGA) office. The SGA office was named in memory of former dean of students Baylies Hearon Brewster ’57 (née Willey) by alumnae who were students during her tenure.

R. Lowell Wine Center for Learning Excellence (CLE)

Center for Learning Excellence

Consisting of the Writing Center and the Quantitative Reasoning Center, the CLE had been housed on the first floor of East residence hall. It is now in a prime spot on the first floor of the Wyndham Robertson Library. The CLE has a classroom and areas for tutoring, public speaking, and oral presentation training. The CLE has been named in memory of R. Lowell Wine, professor emeritus of statistics, thanks to his son and daughter-in-law, J. David and Mary Ann, and a group of statistics alumnae.


Hollins Rocks the Clock

24 hours to 500 online donors

In April an anonymous donor offered Hollins $50,000 if 500 new donors would make a donation during a 24-hour period. That challenge launched Hollins Rocks the Clock on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, hitting the 500 mark at 10:00 p.m. and ending with 683 donors by midnight. Throughout the day, competing classes kept up with the news through hourly updates on Facebook and Twitter. The day finished with the class of 1997 at the top with 46 donors, followed by the class of 2005 with 31 donors; 2006 with 24; and 2000, 2002, and 2003 with 23 donors each.

The day’s gifts totaled $113,000, which, added to the anonymous donor’s $50,000, resulted in a total of $163,000 in one day for the Hollins Fund.

For Jan Nicholson ’69, “Following the progress of the challenge results reminded me that alums and friends of Hollins pull together because of the magic that is Hollins.”


Reunion 2015 Giving

Award winners:

  • 1965 won the Tinker Mountain Award for the class with the largest total gift to the Hollins Fund.
  • 1965 won the Catherine Orgill West ’51 Award for the class with the highest participation in giving to the Hollins Fund at the time of reunion.
  • 2013 won the Hollins Rock Award for the class among the 10 most recent classes with the highest Hollins Fund participation.

 Hollins Fund Giving by Reunion 2015 Classes

Award winners are listed in bold

Class Reunion Gift Chairs and Committees Total Gift Percent Participation
2013 Reunion Gift Chair
Kelsey DeForest Committee
Macy Carman
Claire McCown
Blair St. Ledger-Olsen
Mollyemma Teague
Cate Robbin Wright 
$4,202 39%
2010 Reunion Gift Chair
Holly SiglerCommittee
Colleen Berny
Tiffany Brown
Song Yi Chang
Abby Gonzalez
Kelcy Mueller Palmer
Jordan Rogas
$6,067 30%
2005 Tiffany Price Gutshall $5,806 28%
2000 Norm Ash
Sabrina Rose-Smith
$24,052 43%
1995 $18,230 23%
1990 Reunion Gift Chair
Kathryn NorthCommittee
Elizabeth Georgel Veserat
$43,760 40%
1985 Reunion Gift Chair
Anne Wallace AltizerCommittee
Linda Bertorelli Jennings
$52,469 31%
1980 Reunion Gift Chair
Wyeth Outlan BurgessCommittee
Kathy Brown Ramsperger
$122,289 27%
1975 Suzanne Hughes Detlefs
Cynthia L. Hale
$140,595 34%
1970 Committee
Sandra Kiely Kolb
Donna Shoemaker
Betsy Abbott Stefany
$157,242 46%
1965 Connie Whittet Garrett $489,781 60%
1960 Committee
Caroline Arnold Davis
Shannon Ravenel
Betsy Forsythe Hailey
Buffy Seydel Morgan
Jane Fingar Branigan
Bette Lynn Yancey
Maria Hall Temple
$130,842 60%
1955 $26,336 37%
1950 Nancy Blue Thomas $40,754 45%
1945 $15,815 35%
1940 $10,085 60%
TOTAL $1,288,326 37%

As of June 30, 2015

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