Study Abroad: Celebrating the Past and Preparing for the Future

on January 30 | in Featured, President's Essay | by

What we’re doing, with your help, to make sure the future of study abroad remains bright.

By President Nancy Oliver Gray

Last November, I celebrated 100 years of Hollins study abroad (60 years in Paris and 40 years in London) with a wonderful group of alumnae who studied in those beautiful cities, as well as members of the 1842 Society. We had a delightful time, including a visit to Reid Hall, where everyone was especially pleased to see Henning Nouneberg, former director of Hollins Abroad-Paris, and to hear a reading by Professor of French Jean Fallon from her new book about the impact of our program. Other trip highlights included a lovely reception hosted by Anne Faircloth M.A. ’00 (creative writing), and her husband, Fred Beaujeu-DuFour; visits to the Marshall Center and the American Library in Paris and dinner at the Automobile Club of France, all arranged by Leslie Lykes de Galbert ’72; a coffee at the home of Gail Thurman Moore ’63 and her husband, Berrien, to recognize members of the Prinet family; and a presentation by Berrien Moore, the director of the National Weather Center and a participant in the COP21 International Conference on Climate Change. In London, we had a tour of Parliament, arranged by Molly Lowell Borthwick ’78; attended Evensong, followed by a private tour of Westminster Abbey, arranged by Suzy Mink ’74; visited the U.S. Embassy, arranged by Julie Cooper Gray ’66; and visited Somerville College at Oxford, where we met with the principal, arranged by former Hollins president Paula Brownlee. I hope you enjoy the photos on pages 6-9.

President's Essay

President Gray with Henning Nouneberg, former director of Hollins Abroad-Paris.

I was especially impressed by our group’s eagerness to learn and have new travel experiences. Participants personified the value of the liberal arts education in their intellectual curiosity and commitment to lifelong learning. It was also fun to see graduates and friends of all ages getting to know each other and begin new Hollins friendships. Once again, I was reminded of the lasting value of a Hollins education.

Fortunately for our group, we left Paris for London two days before the horrific terrorist attacks. We are grateful to report that all of our students in Paris and alumnae who reside in Paris are safe. We continue to monitor this situation closely.

As I mentioned to our participants, given the increasing need to prepare students to thrive in a world of global interdependence, we are doing all we can to ensure that the future of study abroad at Hollins remains bright. Hollins students today have opportunities to study in more than 20 places around the world, including exchanges and affiliate programs in which we participate. Don’t miss the story about Kayla Deur ’16 in this issue (p. 24), who won a research award from the School for Field Studies for the work she performed when she was in Cambodia last spring.

We are also introducing new options to our programs in Paris and London:

  • Because fewer high school and college students are studying French, we have opened a new hybrid track in our Hollins Abroad-Paris program that requires only one year of college-level French rather than the two years required for the full-immersion program. This new track makes study in Paris more accessible both to Hollins students and to visiting students.
  • As we pursue opportunities to expand our offerings in Paris, we have started an advisory council that includes Hollins faculty and representatives from institutions who regularly send visiting students on our programs. We have also implemented new marketing and recruitment initiatives.
  • In London, we have started a summer internship program that allows students to gain academic credit while interning during a seven-week period.
  • We have also started a new London Theatre Semester, which allows students to take performance courses with British faculty in acting, Shakespeare, voice, and movement.

This is a dynamic and challenging time for higher education. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our programs in Paris and London remain strong. However, we need your help. I encourage you to refer men or women studying at other institutions who might be visiting students on our study abroad programs.

For further information, contact International Programs Director Kirsten McKinney (540-362-6214 or If you have other ideas or suggestions you would like us to consider, please feel free to reach out to me or to Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Hammer (540-362-6491 or

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