In the Loop: Spring 2016

on May 26 | in In the Loop | by

Spring event highlights

The Fisk Jubilee Singers filled duPont Chapel to capacity, performing their repertoire of spirituals, an African-American genre of music the group has transformed into a high art form since it was originally founded in 1871.

Bill Bryson


The demand for free tickets for the lecture by author Bill Bryson was so high that all seats were spoken for six minutes after the ticket site went live. Probably best known for A Walk in the Woods (listed by Time magazine as one of its “All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books”), Bryson delivered a crowd-pleasing talk called “Notes from All Over.”

Rosemary Harris

Harris and Moss

Tony and Emmy award-winning actress Rosemary Harris visited campus in March. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, she is as comfortable performing Shakespeare at the Royal Shakespeare Company as she is performing an American comedy on Broadway. She is also well known for roles in television and in film (she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Tom & Viv). At Hollins she conducted an acting workshop for students. Her visit was arranged by Robert Moss, a resident artist in the M.F.A. in playwriting program, with whom Harris has worked on numerous projects.



Historian Natalie Zemon Davis gave a talk for Women’s History Month called “Histories: A Slave Family and Its Women in Colonial Suriname,” which explored the lives of three generations of slave women in the Dutch colony. This project builds on Davis’s earlier book, Women on the Margins, in which she wrote about three 17th-century women, including the artist/naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, who traveled to Suriname.

Bryson, Harris, and Moss photos by Sharon Meador


In the news

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Hollins to its list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2016. The rankings highlight public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. Hollins earned the #96 spot on the list of 100 best values in private liberal arts colleges.

A reporter from The Chronicle of Higher Education visited Hollins in February to learn more about how the campus is thriving despite the challenges with which most small colleges and universities contend. In the Chronicle’s video, released in March, President Gray, students, faculty, and administrators talk about the ways in which Hollins has not only avoided what the magazine calls the “pitfalls” facing higher education institutions, but is flourishing. Watch the video.

The ranking and review website has named Hollins one of the 100 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the country, and listed it among the five Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Virginia. Niche ranks Hollins #79 in its national listing, and #4 in the commonwealth.


Moving the needle

Supporting women’s leadership in higher ed

NeedleHollins has signed on to a call to action campaign called Moving the Needle: Advancing Women Leaders in Higher Education. The campaign is working toward ensuring that 50 percent of the chief executives of America’s higher education institutions will be women by 2030.

The campaign was launched in January 2016 by the American Council on Education, the coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions. It encourages colleges and universities to increase awareness by signing a statement of support to advance women into senior leadership positions in higher education.

In signing the statement, President Gray joined a group of more than 100 leaders who recognize the pivotal opportunity to help advance women into CEO positions as higher education is beginning to see turnover of a generation of leaders. The campaign notes that although women now earn the majority of all college degrees, they have made surprisingly little progress when it comes to gaining the top job at colleges and universities, moving the needle just three percentage points since 2006. As of 2011, women occupied only 26 percent of college and university presidencies.


Jason Hamilton

Jason D. Hamilton began his role as vice president for enrollment and marketing in February of this year. A graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, Hamilton worked as director of admission at his alma mater and most recently as executive director of the Arkansas Commitment Program. He holds an executive M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Photo: Sharon Meador


Hot topics

Students stand out in various competitions

  • Lauren Earley ’16, Erin Harrover ’19, Lisa Sekwababe ’19, and Audrey Spangler ’19 won three out of the four debates in which they participated in the 2016 Ethics Bowl, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and held at Hollins January 31-February 1. Hollins is one of 15 colleges that participate each year in the competition, which poses real-world ethical questions for students to debate. This year’s theme was “Ethics and Civic Responsibility.” Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Gettings is the faculty sponsor.
  • In February, Emani Richmond ’16 and Catie Asip ’16 competed in the Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) at Lynchburg College. SURF highlights the work of communication studies majors from Hollins, Randolph College, and Lynchburg College. Richmond won second place for her presentation, “How First-Generation Students Acclimate to the College Campus.” Asip earned an honorable mention for hers, titled “Good, Bad, or Just Plain Stupid? Tabloidization and the Public Sphere.”
  • Also in February, political science major Katherine Nelson ’18 presented “Katniss Everdeen, Apologetic Feminism, and the Glorification of Masculinity” at the 11th biennial Associated Colleges of the South Gender Studies Conference at Southwestern University.


Off to the races

New cross-country team joins roster

Cross countryA new cross-country team takes off this fall as part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). To Athletic Director Bill Mannino, the sport is the right fit for Hollins. “We have received an increased amount of interest from our prospective student-athletes and current students,” he said. “Our campus and our direct access to the greenway and Carvins Cove make the perfect setting for training and attracting excellent runners.”



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