It Takes a Community

on January 28 | in President's Essay | by

By President Pareena Lawrence

The entire Hollins community plays an important role in helping our students and alumnae/i lead lives of consequence.  

Photo of President Pareena LawrenceHollins University’s success is deeply and permanently intertwined with the accomplishments of our students and our alumnae/i. The transformative nature of our educational experience is clearly reflected by the enthusiastic support that our alumnae/i have provided throughout the history of Hollins, from generous financial support to providing career opportunities for current students and graduates.  Through this lens, Hollins commenced its strategic planning process that will guide us over the next five years. Ensuring that the Hollins experience will thrive and evolve through changing times is this plan’s highest priority. This goal is one that can be achieved only if we help our students realize their full potential by designing and building lives of consequence.

What do we mean by living a life of consequence? In describing the purpose of our curriculum and cocurricular programs, our mission statement defines it as leading “lives of active learning, fulfilling work, personal growth, achievement, and service to society.”

Reinforcing our commitment to producing successful, well-rounded students with the knowledge, skills, experience, and relationships to prosper in their personal and professional lives is how we will propel our mission forward, build upon our reputation, grow our ranks of passionate alumnae/i, and bring a broader range of students into the Hollins community. Our new strategic plan is the foundation for this investment in our future, one that will:

  • Grow undergraduate and graduate enrollment
  • Improve first-year retention and graduation rates
  • Strengthen our overall student experience
  • Create a unique educational and professional experience with exceptional learning outcomes sought by prospective students and touted by our graduates

In this issue of Hollins magazine, you’ll meet some of our students and alumnae/i who are fully immersed in building a life of consequence. Entrepreneur Elizabeth Jose ’12 has courageously and ingeniously introduced a sustainable development project in India that is improving the lives of local farmers and their families. Jackie Whitt ’03 and Megan Hennessey-Croy ’07 are providing senior military officials with crucial training in foreign policy, international relations, and national security and defense. Doug Jackson M.F.A. ’06 is delivering strategic and technical help to communities, striving to revitalize their local economies and downtown districts. And students in Professor Kathleen Nolan’s Gothic Art class are creating a digital exhibit that will help expose a valuable medieval document to a wider scholarly community.

These students and alumnae/i come from all walks of life and are engaged in a wide range of initiatives, but they all embrace challenges, overcome obstacles, and share a profound understanding that a life of consequence does not happen overnight; it is constructed brick by brick and lived day by day.

With a holistic approach that touches upon every aspect of the student experience, we will continue to educate undergraduate women and graduate students who cherish their time at Hollins and value public citizenship, integrity, concern for others, diversity, and social justice. Every member of the Hollins community has a role in this process and an important contribution to make, whether they are students, parents, faculty, staff, trustees, alumnae/i, or other constituents.

I look forward to joining you in this essential work and discovering the many ways in which our strategic vision can be realized and move us forward as a community.

You can read President Lawrence’s tweets @PresLawrence.


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