A Time to Look Ahead

on September 4 | in President's Essay | by

Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray shares her goals for the coming year.

Interim President Nancy Oliver GrayEarlier this summer, I agreed to serve as Hollins’ interim president for the 2019-20 academic year while the university conducts the search for our next president. As we commence work to guarantee a smooth and successful leadership transition, I wanted to convey my thoughts on returning to an institution that means so much to me.

First, I join the Board of Trustees in thanking President Pareena Lawrence for her service and leadership over the past two years. Like many of you, I am grateful for the new ideas she brought to Hollins and delighted to see long-awaited projects such as the student apartment village begin. I wish her the very best as she pursues her interests in international education and development.

Since retiring from Hollins in 2017, I have enjoyed spending time with my family and helping educational and nonprofit institutions strengthen their leadership and advancement capabilities. I will continue working part time as a consultant in the future; however, when the Board of Trustees approached me to serve as interim president on a limited basis, I knew I had a responsibility to return to this special community.

While the search for our 13th president is underway, I will do all I can to help Hollins progress. However, I will need your help. As you are aware, independent liberal arts colleges and universities such as ours face considerable challenges. In order to thrive, I ask you, our alumnae/i, to focus your passion for Hollins and fervently support the institution in a multitude of ways: by being generous donors, referring prospective students, and sponsoring internships and jobs after graduation. This is a time for us to come together for the Hollins we cherish, a time to look ahead and not backward. In the months ahead, let us “lift up our eyes” and commit ourselves to strengthening and advancing this university and ensuring that Hollins is a welcoming and inspirational place in which to learn, live, and work.

As we begin the 178th academic session at Hollins, I share the confidence of Alexandra Trower ’86, chair of the Board of Trustees, that Hollins will remain the university of choice for the leaders, decision makers, and cultural shapers of tomorrow. Working in tandem with our outstanding faculty, staff, and senior administrators, and drawing upon your love for and loyalty to your alma mater, I am certain we have the wherewithal to prosper.

In the coming year, I look forward to renewing old friendships, building new relationships, and most of all, continuing as an enthusiastic champion for Hollins.


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