In the Loop: Winter 2020

on February 7 | in Homepage, In the Loop | by

Student village

“A new way to experience neighbors”

In the student village, the living is easy

In September, when we last reported on the new student village at the top of the Loop, the grass had just been planted, the cement walkways were dry, the green rockers for the porches had been delivered, and students were about to take possession. Four months later, says Jeanette Morsberger ’20, one of two community assistants, “I love the community we have built together between the four houses. We’re like our own little neighborhood.” Kaitlyn Phillips ’21 echoes Morsberger’s comments: “It’s a new way to experience neighbors.”

Students in apartment village

From left: Kaitlyn Ellis ’21, Kaitlyn Phillips ’21, Jeanette Morsberger ’20, and Isabel Meyers ’21.

Morsberger and Phillips are two of the 40 students who live in the village. “While it is primarily full of seniors, there are quite a few juniors as well,” says Melissa Hine, assistant dean of students and director of housing and residence life. They got there through a three-night lottery process last spring, with rising seniors assigned to the first night, rising juniors the second, and rising sophomores the third. The lucky lottery winners enjoy such indoor amenities as a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and granite countertops. Phillips “loves the fact that it’s a house, so it feels a bit more like a home. And we have gotten to decorate and make it our own.”

And did we mention the view?

Our back porch is definitely my favorite outside feature,” says Morsberger. “I love sitting out there and watching the sunset.”

To Morsberger, one of the biggest advantages to village life is that “it’s been a great trial run for post-grad life. I am learning a lot about what it means to take care of myself and an apartment.”

Photos by Amy Cavanaugh Pearman ’97


Snapshot of the class of 2023

  • Average GPA: 3.7on a 4.0 scale
  • Average SAT: 1180
  • Average ACT: 26
  • Number of states represented: 25
  • Number of countries represented: 13 (including U.S.)
  • Number of legacy students: 11
  • Number of Batten Scholarship winners: 4
  • Number of winners of The Secular Society Scholarship: 4
  • Percentage of incoming international students: 6%
  • Percentage of first-year domestic students of racial and ethnic diversity: 37%

New major and minor in public health

Recognizes growing interest and demand in the field

As an interdisciplinary endeavor that teaches students to recognize, assess, and address various issues of health on individual, community, and global levels, the study of public health is “an ideal fit for a liberal arts education,” says Associate Professor of Communication Studies Lori Joseph, who is directing the program at Hollins. “Specifically, what differentiates the public health program at Hollins from similar programs at other colleges and universities will be our emphasis on the principles of social justice while maintaining a scientific basis.”

Joseph explains that students “will be encouraged to take classes in each of our four academic divisions, creating a rich educational experience.”

Joseph adds that the program at Hollins will include internships and experiential le

arning opportunities that enable students to study diverse communities on both a macro and a micro scale and conduct significant undergraduate research.

Cynthia Morrow, M.D., M.P.H., has been named a visiting professor in the public health program. Currently a member of the teaching faculty at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Morrow is a member of Virginia Tech’s Public Health Advisory Board and the American Public Health Association.

Model performance at Model UN

Second year of award-winning delegations

Four Hollins students received honors last fall at the 30th Annual American Model United Nations International Collegiate Conference in Chicago.

Hannah Jensen ’20 and Mollie Davis ’22 won Outstanding Delegation for the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, while Emma Jensen Babson ’23 and Bianca Vallebrignoni ’23 were named the Outstanding Delegation for General Assembly Second Committee.

This is the second year in a row Hollins has returned with two award-winning delegations from the conference, which draws more than 900 participants each year. Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch and Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette ’09 serve as faculty sponsors.

Track and field off to a running start

New program is the university’s ninth

The new track and field team started competition during t

he 2019-20 indoor season and continues into the spring 2020 outdoor season.

“We are excited to add track to our slate of intercollegiate teams at Hollins,” said Director of Athletics Myra Sims. “We plan to focus on distance events at first, so we expect that it will enhance our ability to recruit for the cross country program as well.”

Robert Sullivan Jr., who was promoted to head coach of Hollins’ cross country team last August, has been tapped to lead the new track and field program. He is also the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Lord Botetourt High School in Daleville, Virginia, and is a level-one certified coach for USA Track and Field.


Guide to the guides

How Hollins fares in some popular student sources

Princeton Review’s 2019 Guide to Green Colleges

  • Listed as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, based on a survey conducted of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitment to the environment and sustainability 

U.S. News and World Report: 2020 Best Colleges

National Liberal Arts Colleges category

  • Placed #24 among the country’s top performers for social mobility, a new ranking in the guide that recognizes how successful colleges are at graduating students who receive federal Pell Grants
  • Ranked #30in the list of best-value schools
  • Ranked #102 overall

Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020

  • Cited as “one of the South’s leading women’s colleges”
  • Included among the nation’s small colleges and universities that are strong in art or design, dance, and film/television

Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges

  • Ranked #4 for most politically active students, #16 for most active student government, and #19 on the best college theatre list



Unwavering Commitment

Darla Schumm, John P. Wheeler Professor of religious studies, remembers Jong Ra, professor of political science, who retired last summer after more than 50 years at the university.

Jong RaWhen Jong Ra began teaching at Hollins, the Vietnam War was raging, the Hollins library was located in what is now the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, bell bottoms were in style (for the first time), Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States, the name of our campus was Hollins College, and there was no such thing as the internet. Many things changed on campus and beyond in the ensuing 51 years, but one constant held steady: Jong’s dedication to educating Hollins students about American government and electoral politics. It is difficult to measure the breadth of Jong’s influence over the course of his distinguished career. I can barely attend a social or public event in Roanoke without encountering one of his former students. When it comes up in conversation that I teach at Hollins, someone in the room inevitably declares: “Do you know Dr. Ra? He was my favorite professor!”

Almost a decade ago I landed in a new office across the hall from Jong. A few years later we served together on an ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing the sociology program. The result of the work of the committee was the creation of a new and experimental interdisciplinary department, global politics and societies (GPS), housing four major programs (sociology, international studies, religious studies, and political science) in addition to a minor in social justice. Over the course of a few short years, I went from occasionally crossing paths with Jong at faculty meetings to interacting with him on a regular basis as my hallmate and department colleague. I quickly understood why so many former students referred to him with such fondness. Jong welcomed me into the department and office pod with overwhelming warmth and generosity. Despite having many more years of experience, Jong always made me feel as though my opinion was valuable and worthy of consideration. It is not an exaggeration to say that Jong was one of my most supportive and encouraging senior colleagues, an experience shared by other faculty.

Among Jong’s most distinctive characteristics are his wicked sense of humor, his unwavering commitment to Hollins, and his unceasing energy. Jong often sauntered into my office to discuss the latest happenings about campus or to relay insights regarding the most recent political controversy. I usually left these conversations laughing at one of Jong’s witticisms, and also with a new nugget of knowledge about the world.

Jong’s influence stretches beyond Hollins and the Roanoke community. For many years he also taught in the political science department at Virginia Tech. More times than I can remember, I greeted him in the hall on a Monday morning inquiring about his weekend, only to be regaled with stories about his two- or three-day adventure to Korea, China, or other parts of the world. When I marveled at his ability to recover from jet lag so quickly, or to function with little to no sleep, he simply laughed and mused that he only requires four hours of sleep. Clearly, while most of us were sleeping, Jong was busy preparing to teach one of his many classes or producing scholarship for his numerous national and international connections.

A friend recently reflected that one of the greatest gifts we can give to other people is to make them feel blessed. To feel blessed is to be noticed, to be heard, to be valued. Jong’s long career certainly can be measured by the number of students he taught, by the number of colleagues with whom he worked, by the number of international trips he took, or by the number of scholarly papers he presented and published. To be sure, these numbers are laudable and should be celebrated. More impressive, however, are the number of students, faculty colleagues, administrators, and trustees whose lives he blessed. In the words of another colleague: Jong is a true “mensch.” I am grateful to have learned from him, laughed with him, and counted him as a colleague and friend.

Darla Schumm is chair of the faculty.

dividerThis is Us

This section shows some recent highlights of the Hollins experience.

Tinker Day 2019


Tinker Day 2019


Tinker Day 2019

The campus celebrated Tinker Day on October 10, a beautiful, bright, cool autumn day.
Photos by Sharon Meador

Fall soccer practice

Fall soccer practice
Photo by Amy Cavanaugh Pearman ’97

Painting class

Painting class taught by visiting professor Andrea Martens.
Photo by Amy Cavanaugh Pearman ’97

First Step

First Step

First Step

Seniors took their “First Step” on Front Quad just after the opening convocation in early September.
Photos by Sharon Meador

C3 Conference

C3 Conference

C3 was a two-day program for students and alumnae guest speakers and panelists.
Photos by Michael Sink

yoga class
Students enjoying a Hatha yoga class in Tayloe Gymnasium.
Photo by Amy Cavanaugh Pearman ’97

Comments are closed.

« »

Scroll to top