In the Loop: Summer 2020

on September 10 | in Homepage, In the Loop | by

“I want all girls to play chess”

Tien Nguyen ’22 is an ambassador for gender parity in the game she loves.

Chess champs

Tien Nguyen ’22 and Chanmolis Mout ’23 with the trophies they earned at the 2019-20 Virginia Scholastic and College Chess Championships.

For the second year in a row, Tien Nguyen ’22 was ranked as the top female chess player in the commonwealth at the 2019-20 Virginia Scholastic and College Chess Championships, held March 6 and 7 in Alexandria. She and Chanmolis Mout ’23 combined to win second place in the College Section’s Blitz team competition, while Nguyen took third in the Blitz individual category. Nguyen also tied for third place in the tournament’s Standard competition.

“Tien is very smart and talented, and she deserves all of this,” said Mout. “This was my first tournament, and she supported me throughout the event. She is a really good coach.”

As a five-year-old growing up in Vietnam, Nguyen received a present from her father that would not only have a profound impact on their relationship, but also spark a passion that would take her throughout the world and foster a dedication to inspire other women and girls.

That gift was a chessboard, and the initial benefit was giving Nguyen quality time with her dad. “He coached me to become a chess player and I was very happy because I could play chess with him,” she recalled.

Nguyen quickly developed into an exceptional player, and in the ensuing years, her talent took her to competitions in Vietnam and beyond. To date, she has played in 10 countries, including India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, Thailand (three times), Turkey, and the United States.

In this country, the United States Chess Federation (USCF) ranks Nguyen 67th out of 10,389 female chess players, or in the 99th percentile. Among players of all ages and genders, the USCF places her in the 98th percentile. The organization has awarded Nguyen the title of Candidate Master (given to players who achieve five performance-based “norms” in competition) for life, and has named her a U.S. Chess Expert, recognizing that she is among the top five percent of all USCF tournament chess players.

“I really want all girls to play chess,” Nguyen said, “to learn about it and enjoy it.” Competing in the Virginia Scholastic and College Chess Championships, she was struck by the fact that “I was the only girl—they all looked at me like I was a museum exhibit! Some of the male players were upset when they lost a game against me. I got used to it.” Nguyen said one of her proudest moments in serving as a role model for girls and women in the game occurred this year when the 2019 National Chess Congress Standings for her U.S. Chess Expert section were released, and she learned she was cochampion with three male players.


Training young artists of the future

Raymond Rodriguez M.F.A. ’18 named director of Joffrey Academy of Dance

Raymond RodriguezEarly last October, Raymond Rodriguez received good news: He was named director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. In this new role, he explained, “I work as a thought leader and direct strategic planning for the academy, which is the official school of the Joffrey Ballet. I represent the academy internally and externally in areas of dance training, program partnerships, philanthropic outreach, and arts advocacy.”

That’s a long list—but one for which Rodriguez has been training most of his life. A dancer since the age of six, starting in his native New York City, he attended the High School of the Performing Arts in Manhattan and trained at the American Ballet Theatre School on a full scholarship. In 1981, he joined the Cleveland Ballet as a principal dancer, and proceeded to work his way through several roles—as a dancer and then administrator—including those of associate artistic director and managing director. In 2016, he joined the Joffrey Ballet as the head of the studio company and trainee program.

As a principal dancer, Rodriguez had roles that included Albrecht in Giselle; Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; the Peruvian in Léonide Massine’s Gâité Parisienne; the Profiteer in Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table; Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake; principal roles in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Tarantella, Serenade, Agon, The Four Temperaments, Rubies, and Theme and Variations; the Champion Roper in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo; Don Jose in Roland Petit’s Carmen; and many other roles created for him. He shared the stage on international tours with such legends as Rudolf Nureyev and Cynthia Gregory.

Rodriguez was drawn to Hollins’ program in dance, he said, “through a desire to continue my education. Hollins opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities that are in front of me, giving me the tools to communicate the knowledge I possess to the young artists of tomorrow.”


Growing into a leadership role

Kayla Surles ’22 sets the pace for HU basketball

Kayla SurlesSome game-changers can affect more than the outcome on a scoreboard. Some can change the trajectory of a season or even a program. That person for Hollins? Kayla Surles ’22.

A dedicated student in only her second year at Hollins, Surles served as the point guard for a basketball team that came within a few buckets of tying a Hollins record for team victories. The team settled for a second-best-ever 11 wins. In the last two years of ODAC competition play, Surles has led Hollins basketball in wins against multiple top-five teams, including the number-one team in the league each year.

Not only did Surles lead her team in both points per game (16.6) and assists (4.4), but she ranked second in the ODAC in points and first in assists. For her efforts this past season, she was selected as Second Team All-ODAC—the only sophomore selected on first or second team.

“Having the league’s best point guard walking onto the court for us every game gave us so much confidence this year,” said Emilee Dunton, Hollins’ head coach. “We knew she would and could put this team on her back as a great floor general.”

Surles and her sister Keenan (who is two minutes younger, Kayla would like you to know) are part of a trifecta of small college athlete triplets. The third, Emma, plays volleyball for Meredith College in Raleigh, which is where the family calls home.

“Being away from home was a real challenge, especially that first year, because I’m really a homebody at heart,” Surles said. “But getting to see my family at the games last year and this year has been great and helped a lot.”

The team has already begun its strength and conditioning program to prepare for next season, during which Surles expects them to make a run for—and break—that 12-win record. Dunton isn’t quite sure what the team will look like in the winter of 2021 but is optimistic; they lose only one senior from this year’s roster and return their starting five.

“Kayla has brought renown to our campus. She is a high-character student-athlete who represents Hollins with class on and off the court,” Dunton said.

When asked what her personal goals are for the second half of her college career, Surles didn’t mention awards or personal honors. “I just want to continue to be a good leader on and off the floor. I’m young, and being a leader hasn’t always come easy to me, because maybe I’m not as assertive as I could or should be. But some of the courses I’ve taken here at Hollins have been helpful for me in that way and are helping me feel more confident in speaking up and taking on that leadership role. I’m growing into it.”




Natasha Trethewey

Jon Rou

The work of two U.S. poets laureate, Joy Harjo and Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91, was celebrated on campus last spring. Harjo, a poet, musician, and playwright, has written many works, including a memoir, Crazy Brave, which was the common reading for last fall’s incoming class. She is the first Native American poet laureate in the history of the position. In March, Trethewey came to Hollins for a theatrical reading of Native Guard, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007. Trethewey served as the 19th poet laureate from 2012 to 2014.

Joy Harjo

Karen Kuehn











Hollins Welcomes Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for 2021-22

Isabell KingoriA public health expert from Kenya with particular expertise in parasitic diseases will be spending a full academic year at Hollins as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R).

Isabell Kingori, who teaches in the School of Public Health at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, is coming to Hollins for the 2021-22 academic session to further infuse a global perspective into the university’s public health curriculum.

In January, the Fulbright S-I-R program, which supports international academic exchange between the United States and more than 160 countries around the world, approved a joint proposal by Hollins and Virginia Tech to bring an S-I-R to their respective campuses, with the individual spending 80 percent of their time at Hollins. The S-I-R will provide an international point of view to the undergraduate public health programs launched at both universities during the 2019-20 academic year.

Elizabeth Gleim ’06, an assistant professor of biology and environmental studies at Hollins, co-authored the proposal with Gillian Eastwood, an assistant professor of entomology at Virginia Tech.

“The Fulbright program requires applicants to select two specific countries from a particular continent from which to draw potential candidates for the Scholar position,” Gleim explained. “Gillian and I narrowed our choices to Kenya and South Africa. Africa has so many fascinating disease systems, and in those two countries, scientists are conducting some very interesting research. Because diseases don’t recognize borders or boundaries, it’s important that our public health students have an understanding of these different health care settings around the globe.”

Gleim noted that the existence of an endowed fund created specifically to bring international faculty members to campus was instrumental in gaining approval from the Fulbright program. “Hollins’ financial support of the S-I-R via the Jack and Tifi W. Bierley International Professorship significantly enhanced our proposal.”

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Its goal is to increase mutual understanding and support between the people of the United States and other countries while transforming lives, bridging geographic and cultural boundaries, and promoting a more peaceful and prosperous world.


Faculty, Staff Members Earn Distinguished Service Awards

Four Hollins employees have each been recognized with the Distinguished Service Award, honoring “meritorious or superior contributions” to the university.

Lee Ayers


Electrician Lee Ayers, former University Chaplain Jenny Call, Manager of Instructional Technology Brad Oechslin, and Assistant Professor of Education Teri Wagner were cited by Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray for having “gone above and beyond to continue supporting their coworkers and our students.”

Faculty and staff were invited to nominate colleagues for their efforts on behalf of the campus community throughout the 2019-20 academic year and particularly this spring during Hollins’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Distinguished Service Award Committee then forwarded their recommendations to Gray.

“The committee had an especially challenging job this year, given so many strong nominations,” Gray said.

A university employee for more than 20 years, Ayers was called “one of Hollins’ hardest-working and most dedicated and reliable employees. He loves his job and the people here. When Lee drives through the front gate in the morning, his mind is on doing the best job he can, or who he can help that day. If someone needs him, it doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes before he punches in in the morning or halfway through his lunch break—Lee will be there.”

Jenny Call


Call was described as bringing “light and love to our campus for a long time. She is always offering kindness, compassion, and understanding. She is truly selfless. Her wisdom and peace flow so effortlessly to those around her. She intentionally walks alongside all of our students and provides religious and spiritual spaces for them. She works so hard to make Hollins home to so many, and has helped our community get through difficult times. She is a blessing to everyone.”

Brad Oechslin


Oechslin and Wagner were both acknowledged for their work on behalf of the faculty during the university’s shift to remote instruction beginning in March. “He is a remarkable member of the Hollins community, providing technological support for teaching with lightning speed and good humor,” Oechslin’s nomination stated. “But with the pandemic, Brad has been a superhero to every member of our faculty. The faculty’s transition to Zoom and other online learning tools could not have gone forward without him.”

Teri Wagner


Wagner “volunteered her time and energy to develop a series of training sessions and tools. She generously shared of her time and knowledge of technologies and strategies. Teri’s blend of enthusiasm, warmth, and patience was found to be an incredible asset. She has been essential in training faculty on the ins and outs of remote teaching. Her work to prepare our faculty for teaching online and on incredibly short notice has been impressive.”

Now in its 26th year, the Distinguished Service Award is an endowed award made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor.


Answering the Call During the Pandemic

Hollins Employees Responded Rapidly and Effectively to Support the Campus Community.

As fears over the spread of COVID-19 were beginning to grip the country in early March of this year, Hollins University Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray sought to reassure students, faculty, and staff.

“We can take great comfort in knowing that the Hollins community is strong. We support one another,” she stated in a campus-wide email. “I have no doubt that the strength of our community will sustain us in the days ahead.”

That unwavering belief manifested itself in the coming weeks and months as, time and again, the university came together to assist students as the pandemic unfolded.

“An incredible group effort to get it right.”

Among the measures Hollins took at the outset to protect the campus and reduce the risk of contagion was to begin Spring Recess early on March 13 and continue the break through March 29, followed by two weeks of online classes. Initially, it was hoped that students could return to campus in mid-April. But, as the pandemic’s threat persisted, the university announced it would close residence halls for the remainder of Spring Term and classes would be conducted remotely through a combination of Zoom, a video conferencing platform, and Moodle, the university’s course management system.

“Learning how to teach remotely so quickly was a challenge for the faculty, and what I saw was an incredible group effort to get it right,” said Elizabeth Poliner, associate professor of English and director of the Jackson Center for Creative Writing. “The amount of coordination on a very short timeline to prepare the faculty, who came to this moment with such a range of experience—and, frankly, inexperience—with technology, was inspiring.”

Dean of Academic Success Michael Gettings added, “I saw so many people step up to help, support one another, and genuinely express the spirit I have seen over my two decades on campus. This was true of students, staff, and faculty.”

Both Gettings and Poliner acknowledged that outcomes varied across classes, teachers, and subjects. They also noted that few would claim the remote classrooms matched in-person learning in terms of overall quality. That, however, did not dull their admiration for the collective effort to do the best possible job under restricted circumstances.

“It warmed our hearts to see the outpouring of love and concern.”

As students departed for Spring Recess, Hollins transported 12 international students to Dulles International Airport to fly home. Unfortunately, these students were forced to return to Hollins when their flights were canceled. Out of an abundance of caution, the Virginia Department of Health requested that the students self-isolate for two weeks. Housing and Residence Life (HRL) staff led efforts to quickly prepare accommodations at the university-owned Williamson Road Apartments, located across the street from the main campus.

To ensure these students were cared for and supported, Dan Derringer, interim vice president for academic affairs; Alison Ridley, interim vice president for academic programs; and Jeri Suarez, associate dean of cultural and community engagement, invited Hollins employees to get involved. Volunteers were needed to prepare meals for the students in self-isolation and provide activities to keep them engaged. Help was also requested to put together care packages for the 16 students still residing on the main part of campus.

According to Ridley, 37 faculty, staff, and administrators participated in the effort. “The meals were incredible, ranging from homemade soups to complete Indian feasts. Faculty members prepared a virtual workout competition for the students to keep them moving, and others gave coloring books, puzzles, and games to ward off boredom and loneliness. Many also wrote notes to the students. Employees stopped by the administration building every day with treats for the care packages. We were able to prepare two care packages for each student during Spring Recess.”

Ridley applauded Meriwether Godsey (MG), Hollins’ food service provider, for “dropping everything to help. As soon as we found out about the students returning from Dulles, MG gathered everything they could and packaged items into separate containers for the six apartments we needed to use. Even though MG was not supposed to be serving meals during Spring Recess, they made two hot lunches for the students in the apartments during the week.”

Hollins’ facilities staff, she noted, “were equally wonderful, working long hours to get the apartments ready and equipping them with essentials.” Once the students moved into the apartments, Cultural and Community Engagement stayed connected by holding activities via Zoom.

“It warmed our hearts to see the outpouring of love and concern,” Ridley said.

In mid-May, Suarez coordinated a meal plan for 28 domestic and international students who, because of extenuating circumstances, were unable to go home for the summer and would be residing in the Williamson Road Apartments for 12 weeks. The cancellation of summer camps and the transition of summer graduate programs to remote instruction meant dining services would not be available.

The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges gave each student a supermarket gift card to cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches. But 12 weeks of dinners still had to be provided.

“We reached out to see if faculty, staff, and alumnae would be willing to ‘adopt’ an apartment for a week of dinners during the summer,” Suarez said.

Seventy-six community members, a third of whom gave assistance over multiple weeks, met students’ needs in a number of ways. “They could prepare hot meals each day of the week they selected. Or they could precook the meals, freeze them, and drop them off at the beginning of the week,” Suarez explained. “They could also give supermarket or restaurant gift cards, or do a combination of all of these options.”

Suarez arranged for food donations through Feeding America Southwest Virginia and Keystone Community Center, while the university’s community garden offered fresh produce on a weekly basis.

“I was buoyed by the strength and resilience of our student body.”

While faculty sought to maximize the effectiveness of their virtual classrooms, others worked throughout the rest of Spring Term to minimize the impact of separation.

The Hollins Activity Board organized game nights, movie nights, and even online scavenger hunts. Student leaders worked behind the scenes to boost their own spirits, and those of their classmates, and many student organizations continued to meet virtually. University Chaplain Jenny Call offered online “Sanctuary Today” moments for those wishing to join in meditation, and her messages regularly received hundreds of  Facebook views.

“I was buoyed many times by the strength and resilience of our student body,” said Gettings.

Many students who departed campus for Spring Recess in March expected to return the following month. As a result, a number of them left behind possessions. With guidance provided by the Virginia Governor’s office, HRL offered students four options from late May through mid-June to gather their belongings: return to campus themselves during specific appointment times while using face coverings and observing proper physical distancing protocols; designate a friend or family member who would follow the same guidelines; have a university-selected moving company and/or Hollins employees store their possessions; or have the items shipped to them.

Suarez stressed that the success of all these initiatives was due to the compassion of Hollins employees. “We could not have provided the care for our students, to the level that we did, without the collective efforts of many individuals and departments. Our students were overwhelmed by the community’s generosity. It made me incredibly proud.”

Hollins’ 178th Commencement Exercises in May were initially rescheduled for September and then moved to Memorial Day weekend of 2021. Impressively, Gray recorded over 200 personalized video messages for graduating seniors and group messages for those earning their graduate degrees. Alumnae/i gathered online to toast the class of 2020 virtually via Zoom.

“Carefully Onward.”

Path to chapelIn June, Hollins announced initial plans to resume in-person instruction and residence hall living in the fall under the theme “Carefully Onward.” The plans include beginning fall term two days early, removing Fall Break, and closing the campus entirely the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The university will shift to remote learning for the final week of the term and for fall term examinations.

Gray praised a campus community that would “continue to work diligently to address additional details and complexities” during the summer and prepare for what promises to be an unpredictable fall.

“The last few months have been an exceptionally challenging time as the pandemic changed our world in unimaginable ways,” she said. “I have been especially grateful for your resilience, flexibility, and partnership. It has been an honor to lead and serve alongside you.”

Updated information about Hollins’ reopening plans can be found at


“With a deep sense of honor for the Hollins mission and community…”

As spring moved into summer and communities throughout the U.S. wrestled with the challenges of minimizing the damaging consequences of COVID-19, a series of tragic deaths in the Black community sent the country into a season of protest and public unrest unlike anything seen since the Civil Rights Era. National surveys estimate between 15 and 26 million Americans actively participated in protests in June 2020, often risking their health to do so.

On May 30, the Hollins cabinet and other key administrators issued a statement noting the school’s mission “reminds us that our calling is to nurture civility, integrity, and concern for others, and to encourage and value diversity and social justice… For this reason, it is imperative that we lift up our voices in solidarity to say ‘Enough!’”

“…We must be accountable for equity.”

WR LibraryOn June 19, then-President-elect Mary Dana Hinton shared a message with the extended Hollins community noting that the moment demanded a time of mission-based soul-searching within the institution, and vowing to lead the school down the difficult road of learning and then, of taking necessary action toward building “a shared, aspirational, and inclusive future.”

As individuals and collectively, she noted, an institution of learning had an obligation to grapple with these difficult and uncomfortable issues.

“As school leaders in this moment, we are called to respond to systemic racism and injustice in our world and, most importantly, on our campuses,” Hinton noted. “Making the choice not to respond would still be a response in its own right, an intentional and damaging response of silence to expressed feelings of anger, frustration, and pain.”

By the time she officially took office on August 1, Hinton had met remotely and heard from a dozen different individuals and groups within the campus, and she vowed to create “a public timeline and accountability structure,” with updates coming in the fall around direction and action steps.


La vie est belle

Edwina “Ed” Spodark, professor of French, retired at the end of the academic year.
By Nancy Healy, professor emerita of computer science

Edwina SpodarkEffective teaching is really helping students learn. Since 1982, Edwina “Ed” Spodark has been doing just that. Her former colleague, Professor Emerita of French Jean Fallon, recalled her first meeting with Ed when the department was interviewing candidates for a position at Hollins:

Dreading the anxiety that interviews produce, I was prepared for a stressful encounter. To my surprise and relief, I was struck by how down-to-earth, funny, and personable she was. Through the years, I witnessed Ed’s ability to teach her students in the same happy manner. Ed took genuine pleasure in teaching, particularly the introductory courses, and her students responded happily and enthusiastically to her calm and cheerful demeanor.

Professor of French Annette Sampon-Nicolas added:

Ed and I have had 35 years of daily morning chats, as we were always the first ones in Turner and had offices across from each other. The only time we did not was when she was on sabbatical, and then third-floor Turner was unbelievably empty. Every morning, when we did not have students, we covered almost every subject imaginable and exchanged many pedagogical ideas. For 35 years I practiced shooting baskets into her wastepaper basket across the room. I shall miss her as a colleague and friend and wish her the happiest of retirements.

Always looking for new and effective ways to teach, Ed was an early fan of teaching with technology. She mastered computer skills with ease and shared her knowledge with students and faculty at Hollins and throughout the country. She developed several online offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Together, we made many presentations demonstrating teaching with technology. She was a diligent (and delightful) presenter, always promoting Hollins in the process. Our running joke was that we played the “Rainbow Room.”

Ed taught more than 30 courses at Hollins. She has published over 40 articles, made over 65 conference and panel presentations, received numerous grants, and been selected for and elected to many prestigious professional organizations. Her resume is long and impressive. In fact, when you are looking at a journal in the Wyndham Robertson Library, the height of the windows is just about the length of her printed resume.

Ed has served on more than her share of Hollins committees. She has also served as acting dean of graduate studies and international programs and as department chair numerous times. Her service has extended to the community, too. She volunteers as a poll official during elections and served for many years as an officer of elections in Botetourt County.

Ed is also a generous colleague. After a bad fall when I broke my shoulder and foot, I wasn’t able to teach my spring semester class. Since Ed and I had taught it together in the past, I asked her if she might add this class to her regular teaching load. Without hesitation, she said yes.

Another way to measure effectiveness is how long the learning continues after the classroom experience is over. Several years after graduating from Hollins, a student called Ed and asked for confirmation on the spelling she was using for her tattoo. Ed chuckled and told her she was correct. The quote the student used? “La vie est belle.”

Thanks, Ed, for sharing your life with us. We wish you a continuation of “life is beautiful.”


From the Board Chair

My Dear Hollins Community,

I send you a warm Hollins greeting and hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Throughout the spring and early summer, Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray, working in close partnership with then-President-elect Mary Dana Hinton and the exceptional Hollins cabinet, worked tirelessly on plans for reopening the campus for fall term. With the full support of the board, this work has been guided by one principle—ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

As of this writing, we have planned various forms of instruction which will include in person, online, and a hybrid of both. However, like every other institution, we are subject to change due to so many uncertainties brought on by the trajectory of the coronavirus.

The board would like to express its deep gratitude to Nancy, Mary, the cabinet, faculty, and staff of Hollins for carrying the university through what will long be viewed as one of the biggest challenges in our history. Under normal circumstances, the group keeps things running seamlessly every day, but their ability to pivot so quickly—and to reimagine how to move forward in a new online environment—deserves to be honored. We also salute our students, who showed the best of Hollins through their remarkable resilience, grit, and flexibility.

Every member of the Hollins family, past and present, owes a huge debt to Nancy Gray (and her husband David Maxson) for so graciously stepping into the role of interim president last summer. Nancy brought an immediate sense of calm and confidence to the entire campus. She led us deftly through a presidential transition and steered us expertly through the enormous challenges brought on by a worldwide pandemic and its many collateral consequences. Of Nancy’s many gifts to Hollins, this was perhaps her greatest.

At the same time, it is our great good fortune to welcome Mary Dana Hinton as the 13th president of Hollins. Mary officially began her tenure as our president this summer but worked closely with Nancy throughout the spring to ensure a smooth transition. Mary is deeply thoughtful, mission-minded, empathetic, and carries incredible quiet confidence. She is a seasoned leader who understands and values the power and potential of women’s colleges and the complexities of running a small but multifaceted private university. We are fortunate to have her at the helm as she leads Hollins through a time of difficult, thorough, and necessary introspection, and as we continue the work to be a place that best champions every member of our community. The board is confident that as more of you get to know Mary and see the extraordinary breadth of strengths and assets she brings to this campus, her legion of admirers will only grow.

Two critically important areas of institutional health are: 1) ensuring we generate enough financial support to cover a significant portion of our annual costs, and 2) making certain we continue to attract and retain high-talent students who will most benefit from what Hollins can offer.

Given the nationwide economic disruptions caused by COVID-19, we were braced for significant consequences to our fundraising efforts.

Thanks to Vice President for External Relations Suzy Mink and her outstanding team, and thanks most especially to you, our dedicated Hollins community, we have weathered the first stage of a storm that can be expected to impact most educational institutions in the years ahead. At the end of our fiscal year, the Hollins Fund significantly exceeded its goal and raised over $3.7 million. These funds became even more crucial as our room and board revenue was impacted significantly in the spring. We hope we can rely on your continued support.

We likewise questioned what the pandemic might do for our admission prospects. Those concerns were put to rest thanks to the high-touch and personalized work of Ashley Browning, vice president for enrollment management, and her phenomenal team. As I write this, we are on pace to start the 2020-21 school year with the largest incoming class since the fall of 2016. These are highly promising students whom we welcome with great excitement. This lays the strong groundwork and momentum for even better enrollment years to come.

Finally, as you will read in this magazine, the story of Hollins in this pandemic is one of a community and the power it can summon: the stories of faculty and staff learning and adapting to the challenges of teaching online, of students showing real resilience in far-from-ideal circumstances, and of seniors providing inspirational leadership even as the traditions they expected to celebrate together this spring were postponed or canceled.

This fall, whatever environment and challenges the school may face and overcome, Hollins will continue to lead with courage, intelligence and optimism. The Board of Trustees and I hope you, as our loyal Hollins community, will work together to ensure that we can look back on this era as a time when the connections, the intimacy, and the agility of our beloved university shone brightest.

With tremendous gratitude to you,

Alexandra C. Trower ’86
Chair, Hollins University’s Board of Trustees


Board of Trustees Welcomes Four New Members

Patricia Thrower Barmeyer ’68, Paul Hollingsworth, John Poulton, and Anne Lindblad Quanbeck ’79 have been elected to the Hollins University Board of Trustees.

Patricia BarmeyerA history major at Hollins, Patricia Thrower Barmeyer ’68 graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. After clerking for a federal district court judge, she began practice with the State of Georgia Attorney General’s office, where she litigated landmark environmental issues. In 1990 she joined the firm of King & Spalding, where she has focused on the environmental permitting of controversial projects and the litigation that is often part of the process of bringing these projects to completion. She has been ranked by Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business as the top environmental lawyer in Georgia since 2006.

Barmeyer is currently active with the Trust for Public Land. She has also been involved with legal services organizations, including the Georgia Legal Services Foundation and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. She is a recipient of the Hollins Distinguished Alumnae Award.

Paul HollingsworthPaul Hollingsworth has been an intelligence advisor for the international energy company BP since 2014. He previously served for 27 years in the CIA, including eight years on three overseas tours, a rotational assignment at the FBI, and two years as a special assistant for national security affairs on the NCS staff under President Barack Obama.

A 1977 graduate of Georgetown University with a B.A. in Catholic theology, Hollingsworth also holds a Ph.D. in Byzantine and Medieval Slavic Studies from the University of California—Berkeley. Married with three children, his daughter, Anna, is a member of Hollins’ class of 2022.

John PoultonJohn Poulton serves as senior scientist at NVIDIA Corporation, where he has continued the work he began more than 30 years ago of producing chip-to-chip communications circuits for high-performance computers. As a research professor in the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill’s computer science department in the 1980s, he and his team developed techniques for computer graphics systems and image rendering that became industry standards. He has published over 40 papers, co-authored a textbook, is an inventor on some 70 patents, and is an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Fellow.

Poulton holds a B.S. from Virginia Tech, an M.S. from SUNY Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, all in physics. He cotaught the first course in computer programming at Hollins as an assistant professor of physics from 1968-1970. His daughter, Sarah, is a member of Hollins’ class of 2006, and his grandmother, Elizabeth Macatee Poulton, was Hollins’ director of student housing from 1929 to 1951.

Anne Lindblad QuanbeckAnne Lindblad Quanbeck ’79, a biostatistician with more than 38 years of experience serving both industry and government clients, is the president and CEO of Emmes, a global contract research organization. She has supported clinical research throughout her career, serving as principal investigator of projects spanning diverse disease areas, including oncology, dialysis, transplantation, ophthalmology, speech and hearing, dentistry, and neurology. She has contributed to the literature in such fields as patient-reported outcome development, central statistical monitoring as part of a risk-based monitoring plan, disease classification systems, and barriers to recruiting for clinical trials.

After completing her B.S. in statistics at Hollins, Quanbeck went on to earn an M.S. in biostatistics from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Ph.D. in statistics from George Washington University.

Barmeyer and Quanbeck began three-year terms on the board on July 1, while Hollingsworth and Poulton are filling two-year and one-year unexpired terms, respectively.







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