When my time at Hollins began last January, everything felt ripe with possibility and promise. To list off the many reasons I would be excited to work for this institution would be, as they say, “preaching to the choir.”
Then COVID-19 began creeping into the American bloodstream.
The campus went quiet as students went home for remote learning and a large portion of employees began working from home. Seven months into this job and almost five months since COVID-19 first impacted Hollins… everything still feels ripe with possibility and promise, and I’m every bit as excited to be here now as I was back in January. Maybe even more. In this summer issue, I hope you will gain a sense of why, exactly, this might be the case.
You will be greeted by a letter from Hollins’ 13th president, Mary Dana Hinton. You’ll learn far more about her in the next issue later this fall, and rest assured the enthusiasm for her arrival is deserved.
As we worked on the ambitious feature, “’It Feels Like There’s No Closure,’” a project organized by Beth JoJack ‘98, we found ourselves looking back to the 1918 Spanish Flu that struck the Hollins campus and resulted in the death of one student. Details of the time were incredibly difficult to locate, and the yearbooks of that day limited in what they offered. So we sought to ensure that, if someone wants to know how COVID-19 affected Hollins – not merely our campus, but our extended community of students, faculty, and alumnae/i – they would have a resource in the magazine archives. They would see stories of resilience, struggle, hope, and fear. They would see the uncertainty that we have all carried with us for half a year now, with no end yet in sight.
As the nation celebrates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, read a fascinating piece by Guest Editor Jean Holzinger MALS ’11 on the experience at Hollins during that historic era. Further, I hope you will share with me tremendous gratitude for Jean and the work she has done so brilliantly in building out this magazine as our guest editor for the past six issues.
You can read about not only how Hollins handled the challenges of the spring as they affected our campus community, but also how the administration responded initially to the tragic death of George Floyd and the initial announcement from President Hinton regarding her plans around inclusion, equity, and justice for the university moving forward. Expect more information about this in the fall issue.
Celebrate the progress of the Student Village as it reaches the midpoint of Phase II, with three new houses coming online this fall, and read of the other impressive accomplishments of an unusual fundraising year. This update is a testament to the incredible generosity of so many of you who receive this magazine.
Hollins appreciates you, and I am grateful for this opportunity to help tell the story of such a marvelous institution, the community it has helped to build, and the people who continue to support its growth and explore what is possible in the future on this campus on the Blue Ridge.