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Hollins: Pass it on

Alumnae referrals more vital than ever

By Ashley Browning

Katherine Phillips Henderson '73 and daughter Isabel '13

Katherine Phillips Henderson'73 and her daughter Isabel '13, two in a long line of Henderson/Hollins legacies.

For some prospective students, their relationship with Hollins starts long before they set foot on campus. That was the case for senior junior Isabel “Izzy” Henderson from Swoope, Virginia.

As Henderson worked through the process of making her college decision, her family’s long history of Hollins women came into play. Henderson’s great-grandmother, Julia Elizabeth Omohundro 1913, attended Hollins for one year before being called home to assist her mother. But the Henderson-Hollins connection runs even deeper. Her great-aunt, Nancy Miller Phillips ’49; her mother, Katherine Phillips Henderson ’73; her cousin, Judith Ammonet Phillips ’78; and most recently, her sister, Julia Henderson ’06, all attended Hollins.

Growing up, Izzy Henderson recalls spending time on the Hollins campus with her sister and watching as she built her network of Hollins friends. “I remember most vividly graduation weekend 2006,” she says. “My sister lived in one of the apartments, and I remember just hanging out with all the wonderful women in her class.” When she initially began to consider Hollins in her own college search, Henderson kept quiet. “The reaction from my family when I chose Hollins was surprise. My mother was especially delighted.”

Julia encouraged Izzy to participate in the Student Government Association. “Once I became a part of SGA, I really became involved and invested in the daily life at Hollins,” she says. She intensified her involvement through a major in political science and through extracurricular activities—as a student success leader (i.e., a student assistant for one of the first-year seminars), admission tour guide, and president of the College Democrats. Last January, she completed an internship in the Roanoke district office of U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, and followed that experience with a semester on Hollins Abroad-Paris. When she returned to the states from Paris, she served as a Reunion 2012 student assistant, another recommendation from her older sister. “Working as a legacy student was a blast,” she says. “The older alumnae always asked about my legacy ribbon and were interested in who in my family came before me. It was fun to see their reactions when I told them that I am fourth generation.”

Henderson’s family history is an example of one of the most vital sources of future Hollins women: alumnae referrals. “I think Hollins women can best share their Hollins experience with the prospective students in their lives by being vocal about their experiences here,” she says. “I was drawn to Hollins because of the stories I heard from the alumnae about how Hollins changed their lives and gave them a safe haven in which to grow into stronger, more powerful women with a passion for change.” You can make a big difference in Hollins’ future. Fill out the referral card in the center of this magazine, or indicate your wish to volunteer in other important ways. As you know, women who are going places start at Hollins. First, however, they have to know about it. And with your help, they will.

Alumnae referrals work
Over the past three years, of those students referred by an alumna:

  • 44% applied
  • Of those, 58%* enrolled

*The average rate of enrollment for all students who applied is 27%.

Make a referral or volunteer online:

Ashley Browning is alumnae recruitment coordinator for the admission office.