Hollins Celebrates 174th Commencement May 22


Hollins University will conduct its 174th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the university’s Front Quadrangle.

An expected 176 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred before an audience of families, friends, and members of the campus community. Other highlights will include the presentation of the following honors:

  •  The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities which evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award. Presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins, this award was established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award. Honoring an alumna of the class of 1911, this award recognizes the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is pre-eminent in character.
  • The Hollins University Teaching Award. Each year seniors are invited to nominate secondary school teachers who inspired them or contributed significantly to their intellectual and personal growth. The award is made possible by The Decker Endowment, established in 2007 by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker ’58 and her late husband, James DeWitt Decker.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. This award recognizes the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2016.

Ann Compton, a member of Hollins’ class of 1969 and an esteemed veteran of the White House press corps, is this year’s guest speaker.

After graduating from Hollins, Compton became the first woman ever hired as a reporter at Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV. She joined ABC News in 1973, and just one year later became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis.

Compton covered presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies during a distinguished 41-year career that took her throughout the country and around the world. She was a floor reporter at the 1976 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She also served as a panelist for the 1988 and 1992 presidential debates.

During the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Compton was the only broadcast journalist allowed to remain aboard Air Force One. She was part of the ABC News team honored with the prestigious Silver Baton Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for the network’s coverage that day.

Compton was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2000. The Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame welcomed her in 2005. Upon her retirement from ABC News in 2014, President Barack Obama stated, “Ann Compton…is not only the consummate professional but is also just a pleasure to get to know.” ABC News Radio Vice President and General Manager Steve Jones called her “one of the most amazing women in journalism.”

Hollins has celebrated commencement on Front Quadrangle since 1957.