Hollins Celebrates 179th Commencement May 19

Commencement Exercises

Hollins University will honor members of the class of 2021 receiving bachelor’s degrees, and graduate students earning advanced degrees in both 2020 and 2021, during the school’s 179th Commencement Exercises, which will be held on Wednesday, May 19, at 10 a.m.

Undergraduates from the class of 2020, whose commencement was postponed last year due to the pandemic, have elected to have their celebration coincide with Hollins’ Reunion Weekend, May 27-29, 2022.

In order to best and most safely accommodate all graduates and guests, and to ensure Hollins is in full compliance with the commencement guidelines issued in March by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the ceremony will be held on the university’s athletic practice fields. Attendance is limited to up to three guests per graduate.

The event may be viewed virtually through the commencement livestream beginning that day at 9:50 a.m.

The 179th Commencement Exercises will recognize undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Science degrees, as well as the Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degrees. The following awards will also be announced:

  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, honoring a senior and a member of the Hollins community who have shown by daily living those qualities that demonstrate a love and helpfulness to others.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award, presented to a senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during their days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, highlighting the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character and leadership.

Elizabeth Kolmstetter, Ph.D., a member of Hollins’ class of 1985 who has pioneered numerous innovative talent management programs across eight federal agencies, will be the guest speaker. An industrial and organizational psychologist, Kolmstetter has excelled at leading organizational change across some of our nation’s most prominent agencies such as the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the CIA. After 9/11, she helped start the new Transportation Security Administration where she led the hiring of the largest civilian workforce in U.S. history in one year.

Kolmstetter currently serves as NASA’s director of talent strategy and engagement. Her efforts have contributed to NASA being named the Best Place to Work in government and she was recently recognized with NASA’s 2020 Outstanding Leadership Medal. She is a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, has served on several nonprofit boards, and is the recipient of Hollins’ Distinguished Alumnae Award and Hollins’ Honoris Causa. Her mother, Paula P. Brownlee, served as president of Hollins from 1981 – 1990. Her husband, Michael, earned his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Hollins in 1990.

Visit the 179th Commencement Exercises webpage for more information on this year’s ceremony.