Faculty Members Honored at Founder’s Day Convocation

Hollins University recognized Professor of Spanish Alison Ridley and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Vladimir Bratic with two of the institution’s highest awards during the annual Founder’s Day Convocation on February 19.

Ridley received the Roberta A. Stewart Service Award, which honors Hollins employees who demonstrate long-term service, loyalty to the university and its principles, and deep caring for students and colleagues. Stewart was a professor and administrator at Hollins for 40 years and the award was established in 1993.

Ridley joined the Hollins faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor of Spanish and went on to earn promotion to associate professor in 1997 and the rank of full professor in 2013. She has also served as both chair and clerk of the faculty, chair of her academic department, and director of general education at Hollins. In the latter role, she led the implementation and assessment in 2001 of a new general education program, “Education through Skills and Perspectives,” the first significant reform of general education at Hollins in more than 20 years.

In 2006, as dean of academic services, Ridley was instrumental in creating Hollins’ first-year seminar program. For her work on this initiative, she was selected two years later as one of the 10 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates in the United States.

The Herta T. Freitag Faculty Legacy Award was presented to Bratic in recognition of his recent scholarly and creative accomplishments. These reflect the extraordinary academic standards set by Freitag, who served as professor of mathematics at Hollins from 1948 to 1971.

Since joining the Hollins faculty in 2006, Bratic has developed as distinguished body of scholarship on the impact of media in peace building. He has written five peer-reviewed journal articles, seven book chapters, and five other publications on this topic. He has also been working on a book that integrates all of his previous work into a unified study on the history of this field over the last three decades.

Bratic has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his expertise. He has worked for several years with the United States Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., in an advisory capacity. Two years ago, he spent eight days in Israel and Palestine, visiting Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jaffa, where he interacted with activists and legal experts. He gave a series of lectures on the Peace Boat, an anti-nuclear proliferation NGO. He has been invited to lecture at colleges and universities ranging from Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and Central Connecticut State University to Al Quds University in Palestine, Netanya Academic College in Israel, and Sarajevo University in Bosnia.


Whitewater Racers Capture Second at Collegiate Race Series National Championships

American Canoe Association Collegiate Race SeriesHollins University canoers and kayakers earned second place in the Women’s Championship competition at the annual American Canoe Association Collegiate Race Series National Championships, held November 1 on the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Hollins topped teams from Warren Wilson College, the University of Alabama, and Sweet Briar College to finish second. Albion College claimed this year’s women’s national championship.

The event took place on the whitewater portion of the Rappahannock, which features several major rapids.

Photo by David Reep


Hollins Featured in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges

2011greenHollins University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the second annual edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Colleges: 2011 Edition.

Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the guidebook profiles institutions of higher learning that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the company polled in 2010 about their school’s sustainability initiatives.

Released today in conjunction with the 41st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, the book includes facts, statistics, and write-ups reporting on each school’s environmentally related policies, practices, and academic offerings. The free guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said The Princeton Review’s Robert Franek. “Together with the USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach, and support environmentally responsible choices. We highly recommend the colleges in this book.”

Hollins’ recognition in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges comes as the university installs the first solar panels on campus. The panels will directly convert the sun’s energy into electricity, reducing the amount of non-green energy Hollins must purchase. The project is made possible by a $30,000 grant from a new initiative established by The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Richmond-based Dominion Resources, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy.


Hollins’ Green Initiatives Move Forward with First LEED Silver-Certified Building

LEEDA historic structure on the Hollins University campus has earned the institution its first-ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The Green Building Certification Institute has awarded the newly renovated Robbie Hunt Burton Alumnae Cottage its LEED Silver classification in recognition of the sustainable building components used during the remodeling effort.

Alumnae Cottage, a guest residence originally constructed in 1905, features the first geothermal heating and cooling system on campus; low-maintenance building materials containing recycled content, including ceramic tile, particle board, and fiberglass insulation; renewable materials such as bamboo flooring and cabinet doors; high energy-efficient appliances; and low-flow toilets, faucets, and showers to enhance water conservation. In addition, one hundred percent of the construction waste from the project was recycled.

“The Alumnae Cottage renovation represents a significant step forward in our efforts toward reducing and ultimately eliminating the university’s carbon footprint,” said Kerry Edmonds, Hollins’ vice president for finance and administration. “Without the partnership and guidance of Blacksburg-based architect Peter Ozolins, the engineering firm Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates of Greensboro, project managers Raymond Hunt and Mike Brown with Richmond-based contractor EDC, and contractor R.L. Price Construction of Salem, we could not have achieved our LEED certification objective.”

LEED is an internationally-recognized green building certification system that promotes sustainable building and development practices. It acknowledges commercial and residential initiatives that put into action plans that seek superior performance in five significant areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

The Green Building Certification Institute is an independent, non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. It was established in 2008 with the support of the U.S. Green Building Council.


Two Prestigious “Best of” Lists for 2011 Feature Novel by Children’s Literature Program Director

whatwekeepThe director of Hollins University’s graduate program in children’s literature has received some impressive year-end recognition for her latest book.

Amanda Cockrell’s debut young-adult novel, What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay, has been acclaimed as one of the best books of the year for children by The Boston Globe, and has also been named to the Bulletin Blue Ribbons 2011 list from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

In selecting What We Keep for the Globe’s review of the year’s most notable writing for young people, author Liz Rosenberg writes, “Cockrell balances on the knife’s edge between comedy and tragedy. The depth and darkness of her themes makes an absorbing read for older young adults.”

Geared toward readers ages 12 and up, What We Keep is the story of 15-year-old Angie, who falls for a 19-year-old Afghanistan veteran suffering from both physical and emotional trauma. The novel was published by Flux in July 2011.

Along with directing the graduate program in children’s literature at Hollins, Cockrell is managing editor of The Hollins Critic, the university’s literary journal. A native of Ojai, California, she also earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hollins. Cockrell has published numerous essays, poems, and articles in addition to her novels The Legions of the Mist, The Moonshine Blade, The Deer Dancers trilogy, The Horse Catchers trilogy, and Pomegranate Seed. She has received fiction fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Jane Batten ’58 Selected to Receive Old Dominion’s MLK Award

janebattenNorfolk philanthropist Jane Parke Batten, a member of Hollins’ class of 1958, will receive Old Dominion University’s Hugo Owens Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award.

The first non-African American to win the award, Batten is being recognized for her long record of community involvement and service on behalf of the disadvantaged. She is a member of the board of the Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Foundation, whose grants have gone to area colleges and universities as well as arts groups and organizations of all sizes that work with the homeless and hungry and other people in need. She is also vice chair of the board of Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads, an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization created by business, civic and philanthropic leaders to address the issue of school readiness in the region.

ODU President John Broderick lauded the selection of Batten for the MLK award, noting that “her family has been influential on many levels. She and her family have played a key role in championing the rights of minorities in this community and beyond.”

Batten is the widow of Frank Batten, former chairman of Landmark Communications. That company is now known as Landmark Media Enterprises and publishes The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot.

Batten and her late husband have been longtime local philanthropists. Among her recent gifts is a pledge of up to $1.5 million to aid a financially troubled, historically black private college in Southside Virginia. The gift to Brunswick County’s Saint Paul’s College includes a challenge grant through the Batten Educational Achievement Fund, and a $1 million endowment to support a program geared toward assisting single parents pursuing college degrees. Both funds are part of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Cecelia Tucker, ODU’s assistant to the president for community relations and one of the organizers of the MLK Day observance on campus, said Batten couldn’t be a better choice for the award.

“I’ve known Jane for almost 40 years, and everything she does, every generous gift and action, has a goal of enhancing lives, changing the lives of people,” Tucker said.

The Hugo Owens Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award recognizes individuals in the community whose lives mirror the principles of equality and humanity. The award’s other namesake, Hugo Owens, was a former rector of the ODU Board of Visitors and a longtime champion of civil rights in Hampton Roads.

Batten will be honored at Old Dominion’s 28th MLK Day observance on Tuesday, January 17.


Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91 Named Mississippi Poet Laureate

tretheweyHollins alumna and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey has been named Mississippi’s poet laureate by Gov. Haley Barbour. Her duties will include reading from her work at meetings, seminars and conferences throughout Mississippi as a way to advance the literary arts in the Magnolia State.

“It’s an honor to have been named poet laureate of my native state – the place that made me a writer – and I am delighted to serve the citizens of Mississippi by promoting our rich and ongoing cultural and literary traditions,” Trethewey said in an article in The Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Trethewey is a native of Gulfport and earned her Master of Arts degree in English and creative writing from Hollins in 1991. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007 for her collection, Native Guard, which pays tribute to African American soldiers who were stationed near the city during the Civil War. She has garnered numerous other prestigious writing awards such as the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize in 2001 and 2003, and the 2008 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Poetry.

“She has received national and international for her poetry that is, often, a tribute to the state of Mississippi, and more specifically, the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Barbour told The Sun Herald.

Trethewey is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, and will serve as the Louis D. Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins in 2012. The Hollins Theatre is staging an adaptation of her book of poems, Bellocq’s Ophelia, February 15-19.


Kindra Wyatt ’14 Wins Prestigious Study Abroad Scholarship

wyattHollins University sophomore Kindra Wyatt has been named the winner of a $10,000 award from the Fund for Education Abroad’s Hiliary Echo Douglas Memorial Scholarship to study in India during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Wyatt, who resides in Salem, Virginia, is among just 11 students selected from a pool of 224 applicants representing over 190 U. S. colleges and universities to receive an award, and is the only student to receive $10,000, the highest award given. Scholarships are granted with a preference for underrepresented students in study abroad programs, including minorities, science and technology majors, community college students, and those choosing to study in non-traditional countries.

The scholarship was established in memory of Hiliary Echo Douglas, who graduated from the University of Evansville in 1999 and then traveled to Vietnam on a Fulbright Scholarship. She subsequently worked for various international cultural collaborations in Vietnam and later served there with CET Academic Programs, a study abroad organization that offers semester and summer programs in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Douglas died in 2008.

“This scholarship is given to a student who demonstrates Hiliary’s love of other cultures, her desire to give back to the world community, and her contagious love of life. Kindra fits this mold like a glove,” said Kirsten McKinney, Hollins’ director of international programs. “We are very proud to have assisted her in her quest to make her dream of studying in India come true.”

Founded in 2010 and based in Washington, D.C., the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) seeks to increase opportunities for U.S. students to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs by reducing financial restrictions through the provision of grants and scholarships. FEA’s goals include assisting students in the acquisition of critical foreign language skills and cultivating U.S. students’ world awareness and appreciation of cultural differences through academic and experiential opportunities.


Hollins Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

honorHollins University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Elson Nash, acting director of strategic partnerships for the CNCS. “Hollins’ selection to the Honor Roll is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for its commitment to service and civic engagement on its campus and in our nation.”

Honorees for the award are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Hollins offers students a number of ways to get actively involved with community service. For example, the annual Day of Service helps new students connect with the Roanoke Valley during their first week on campus. Students Helping Achieve Rewarding Experiences (SHARE)  recruits and places student volunteers with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Sandusky Service House is a campus residence hall where students are required to perform at least ten hours of volunteer work each month and promote service activities on campus and in the community. And, for more than 20 years, the Jamaica Service Project has invited students to spend Spring Break helping an impoverished community in the island nation.

The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative. It oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.


Will Schutt M.F.A. ’09 Wins Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition

schuttPoet Will Schutt, who received his MFA in creative writing from Hollins University in 2009, has been named a winner in the 2012 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, the longest-running poetry prize in the United States.

The competition’s judge, prize-winning and critically acclaimed poet Carl Phillips, chose Schutt’s manuscript, Westerly, for the award. Yale University Press will publish Westerly in April 2013.

Schutt’s poems and translations appear in Agni, FIELD, Harvard Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He has also received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and the James Merrill House. He holds a BA from Oberlin College and resides in Wainscott, New York.

Awarded since 1919, the Yale Series of Younger Poets celebrates the most prominent new American poets by bringing the work of these artists to the attention of the larger public. Earlier winners of the prize include Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and Robert Hass.