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.

 


R. H. W. Dillard, Wilson Museum Honored by Arts Council of the Blue Ridge

dillardProfessor of English R.H.W. Dillard (pictured) and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University are among this year’s winners of the Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts, presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.

Dillard received the Kendig Award for Outstanding Literary Artist. He has taught at Hollins since 1964 and was named Virginia Professor of the Year in 1987. Other accolades include the O.B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library; the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Fellowship of Southern Writers (which also presented him with the Hanes Prize for Poetry) and the Virginia Writers Club.  He is the author of 14 books — seven books of poems, two novels, one book of shorter fiction, two critical monographs, and two translations of classical dramas.

The Arts Council honored the Wilson Museum with the Kendig Award for Outstanding Arts & Cultural Organization. Located on the first floor of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the museum is a premier arts destination in the Roanoke Valley featuring the work of internationally renowned artists, emerging figures, and regional names. It features three interconnected galleries totaling approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibition space. Through the generosity of a grant from Roanoke County, the museum houses a dedicated permanent Collection and Educational Resource Center, which is available to students, teachers, and other patrons who are interested in furthering their study of art in the museum’s permanent collection. It also functions as a small educational center for groups and classes, providing a forum for discussion, workshops, and projects based on exhibitions.

Named for the late Roanoke Valley arts patron and a former president of Roanoke College, the Perry F. Kendig Award was established in 1985 to recognize examples of support, involvement, accomplishment in the arts, and to inform the community about significant contributions to the arts in the region. The awards are chosen by a committee of community volunteers based on nominations from the general public. A reception and award ceremony will be held at the Taubman Museum of Art in May.


Hollins Students Recognized by the Virginia Press Association

VPATwo Hollins students have been honored by the Virginia Press Association (VPA) for work published in the Hollins Columns student newspaper.

Taylor Cannon ’13 and Lindley Taylor ’13 received awards from the VPA’s College Newspaper Contest. Cannon, one of the Columns’ co-editors-in-chief last fall, earned second place in the category of editorial writing. Taylor, who last year regularly submitted illustrations and editorial cartoons to the Columns, won third place in the illustration category.

According to its Web site, the VPA “champion[s] the common interests of Virginia newspapers and the ideals of a free press in a democratic society.” The association sponsors one of the country’s largest news contests, drawing more than 5,000 entries each year.


Hollins Riders Capture Titles at IHSA National Championships

ihsa2012Hollins University junior Sarah Brown and sophomore Catherine Hensly each won national titles today at the 2012 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships under way at the Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Brown, from Troy, Virginia, topped riders from the University of Colorado, Penn State, Cornell University, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut to win the Intermediate Equitation Over Fences (Individual) competition.  Her victory represents the first time a Hollins rider has won a national title in this class.

Hensly, who hails from Virginia Beach, won the Walk Trot Canter Equitation (Individual) competition, defeating riders from Penn State, Miami University, Colgate University, the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Xavier University.

Junior Emma Lane Poole of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, also delivered a standout performance, taking third place in Open Equitation Over Fences.

Founded in 1967, the IHSA encompasses 29 Regions in nine Zones with more than 300 member colleges in 45 states and Canada. The organization represents more than 6,500 riders.


Hollins Celebrates the Class of 2012 at 170th Commencement

commencement2012Hollins alumna Elizabeth Brownlee Kolmstetter wished graduates “a life ahead full of continuous discovery” during the university’s 170th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20.

Hollins conferred 182 bachelor’s degrees and 71 master’s degrees during the ceremony, which was held on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Kolmstetter, a member of Hollins’ class of 1985 and this year’s guest speaker, is deputy associate director of national intelligence for human capital within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Previously, she served as the director for human capital development at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security. An industrial-organizational psychologist, she was one of the first federal employees chosen in 2002 to be part of the creation of the TSA in the aftermath of 9-11. She was directly responsible for establishing and managing the new standards and hiring system that resulted in the largest civilian workforce mobilization in U.S. history – the hiring of over 55,000 security screeners at 430 airports across the nation in less than one year.

Kolmstetter focused on the importance of maintaining “your own journey of discovery that must never end” in her address.  She shared four stories of what she personally has discovered in life:

  • “Be grateful and show it.” (“We are all here together today because of the dreams and commitments of those who have come before us and we must give thanks….”)
  • “Plan, prepare, work really hard, and be open to the unexpected in life.” (“…even those curve balls life will throw at you, that is when amazing things happen resulting in real discovery.”)
  • “Know and keep your real friends…forever.” (“[They] only have your best interest in mind, no hidden agendas, no personal gains – they will encourage you and sometimes give you the courage you need to take your own leaps of faith.”)
  • “Do what’s hardest…even something you don’t think you can do.” (“There is nothing like taking on the toughest task and surviving – indeed, thriving. It engages your mind and a sense of purpose fills your heart.”)

Following Kolmstetter’s address, Suzanne Smith Whitmore ’60, chair of Hollins’ Board of Trustees, awarded her with the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her personal and career achievements. “Since graduating from Hollins in 1985, you have ably served your nation and your alma mater with intelligence, perseverance, originality, and integrity,” Whitmore told Kolmstetter, who was joined on the commencement stage for the presentation by her mother, Paula Brownlee, who served as president of Hollins from 1981 to 1990.

Four graduating seniors were honored during the morning ceremony for their academic achievements. Chelsea Rose DeTorres, Laura Chelsea Woodrum, Melissa Susanna Hammond, and Eileen Michelle O’Connor each received the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. DeTorres and Woodrum tied for the highest grade point average among this year’s graduates, while Hammond and O’Connor tied for the second-highest grade point average.

The following awards were also presented at this year’s Commencement:

  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, recognizes members of the campus community who have shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women. This year’s honorees are senior Kylie Louise McCormick and Professor of Psychology Randall Flory.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award, established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother, is presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins. Elizabeth Price Dodd is the recipient this year.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, honoring a member of the class of 1911, recognizes a junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is pre-eminent in character. Senior Jessica Maria Hall was presented this year’s award.
  • The Hollins University Teaching Award, supported by an endowment established by Mary Bernhardt Decker ’58 and her late husband, James DeWitt Becker, honors secondary school teachers who have devoted their lives to preparing students to achieve and excel in a higher education setting. Each year, Hollins seniors are invited to nominate the teachers who inspired them or contributed significantly to their intellectual and personal growth. This year’s winner, nominated by senior Nancy VanNoppen, is Jack W. Bonner IV, associate head of the Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is also the assistant head for academic affairs, chair of the curriculum committee, and on the English/Humanities faculty.