Alexandra Trower ’86 is joining Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and Kim Kelleher, chief business officer for GQ, Golf Digest, Pitchfork, WIRED, and Ars Technica, in receiving one of the communications industry’s highest honors.
Trower, who is Executive Vice President, Global Communications, with The Estée Lauder Companies, has been named a winner of the 2018 Matrix Award. Presented by New York Women in Communications, the premier organization for communications professionals in the New York metropolitan area, the Matrix Award is awarded to extraordinary female leaders at the pinnacle of their careers. Previous winners of the Matrix Award include Today Show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie; Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls; and TIME editor Nancy Gibbs.
Trower is quick to credit her experience as an undergraduate at Hollins for empowering her with the tools to achieve such a distinguished career. “Any success I have had in my professional life starts and ends with Hollins,” she explained. “I became a true student at Hollins and benefited enormously from the incredible internships the school offered me. Those opportunities took me to Paris, Berkeley, California, and New York City, which ultimately became my home.”
Estée Lauder Executive Chair William Lauder and Hollins University President Emerita Nancy Gray are among those who nominated Trower for the Matrix Award. They praised her dedication to promoting women’s education and health, a commitment that has manifested itself significantly in her role as a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. “One of my passions has been to repay my debt to Hollins through board service, sponsoring internships, and serving as a student mentor,” Trower said. “I have worked with dozens of talented Hollins women over the years and it has been one of my greatest joys.”
One of the students who is effusive in her gratitude to Trower for her guidance and encouragement is senior Emili McPhail, who during her Hollins career has interned with Estée Lauder in New York and London. She also nominated Trower for the Matrix Award.
“I was a college sophomore with little work experience and Alex gave me a chance,” McPhail recalled. “She has championed me from the day I met her, and has fought for me to have every opportunity to succeed. Truly, it’s a privilege to know her as a mentor and role model. She has inspired the woman that I want to become.”
Trower assumed her current role with Estée Lauder, the world’s leading prestige beauty company, in 2008. In addition to serving as an Executive Officer of the Company and on the Executive Leadership Team, she is a founding member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is an Executive Co-Sponsor of the company’s LGBTQA employee resource group. She oversees corporate, social, crisis, Lauder family, and philanthropic communications, including The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and whose mission is to end breast cancer in our lifetime.
Trower also serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), which supports female journalists worldwide who risk their lives to cover news that might not otherwise be reported. In 2014, she received the IWMF’s Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of her more than 15 years of service and fundraising.
“In the decade Ms. Trower has led global communications for The Estée Lauder Companies, she has, with her wisdom and grace, proven to be not just a highly talented communications executive but also a business strategist and key contributor to the company’s success,” said Lauder. “She is the effective leader who has come to her role from a place of humility and who is followed because she has the brightest ideas and can express them while leaving her ego behind. Her opinions are highly valued because she presents them only with the goal of promoting continued excellence.”
Trower, Brzezinski, and Kelleher will officially receive the Matrix Award at a special event in New York City on April 23.
Dancer and choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith M.F.A. ’16 is one of 45 artists and collectives across nine creative disciplines announced as 2018 USA Fellows by United States Artists.
Recognized for their creative accomplishments, each fellow will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, which they may use to support their ongoing artistic and professional development.
Tabor-Smith lives in Oakland, California, and serves as the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. She describes her work as “Afro Futurist Conjure Art,” and her dance-making practice utilizes Yoruba spiritual ritual to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. Her current project, House/Full of Blackwomen, is a multi site-specific dance theater work that addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex-trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.
Tabor-Smith’s work has been performed in Brazil, the Republic of Congo, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where her company is based. She is an artist-in-residence at Stanford University and is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers, and from every corner of the United States, through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Spread across all creative disciplines including Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing, the fellows represent a broad cross-section of the best of American arts and letters.
“I could not be more thrilled with the 2018 USA Fellows, or with the tremendous artistic output, and potential, they represent,” said United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag. “They produce some of the most moving, incisive, and powerful artistic work in the country, and it is our privilege to honor them. Collectively, they are a reminder of the beauty produced by hardworking artists on a daily basis, too much of which is often overlooked.”
Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, United States Artists is among the largest providers of unrestricted support to artists working and living in the U.S. To date, the organization has provided more than $22 million in the form of unrestricted $50,000 awards directly to more than 500 artists working in all disciplines and at every career stage.
Hollins University has been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance‘s list of the 300 Best College Values for 2018. Introduced in 1998, the rankings now combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list.
Kiplinger also ranked the top 100 best values in each category, and Hollins earned the #99 spot on the magazine’s list of best values in private liberal arts colleges. Hollins is one of only four Virginia colleges and universities to make the category’s top 100, joining Washington and Lee University, the University of Richmond, and Christendom College.
“Our rankings, which weigh affordability alongside academic quality, are a great resource for students and their parents when sorting through college choices,” said Mark Solheim, editor of Kiplinger’s PersonalFinance. “We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools and trim the list using measures of academic quality. We then rank the schools based on cost and financial aid data. All 300 schools on our list are worth a look.”
The complete rankings will appear in print in the February 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 9.
Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has received the 2017 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, the highest recognition conferred by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
The prize honors an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout his or her career.
Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. She joined Rockefeller in 1992 and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her work has implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers. Her previous accolades include the Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation; the Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience; and election to the National Academy of Sciences.
“On behalf of SfN, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hatten and to thank her for her outstanding research contributions and the role they have played in advancing our understanding of how the brain develops,” SfN President Eric Nestler said. “As an internationally recognized leader in developmental neurobiology, she has made crucial discoveries of basic mechanisms of neurogenesis and neuronal migration during development.”
SfN is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 38,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.
The late John Sailer, the Grandin Theatre Foundation, and Judy and Joel Tenzer have been honored with this year’s Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards.
Co-sponsored by Hollins University and Roanoke College, the Kendig Awards program has recognized distinction in arts and culture in the Roanoke Valley for more than 30 years. Awards are presented in each of the following categories: Individual Artist, Arts and Cultural Organization, and Individual or Business Arts Supporter.
Sailer, who died in 2015, is this year’s Individual Artist award recipient. With an M.F.A. in scene and lighting design from the University of Oklahoma, he first came to Roanoke in 1981 to work at what was then called Mill Mountain Playhouse. Sailer soon became the “go to” set and lighting designer in the Roanoke Valley, mounting sets for Mill Mountain Theatre, Opera Roanoke, Hollins University, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, Patrick Henry High School, Opera on the James, and others. Ernie Zulia, director of the Hollins Theatre Institute, said of Sailer, “He had an imagination that could create a world for a play that was not only beautiful but dynamic. He had a real gift.” Sailer’s wife Rachel accepted the award on his behalf.
The Grandin Theatre Foundation received the Kendig Award in the Arts and Cultural Organization category. In addition to its role as a neighborhood economic and cultural anchor offering a movie theatre, art gallery, and gathering place, the Grandin has been successful in supporting educational outreach within the community at large. Over 20 schools attended programs at the Grandin last year, and the facility has collaborated with local organizations and non-profits to present films that stimulate conversation on important issues. The newest educational outreach program is the Grandin Theatre Film Lab, an after school program for high school students interested in the cinematic arts who want to learn the process of filmmaking from screenwriting to production to editing.
The Kendig Award in the Individual or Business Arts Supporter category was presented to Judy and Joel Tenzer. For more than four decades, the Tenzers have distinguished themselves with their devotion to and patronage of the arts in the Roanoke Valley. They have served on the boards of such organizations as the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Taubman Museum of Art, the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, and Mill Mountain Theatre. “They have built relationships and networks of people to join them in collecting art, attending performances, and supporting cultural organizations,” said Roanoke College President Mike Maxey. “The Tenzers are leading by example and their long-standing commitment has truly enhanced the quality of life in our region.”
Named for the late Perry F. Kendig, who served as president of Roanoke College and was an avid supporter and patron of the arts, the Kendig Awards program was established in 1985 and presented annually by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge through 2012. Hollins and Roanoke College first partnered the following year to bestow the honors, and congratulate the 2017 winners.
Schools were chosen for the seventh annual edition of The Princeton Review’s “green guide” based on data from the company’s 2016-17 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools’ commitment to the environment and sustainability.
“We strongly recommend Hollins and the other colleges in this guide to the many environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said Princeton Review Vice President/Publisher Robert Franek.
In an effort to model sustainable practices, Hollins created an Environmental Advisory Board in 2006 composed of students, faculty, staff, and trustees to provide the university president with advice and leadership regarding identification, assessment, creation, and implementation of environmental planning and policies for the university. The following year, Hollins became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Agreement, documented its greenhouse gas emissions, and developed a plan in 2009 for reducing campus carbon emissions. As part of this commitment, an initial benchmark was set to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 15% by the end of the 2013-14 academic year. Hollins subsequently reduced its carbon footprint by 19%, one year ahead of schedule.The dramatic reduction in emissions came primarily from the university’s 8.8% decrease in electricity consumption. The university’s commitment to renewable energy initiatives, including the purchase of landfill gas, is further offsetting its carbon footprint.
Hollins has coordinated projects to promote sustainable practices, including campus-wide conservation guidelines and a recycling program; installing geothermal wells with new construction; and establishing a Green Revolving Fund to implement additional cost-effective energy conservation projects. Hollins also maintains growing academic programs in environmental studies and environmental science. In 2016, the university received the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA recognition for the institution’s commitment to efficient urban forest management.
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Forbes has once again awarded Hollins University an “A” rating for financial soundness.
For its 2017 Financial Grades report, the magazine examined private, not-for-profit colleges with at least 500 students. According to Forbes, “Our grades measure financial health as determined by by nine components broken into two main categories: balance sheet strength and operational soundness, plus certain other factors indicative of a college’s financial condition, including admission yield, percent of freshmen receiving institutional grants, and instruction expenses per student.”
Hollins University has earned high marks from the college guide described by The Washington Post as “the granddaddy of college rankings.”
U.S. News and World Report‘s 2018 Best Colleges ranks Hollins as the #37 Best Value School in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category. According to U.S. News, “The calculation used here takes into account a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its 2018 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2016-2017 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included, because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.”
Hollins is one of only three Virginia colleges and universities and six women’s colleges nationally to be ranked among the 40 Best Value Schools.
U.S. News also places Hollins at #112 among National Liberal Arts Colleges. The publication notes that schools in this category “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.”
Hollins University Professor of English Cathryn Hankla is among the nine authors who are finalists for the 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards.
The Library of Virginia’s annual literary awards recognize the best books published the previous year by Virginia authors or on a Virginia theme. The winners in each of the three categories (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) receive a monetary prize of $2,500. The finalists are chosen by an independent panel of judges from hundreds of books nominated for the awards.