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.


Legendary White House Correspondent Ann Compton ’69 to Speak at 174th Commencement

Pioneering broadcast journalist and Hollins alumna Ann Compton will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises. The ceremony takes place Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

After graduating from Hollins in 1969, 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.”


“This Is Your Moment in Time”: Hollins Celebrates the Class of 2015 at Its 173rd Commencement

Hollins’ class of 2015 was encouraged to “live purposefully, live authentically, live courageously, live passionately, and live compassionately” during the university’s 173rd Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 24.

A total of 218 Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Arts degrees were conferred during the morning ceremony on Hollins’ historic Front Quadrangle.

A photo album with highlights of this year’s commencement ceremony can be viewed here

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, a member of Hollins’ class of 1975 and founding and senior pastor of the 5,000-member Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, was this year’s guest speaker. Considered one of America’s most dynamic pastors, Hale told the graduates, “You are among the brightest and best minds in the world. You are gifted beyond measure, graced with unlimited potential and possibility. The sky is the limit for what you can be and what you can do.

“You sit poised for the next phase of your life, excited but no doubt a little anxious about leaving the place you’ve called home for the last four years. You are wondering if you are ready for the world. The question is not, are you ready for the world, but is the world ready for you?

“You are prepared to handle whatever challenges come your way as you take your rightful place in the world as Hollins women. [But] the world still struggles to be an equitable place in providing the same opportunities for women that it affords to men.

“My sisters, this is your cue. This is your moment in time. There’s a world out there that desperately needs you, your gifts, your knowledge, your creativity, your voice.”

Hale offered five principles to guide graduates whatever path they choose to take in life:

  • “Focus your strength, time, and energy. What are the essential things you need to be doing? Get rid of all distractions. A purposeful woman is a confident woman.”
  • “Be your true self. Women, one of our greatest challenges is to believe in ourselves. Where you go is really up to you. It’s all about what lies within.”
  •  “Be courageous. Some folks think courage is the absence of fear. But, it’s the ability to press on in spite of your fear.”
  • “Passion is the key to success. Loving what you do will cause you to work hard to make it happen. Passion increases willpower when you get discouraged or tired. It makes the impossible possible.”
  • “Value each person and treat them with dignity and respect.”

Following Hale’s remarks, Thomas Barron, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, presented her the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her distinguished career in the ministry.

Hale’s address may be viewed in its entirety here.

Other honors presented at this year’s commencement included:

Faculty Awards for Academic Excellence

Given by the faculty, these awards recognize the students with the highest academic standings in the class of 2015. This year’s recipients are chemistry major Adeiye Ayodele Pilgrim (highest standing) and economics major Thao Thanh Nguyen (second highest standing).

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 that show love and helpfulness to other men and women. Chanice Holmes, a dance major, is this year’s honoree.

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. This year’s awardee is film major and Student Government Association President Georden West.

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 preeminent in character and leadership. Molly Budd, a biology major, is this year’s recipient.

Hollins University Teaching Award

This annual award celebrates a member of the teaching profession who has dedicated his or her time and talent in preparing the nominating student for an outstanding liberal arts education. This award is endowed by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker ’58. Sister Mary Brigid Burnham, English and Latin teacher at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Virginia, was presented this year’s award. She was nominated by English major Kathryn Sirks.