MFA Dance Alumna Is Named a 2018 USA Fellow

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 Named a 2018 “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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 Personal Finance. “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.


Hollins Alumna Earns Society for Neuroscience’s Premier Prize

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.


Hollins, Roanoke College Name Kendig Award Winners for 2017

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.

 


Hollins Featured in Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges

Hollins University is one of the nation’s 375 most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the 2017 edition of The Princeton Review Guide to 375 Green Colleges.

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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Hollins Earns “A” Grade for Fiscal Fitness from Forbes

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.”

Forbes also ranked Hollins among America’s Top Colleges for the year.

 

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U.S. News Ranks Hollins Among the Nation’s 40 Best Value Schools

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.”

U.S. News‘ profile of Hollins features a detailed overview of academics, cost and aid, how to apply, and more.

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Hollins Author Is Finalist for Library of Va. Literary Award

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.

Hankla is one of three finalists in the poetry category for Great Bear, published by Groundhog Poetry Press.

The winner in each category will be announced at a gala celebration on Saturday, October 14, at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

 


Hollins Professor’s Novel Wins Kafka Prize

As Close to Us as Breathing, a novel by Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner, has captured the 2017 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.

Established in 1976 and presented by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester, the Kafka Prize is given annually to a woman who is a U.S. citizen and has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, be it a novel, short story, or experimental writing.  Previous winners include such distinguished authors as Toni Morrison, Ursula Le Guin, and Anne Tyler.

According to the Kafka Prize webpage, the award honors its namesake, “a young editor who was killed in a car accident just as her career was beginning. Those who knew her believed she would do much to further the causes of literature and women. Her family, friends, and professional associates created the endowment from which the prize is bestowed, in memory of Janet Heidinger Kafka and the literary standards and personal ideals for which she stood.”

Poliner will participate in a reading, award ceremony, and book signing at the University of Rochester on November 2.

As Close to Us as Breathing is the story of a close-knit Jewish family that strives to cope following a tragedy. The novel is “vivid, complex, and beautifully written,” said Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World. “[It] brims with characters who leave an indelible impression on the mind and heart. Elizabeth Poliner is a wonderful talent and she should be read widely, and again and again.”

The Kafka Prize is the latest of several honors the novel has received. In May, the book was named a finalist for the 2017 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award. Last November, As Close to Us as Breathing was selected as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks for 2016 and an Amazon Best Book for March of that year.

 

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Princeton Review Ranks Hollins Among the Nation’s Top 20 Colleges in Four Categories

The Princeton Review places Hollins University among the nation’s top institutions for undergraduate education in the new edition of its college guide, The Best 382 Colleges.

Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two colleges outside the U.S. are profiled in the book, which has been published annually since 1992. The Best 382 Colleges features detailed profiles of each school with rating scores in eight categories.

“We chose Hollins for this book because it offers outstanding academics,” said Robert Franek, editor-in-chief at The Princeton Review and author of The Best 382 Colleges. “Our selections are primarily based on our surveys of administrators at several hundred four-year colleges. We also visit dozens of colleges each year and give considerable weight to opinions of our staff and our 24-member National College Counselor Advisory Board. Most importantly, we look at valuable feedback from each school’s customers – our surveys of students attending them.”

The Princeton Review’s surveys of students attending these colleges are the basis for the book’s ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories. Hollins is on the following ranking lists:

#5   Most Active Student Government
#6   Most Politically Active Students
#10 Best College Theater
#11  Best Career Services

In its profile, The Princeton Review praises Hollins as “a place for unique individuals to thrive, empowering each other and forming a supportive community for women. The alumn[ae] network is similarly solid, and many students land jobs and internships through previous graduates.” The Best 382 Colleges also quotes extensively from Hollins students the educational services company surveyed for the book. Among their comments:

“…a great place for people who want life experience….”

“…a lot of incredible opportunities for anyone willing to take them.”

“[Hollins professors are] amazing, talented, dedicated, and compassionate.”

“Every day I am surrounded by mountains. It’s a vacation view in every direction.”

 

The 2018 edition of The Best 382 Colleges was published August 1.