Books written by a Hollins University faculty member and two Hollins alumnae have been named finalists for the 2017 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award.
As Close to Us as Breathing by Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner was nominated for the People’s Choice Fiction Award, while Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy M.A. ’93, and Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith ’67, are finalists in the People’s Choice Nonfiction category.
“These awards, which are part of the Library’s annual Literary Awards celebration, recognize the finest among Virginia authors and works about our great Commonwealth,” said Amy Bridge, executive director of the Library of Virginia Foundation.
Anyone can participate in the voting for the People’s Choice Award by visiting this link. Voting is open until July 15. There is also a ballot on the site that can be printed and mailed to the Library (it must be received by July 15 to be counted).
The People’s Choice Award winners will be announced at the 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration in Richmond on October 14. Winners of the People’s Choice Fiction and Nonfiction prizes will each win a cash prize of $2,500.
In acknowledgment of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Hollins, she earned a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University and did her postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She subsequently served with the New York University School of Medicine and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
In 1992, Hatten joined Rockefeller 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.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation are among Hatten’s many accolades. In 2015 she was presented the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience. She is a recipient of the Hollins Distinguished Alumnae Award.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
Betsy B. Carr, who represents parts of the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County (69th District) in the Virginia House of Delegates, has introduced House Joint Resolution No. 660, commending Hollins University on its 175th anniversary.
Delegate Carr is a member of Hollins’ class of 1968 and was elected to the House of Delegates in 2009.
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Emmons; former Atlanta Falcons linebacker and five-time Pro Bowler Keith Brooking; Atlanta Hawks radio broadcaster Steve Holman; high school, college, and professional basketball coach Bob Reinhart; and cable network sports reporter Craig Sager will be officially inducted at a ceremony at Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater on February 17, 2017.
The Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor Atlanta sports heroes, remember great moments in Atlanta sports history, and preserve the past from which future generations can learn and take pride.
In her 22 years as head of the Atlanta Track Club, Emmons was very active on the national running scene. She served as chair of women’s long distance running for USA Track & Field from 1990-1996. She directed the men’s and women’s marathons and race walks for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and was on the U.S. women’s track and field team for the 2004 Athens Olympics as assistant coach for endurance events. In 2005, Emmons served as an assistant manager for the U.S. track and field team at the World Championships in Helsinki.
Emmons is one of the Distinguished Graduates that Hollins is showcasing during the university’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2016-17.
Poliner’s novel As Close to Us as Breathing was an Amazon Best Book for March 2016. The story of a close-knit Jewish family that strives to cope following a tragedy 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.”
In Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, Smith recalls how she became a storyteller while growing up in the Appalachian South, and discusses what later convinced her to embrace her heritage. “Smith delivers a memoir that shines with a bright spirit, a generous heart and an entertaining knack for celebrating absurdity,” noted The New York Times Book Review. “Although Dimestore is constructed as a series of personal essays, it presents as full a sense of a life as any traditional narrative.”
Hollins University has received the largest single gift assurance in the school’s 175-year history: Elizabeth Hall McDonnell and her husband, James S. McDonnell III, have arranged a commitment through the JSM Charitable Trust of $20 million.
The pledge is intended for the university’s unrestricted endowment.
“We applaud Libby and James McDonnell for their vision and generosity, and the positive and lasting influence they are making on the history of Hollins,” said Judy Lambeth, chair of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. “We rejoice in this truly significant milestone as we celebrate this year our 175th anniversary of educating women who are leading, exploring, transforming, and inspiring our communities and the world.”
Elizabeth McDonnell is a member of Hollins’ class of 1962 and has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 2008. She and her husband reside in St. Louis, and this gift commitment continues their legacy of giving to the university: In 2015, they committed $6.5 million through the St. Louis Community Foundation to fund renovations to the university’s Dana Science Building and Hollins Theatre and to support visiting faculty in the theatre and playwriting programs. They also gave $3 million through the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation in 2009 to transform and update the theatre space.
“I thank the McDonnells for their remarkable generosity and informed understanding of the importance of an unrestricted endowment,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “This designation will allow us to address priority needs or fund exceptional opportunities, wherever the impact for Hollins will be the most significant.”
SECAC promotes the study and practice of the visual arts in higher education and includes individual and institutional members from across the United States. It is the second largest national organization of its kind.
Hollins’ Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center is currently exhibiting two floors of art work in conjunction with SECAC’s annual Juried Exhibition and reception on Thursday evening, October 20. The second floor features an exhibition of relief prints from across the United States, while the third floor is displaying drawings by recent Hollins alumnae, including Katelyn Osborne, Catherine Gural, Nancy Van Noppen, JD Donnelly, Kyri Lorenz, Mary Kate Claytor, Hillary Kursh, MaKayla Songer, Meredith Stafford, Lindsay Overstreet Cronise, and Mercededs Eliassen Fleagle.
Both shows will be available for viewing through Thursday, October 27.
“We are indebted to President Nancy Oliver Gray for her generous support,” said Conference Director Kevin Concannon, director of the School of Visual Arts and professor of art history at Virginia Tech. Concannon also cited Associate Professor of Art Jennifer Anderson and Jenine Culligan, director of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, for their work in organizing this year’s event.
Mezzo soprano Helena Brown graduated from Hollins in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. Now, she’s returning to the area to perform in Opera Roanoke‘s production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. The Roanoke Times’ Mike Allen talks with Brown about her musical career and how studying at Hollins “was one of the best decisions I made in the course of my life….”
Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91 has been awarded the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement from the Academy of American Poets.
The Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and former U.S. poet laureate will receive a $25,000 prize.
The fellowship has been presented annually since 1946 to a single poet, and was the first award of its kind in the United States. Previous winners include Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost, and Ezra Pound.
“Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities,” said Marilyn Nelson, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. “Whether writing of her complex family torn by tragic loss, or in diverse imagined voices from the more distant past, Trethewey encourages us to reflect, learn, and experience delight. The wide scope of her interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.”
Trethewey’s works include Native Guard (2006), winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and three other poetry collections: Thrall (2012), Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), and Domestic Work (2000). Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a book of creative nonfiction, was published in 2010.
Trethewey was inducted in 2013 into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2012 was named the state poet laureate of Mississippi. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.