“Dallas Buyers Club” Screenwriter Craig Borten Visits Hollins

Craig Borten, the Academy Award-nominated co-writer of Dallas Buyers Club, is coming to Hollins University for an intimate screening of the film, a question-and-answer session, and a reception on Friday, June 23, beginning at 7 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

Admission to this exclusive event is free and open to the public.

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff, who worked around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they needed after he was diagnosed with the disease. The 2013 movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.

“I’m eager to share a firsthand account of the process of screenwriting and my passion for the film industry,” said Borten, who joins the program at the invitation of Tim Albaugh, director of the Hollins graduate screenwriting and film studies program.

After the screening, Borten and Albaugh will discuss the difficult path to production for the film, Borten’s career, and the movie making business.

“Our students’ favorite part of the screenwriting and film studies program is our guest artist visits,” said Albaugh. “We are lucky to hear from Craig about the lessons learned from his experiences in the film industry, and we will pair this real-world advice with our faculty’s academic expertise to help students succeed.”

Each summer, Hollins’ program welcomes guest artists to campus to share their work and experience. Program faculty include professional film and television writers as well as professors from world-renowned film schools such as UCLA and NYU.

Dallas Buyers Club was the first produced screenplay by Borten. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay. He also cowrote The 33, which is based on the true story of 33 Chilean miners trapped in a mine for 69 days. Currently, he is in production on an hour-long drama series for A+E Studios on the opioid epidemic. Borten has been writing scripts for more than 20 years.


175th Commencement Exercises to be Held May 21

Hollins will celebrate its 175th commencement on Sunday, May 21, at 10 a.m. on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle.

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 that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Prize. 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 preeminent in character.

Renowned neuroscientist Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten, a member of Hollins’ class of 1971, is this year’s guest speaker.

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 initiatives have 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.

In acknowledgment of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Hatten was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

More information about Hollins’ 175th commencement can be found here.


Wilson Museum Presents Senior Majors Exhibition

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is highlighting the work of seven studio art majors from the class of 2017 during the Senior Majors Exhibition, May 9 – May 21.

The exhibition is the final requirement for art students earning their bachelor’s degree and is the capstone experience of a yearlong senior project.

Studio art majors featured in the show include Natalie Marie Badawy, Suprima Bhele, Laura Carden, Samantha Dozal, Madi Hurley, Erin M. Leslie, and Maggie Perrin-Key. The exhibition will be on display in the Ballator-Thompson and Wilson Galleries.

The Wilson Museum will host an opening reception for the 2017 Senior Majors Exhibition on Tuesday, May 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the first floor lobby of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

The Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m.. Admission is always free.


Hollins Honors the University’s Founder and Sustainers

Hollins commemorated Founder’s Day and the university’s 175th anniversary by paying tribute to all who played a crucial role in its history during Hollins Day: Celebrating 175 Years, a special event held February 23 in the Hollins Theatre.

“We honor our founder, Charles Lewis Cocke, who devoted his life to ‘the higher education of women in the South’ during an era when many women were denied the opportunity to earn a college degree,” President Nancy Gray stated in her opening remarks. “We also honor all others who were important in our institutional history. Hollins was founded during a time in American history when slavery existed, especially in the South. Men and women worked at Hollins before and during the Civil War as enslaved people. None of us are proud of that aspect of our history, which runs contrary to our fundamental belief in freedom for all.

“We remain grateful to members of what was known at the time as the Oldfields Community, who, along with our founder, helped us become the institution we are today.”

The event culminated months of planning by the Hollins Heritage Committee, a group of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to promoting campus-wide dialogue on issues of collective memory, diversity, and reconciliation.

“This may never have happened without the activism and energy of our amazing student body here at Hollins,” Associate Professor and Director of International Studies and Heritage Committee Chair Jon Bohland told the convocation audience. “Like many institutions, Hollins University now engages with the ghosts of its past as we endeavor to tell our collective 175-year story in its entirety, celebrating our many triumphs while openly acknowledging our faults and our misdeeds.

“It is because of student activism that our campus is now beginning a very public and transparent engagement with our past, even when it is painful. I want to personally thank the students for your work in jump-starting this process here at Hollins and congratulate you for joining the students from universities across the country engaged in similar campaigns.”

Bohland announced that Hollins has recently become part of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, a group of 25 North American colleges and universities that meets twice a year “to share best practices and to draw strength from our collective efforts.”

The Hollins Heritage Committee’s work is ongoing, and alumnae who have research or other information about Hollins during the Civil War era are invited to contact Associate Professor of International Studies and Committee Chair Jon Bohland (jbohland@hollins.edu) or Special Collections and Government Information Librarian Beth Harris (bharris@hollins.edu).

Other highlights of the 175th anniversary celebration included:

  • Voices from Our Past, featuring current students, faculty, and staff reading first-person accounts of members of the campus community from throughout the school’s history, including an African-American who was enslaved at Hollins.
  • The 175, a video produced by the Hollins dance department featuring 175 members of the campus community performing their own singular movements.
  • Songs of Hollins: Past and Present, performed by the Hollins University Choirs.

In addition, Gray and Vice President for Academic Affairs Trish Hammer announced the following awards:

  • The Roberta A. Stewart Service Award was presented to Professor of Art Robert Sulkin. The award is granted annually to a member of the community, employed by the university, whose service most closely reflects the extraordinary standards set by Stewart during 40 years at Hollins. Recipients demonstrate long-term service; loyalty to the university and commitment to its principles; effectiveness; friendly, cooperative acceptance of responsibilities; genuine wisdom; and deep caring for students and colleagues.
  • Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner received this year’s Herta T. Freitag Faculty Legacy Award. First presented in 2000, the award is given to a member of the faculty whose recent scholarly and creative accomplishments reflect the academic standards set by Freitag, who served as professor of mathematics at Hollins from 1948 to 1971. Poliner’s novel, As Close to Us as Breathing, was among Amazon.com’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks for 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.”
  • The annual Hollins University Teaching Award was given to Cleo Mack, a teacher at Middlesex County School in New Jersey. The award celebrates a member of the teaching profession who has dedicated his or her time and talent to preparing the nominating student for an outstanding liberal arts education. Mack was nominated by Lianna King ’17. The award is endowed by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker ’58.

Special guests included members of the Cocke family, descendants of those who worked as enslaved people on the campus during Hollins’ early years, and members of the Hollins University Board of Trustees.

Following the convocation, Hollins’ senior class continued its tradition of processing to the Cocke family cemetery to place wreaths on the family’s graves. This year, for the first time, the seniors also placed a wreath outside Wyndham Robertson Library to honor the contributions of enslaved men and women.

Photo: Members of Hollins’ class of 2017 place wreaths at the Cocke family cemetery and Wyndham Robertson Library.

 

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Wilson Museum Shares Works from the Largest Gift in its History

Last May, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University received the largest gift in its history, a collection of 385 preliminary paintings, drawings, and prints by one of France’s noted modernists, Jean Hélion.

Beginning February 2, the Wilson Museum will display 40 of these works, most of which have never been previously shown to the public, in an exhibition called Hélion Highlights: Selections from the Blair Family Gift.

Hélion is best known in France for experimenting with the various looks of early modernism, and his early work has long been sought after and collected by museums and private collectors around the world. Now, his figurative work from the middle to the late 20th century, unorthodox at the time it was created, is being reexamined. Several recent international exhibits in Paris and New York have created new interest in the artist.

Hélion mostly worked in series, visually exploring and observing every detail that went into a finished painting. Everyday scenes featuring food items, the female figure, shop windows, flea markets, people under umbrellas, and people reading newspapers were common subjects.

“The drawings in our exhibition range from simple but expressive lines to detailed drawings in graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, or pastel, and heightened with watercolors,” said Jenine Culligan, director of the Wilson Museum. “They render almost every detail found in the finished work. The viewer can almost see in these works the inner functions of Hélion’s mind searching for the ideal composition, color, and expression.”

Culligan added, “This collection makes Hollins University a major repository for Hélion studies.”

Hélion was born in France in 1904. He married an American from Virginia and lived off and on in the commonwealth from 1936 to 1940. He returned in 1942 during World War II to work in New York City after escaping from a German prison ship. He left the United States in 1946 and spent the rest of his life in France. He died in 1987.

Hélion Highlights: Selections from the Blair Family Gift will be on view in the Wilson gallery of the museum through Sunday, March 26.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is open Tuesday – Sunday from noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays from noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.


Financial Literacy Workshop Preps Students for Life Beyond College

Hollins University students received a crash course in personal finance during Financial IQ, an interactive program led by Director of Financial Aid Mary Jean Sullivan, on January 17.

The importance of creating and sticking to a personal budget was the crux of the program, which also emphasized taking stock of one’s own financial situation, learning the difference between “need” and “want,” the significance of an individual’s credit score, avoiding identity theft, and where to find resources from experts in personal finance.

“Knowing and understanding money while you’re young and still in college is empowering, and excellent preparation for life after you graduate,” Sullivan explained. “The workshop’s goal is to help students gain a better understanding of money management practices and to take the time to look at their finances.”

Financial IQ welcomed students from across the spectrum. “I attended not only because I’m a business major, but also because I like to save money,” said Sheyann, a first-year student. “I’m excited to apply what I learned to my business skills and my personal life.”

Josalyn, a graduate student, added, “Learning about personal finance is absolutely necessary, and I think this workshop was very practical.”


Expert Panel to Discuss America’s Political Party System

Political scientists from Hollins University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Tech will explore what the next few years may hold for the Democratic and Republican parties during the panel presentation “After 2016 – The State of the American Political Party System” on Thursday, February 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

The panel will look at what has been happening both within and between America’s two major political parties, their future paths, and whether this is the beginning of the end of the two-party system.

Participants will include: Karen Hult, chair of Virginia Tech’s department of political science; Jason Kelly, assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech; Ed Lynch, professor of political science at Hollins; and Harold Wilson, director of Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

The event will be moderated by Jong Ra, professor of political science and chair of the department of global politics and societies at Hollins.

 


Wilson Museum Presents “Views of Tinker Mountain by Ron Boehmer”

In celebration of Hollins University’s 175th anniversary, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is featuring Views of Tinker Mountain by Ron Boehmer in the Ballator-Thompson Gallery, January 12 through April 30.

The exhibition showcases 14 studies of Boehmer’s oil painting, Tinker Creek, which has been on view in Hollins’ Main Building since 1991. Boehmer donated 12 of the studies to Hollins; they are now part of the Wilson Museum’s permanent collection and are being displayed for the first time alongside the finished painting. Two additional studies of Tinker Creek were recently donated to the museum by Hollins Professor Emeritus of Art Bill White.

Boehmer is recognized as one of Virginia’s foremost landscape painters. He has exhibited in more than 130 solo, group, and juried exhibitions and festivals, and is currently represented by the following galleries: Nichols Gallery, Barboursville, Virginia; Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, Virginia; Carspecken-Scott Gallery, Wilmington, Delaware; and Lin-Dor Gallery, Roanoke. He has been featured in PleinAir Magazine, Lynchburg Magazine, and the books 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic by Gary Pendleton and The Virginia Landscape: A Cultural History by James C. Kelly and William Rasmussen.

A lecture by the artist will be presented on Sunday, February 5, at 3 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center. A reception will follow.

Located in the Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Admission is always free.


Hollins Students Earn Accolades at Model Arab League

A team of Hollins University students was named Distinguished Delegation at the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (ARMAL), held November 4 – 6 on the Hollins campus.

Hollins represented Saudi Arabia at the conference.

Model Arab League (MAL) is the flagship student leadership development program of the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR). Similar in organization and format to Model United Nations, MAL focuses on the 22 member states that make up the League of Arab States.

According to NCUSAR, “MAL provides primarily American but also Arab and other international students opportunities to develop invaluable leadership skills. There is no comparable opportunity that allows emerging leaders to learn firsthand what it is like to put themselves in the shoes of real-life Arab diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners.”

Seventeen delegations from 11 schools, including seven colleges and universities, three high schools, and one middle school, participated in ARMAL. The turnout represented an increase of five delegations from last year’s conference.

“This is the second year Hollins has hosted this conference, and it was so successful that we have been invited to the National University Model Arab League conference, which takes place in Washington, D.C., this March,” said Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch, ARMAL coordinator. “Only 26 colleges and universities nationwide are included.”

Aubrey Hobby ’18 was named Distinguished Chair for her leadership of that council. Recognized as Distinguished Delegates were Samantha Makseyn ’19 and Reilly Swennes ’20, who participated in the Council on Palestinian Affairs, and Shannon Gallagher ’20, who served on the Council of Arab Environmental Affairs Ministers.

Hanna Strauss ’19 was the ARMAL secretary-general and Hayley Harrington ’19 served as assistant secretary-general.

Samuel Tadros, senior fellow at Washington’s Hudson Institute, was the keynote speaker. His address focused on the status of Christians in the Arabic-speaking world.

Among the colleges and universities joining Hollins this year were Converse College, Georgia Southern University, Radford University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Tech. The participating high schools were Chatham Hall, Franklin County High School, and Roanoke Catholic High School. Roanoke’s Community School Middle School sent an observer delegation, the first time a middle school has taken part in a Model Arab League conference.


News 7: Hollins University Celebrates Tinker Day Tradition

Roanoke’s News 7 was on hand for the kick-off of Tinker Day, one of Hollins’ oldest and most beloved traditions.

“Hollins women have been reaching summits in all walks of life,” President Nancy Gray told students in her official Tinker Day proclamation on Front Quad, “whether we are leading, exploring, transforming, educating, or inspiring. Conquering Tinker Mountain is only the beginning.”

See News 7’s Tinker Day coverage here or check out photos and videos from this year.