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.”

Dade Hundertmark ’19 received the Outstanding Delegate Award for her service on the Council of Arab Social Affairs Ministers. 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.

 


Hollins Welcomes Southeastern College Art Conference, Showcases Drawings by Alumnae Artists

Hollins University is joining Virginia Tech in hosting the 72nd annual meeting of the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC), October 19 – 22.

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.


Hollins Theatre Hilariously Shows How Peter Pan Became an Ageless Hero

Hollins Theatre is presenting the inventive and uproarious prequel to the classic story of the boy who refused to grow up: The Tony Award-winning play Peter and the Starcatcher will be featured October 19 – 22 at 7:30 p.m., and October 22 – 23 at 2 p.m., on the Hollins University Theatre Main Stage.

Based on the bestselling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher is the story of a 13-year-old apprentice starcatcher named Molly, who navigates a world of pirates and sailors, orphans, and savages while Peter Pan learns to fly.

According to Ernie Zulia, director of the Hollins Theatre Institute, “The play by Rick Elise was created with adult audiences in mind, but clever children have also been spotted enjoying its delightful charms.”

Tickets are $10 general admission, with one free ticket available to current Hollins students, faculty, and staff. For more information, call the Hollins Theatre Box Office at (540) 362-6517 or visit www.hollins.edu/theatre.


Hollins, Roanoke College Announce Perry F. Kendig Award Winners for 2016

Local arts advocate Ginger Poole, the Taubman Museum of Art, and the Roanoke Women’s Foundation have been honored with this year’s Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards.

The awards were presented during a ceremony at Hollins University on September 14.

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.

Poole is this year’s Individual Artist award recipient. Her dedicated work as an actor, choreographer, director, educator, and collaborator has helped reinvent Mill Mountain Theatre and ensure its continued vibrancy as a professional regional theatre. She is also an active volunteer in her community through her service on the boards of the Burton Center of Performing Arts and the Virginia Commission of the Arts Review Panel.

The Taubman Museum of Art received the Kendig Award in the Arts and Cultural Organization category.  With a vision to “inspire new perspectives” and a mission to “bring people and art together for discovery, learning, and enjoyment,” the Taubman is “committed to exhibitions, programs, and experiences that inspire, enrich, and promote creativity in all walks of life and in business.” The Taubman has helped expand the rich culture of the Roanoke region through innovative use of exhibition spaces, collaborations with other nonprofits in the area, and an array of events and programming.

The Kendig Award in the Individual or Business Arts Supporter category was presented to the Roanoke Women’s Foundation. Over its first 11 years of philanthropy, the Foundation has granted nearly $2.5 million to arts and cultural organizations such as Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke Children’s Theatre, the Jefferson Center Music Lab, the Grandin Theatre Foundation, and WVTF Radio, among others. This funding has enabled these organizations to update equipment, expand programming, and improve outreach and availability of arts and cultural opportunities in the community.

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 2016 winners.


Hollins to Compete in Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

Hollins University is joining 87 colleges and universities from across the country to compete in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, which kicks off September 4 and runs through October 15.

The Challenge celebrates college students’ ideas, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned school rivalries to combat the inactivity trend among young people.

For six weeks, members of the campus community will take part in the “Mother-Nature-Meets-March-Madness” program with the goal of becoming National Outdoor Champion. An initiative of the Outdoor Foundation, the Challenge will employ prizes, competition, and gamification to fight the growing inactivity crisis in America among youth by helping connect them to the outdoors.

Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP), said, “The Challenge is a great tie-in with two significant milestones this year: the university’s 175th anniversary and HOP’s 40th anniversary. For much of our history we’ve encouraged students at every interest and skill level to stay active in ways that are exciting and a lot of fun. The Challenge represents another opportunity for our students to embrace and enjoy the many benefits of being outdoors.”

“The Challenge is about using technology for good – specifically, for the health and wellness of an entire generation of young people,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We are rewarding and incentivizing college students who spend time outside because we believe they will have memorable experiences, develop a love for the outdoors, and ultimately spend more time protecting and enjoying our beautiful parks and wild places. This is what the Challenge is about – creating a cultural shift that leads all young Americans to the great outdoors.”

In the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, individuals compete to see who can spend the most time outside and active, and earn the title of Outsider of the Year. The college or university that has the most individuals logging outside hours will be named National Outdoor Champion. With the support of Challenge sponsors, schools will provide incentives to their student bodies and larger communities to get outside and active, including stickers, gear, head-to-toe outfitting, and even a trip and an internship opportunity.

At Hollins, HOP is the lead organizer for the Challenge, planning school-wide activities and promoting individual participation. Ultimately, the goal is to have students working to build a stronger outdoor campus community and culture.

The Challenge was developed to combat some of today’s bleak statistics regarding young people and outdoor participation. Research has found that young people spend 50 percent less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. The average young adult today spends eight hours in front of a screen and only a few minutes outside.

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action-oriented outreach, and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors.

 


New Webpage Highlights 175th Anniversary

Hollins University is celebrating its 175th anniversary throughout the 2016-17 academic year, and has launched a new webpage in commemoration.

The webpage features four sections:

  • Distinguished Graduates – Profiles of Hollins alumnae/i who have made a significant impact in a wide range of fields and careers through the years.
  • 175 Moments – Events that helped shape Hollins’ remarkable and amazing story.
  • 175th Anniversary Galleries – 175 years of images capturing student life, campus buildings, and more.
  • 175th Anniversary Events – Distinguished lectures and other special activities taking place throughout the academic year in honor of this milestone.

 


Celebrating a Beloved Roanoke Landmark, Starcropolis Brings Live Theatre Back to Mill Mountain

Hollins University, the City of Roanoke, Mill Mountain Theatre, and Roanoke Public Libraries are joining forces this Labor Day Weekend to present the first-ever Starcropolis, an evening of live theatre beneath the Roanoke Star.

The event kicks off during the late afternoon of Sunday, September 4, and continues past nightfall. Tickets are $15 and will be available for purchase online later this summer.

Starcropolis is inspired by the citizens of ancient Greece, who would gather for theatre festivals at the acropolis, the highest point in any city, “to be entertained, to be inspired, to feel connected,” says Ernie Zulia, artistic director and chair of the Hollins theatre department. “The glorious backdrop for the show was the spectacular view. It offered a breathtaking perspective on the place they called ‘home.’”

Mill Mountain is “our acropolis,” adds Zulia, and “our wacky and wonderful neon Parthenon” is the Roanoke Star.

Starcropolis’ main-stage event will feature a series of short plays created specifically for the festival. Scripts and stories will be written by playwrights from the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, along with some of the region’s best-known writers. Local actors and guest performers from around the country “will weave a rich theatrical tapestry especially for Roanoke,” Zulia says.

In conjunction with the event, Roanoke Public Libraries has launched “Star Stories,” nicknamed “Starry Corps.” Library staff and volunteers are gathering, recording, and archiving stories, funny moments, and deeply human events, planned or unplanned, that have occurred at the Star.

“These ‘Star Stories’ – our stories – will provide inspiration for the playwrights, storytellers, and writers for Starcropolis,” Zulia explains. “They will also be available through the library for the interest and delight of the public.”

People can share a Star Story by calling (540) 632-2203, emailing virginiaroom@gmail.com, or visiting http://roanokeva.gov/1246/Virginia-Room.

Starcropolis attendees, dubbed “Starcatchers,” will park at the city garage across from Elmwood Park and catch the Starline Trolley to ride to the top of Mill Mountain. While waiting, they will be treated to storytelling and music at a mini star stage. After boarding the trolley, Starcatchers will be entertained by actors during their ride up the mountain. When they arrive at the Adventure Center on Mill Mountain, Starcatchers will walk along the Star Trail to the Roanoke Star. The walk will be a performance unto itself, featuring Starbursts – mini performances staged by actors, singers, storytellers, and circus performers along the way.

The main-stage event will begin at sundown on a temporary stage under a huge tent that will seat every Starcatcher who arrives at the top.  During the two hours leading up to the main-stage event, community theatres and high schools from the Roanoke area will be invited to perform short Star Stories on two smaller satellite stages.

Other elements of the festival include:

  • Starry Starry Shakespeare, featuring a collection of characters, scenes, and sonnets from the world’s greatest playwright.
  • Star Slam, where young slam poets will shake up the festival with original poetry.
  • Starry-okee, featuring karaoke versions of songs with “star” in them.
  • Star History Stop, where a local historian will share interesting and colorful information and stories about the Star, including how it came to be and how it grew to its height of fame.

“In this fast-paced world where we are all trapped in front of one kind of electronic screen or other, the live theatre event is more valuable than ever,” Zulia says. “It brings us together in one place at the same time to share a laugh, shed a tear, and experience the power of great stories – our stories.

“Along with a huge dose of fun, it is our hope that Starcropolis will illuminate, galvanize, and inspire our community in a way that only live theatre can.”

Zulia, Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill, and event co-organizer Katherine Fralin Walker talk about the genesis of Starcropolis in this video.


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.


Professor to Join Panel Discussion with Feminist Scholar, Cultural Critic bell hooks

LeeRay Costa, John P. Wheeler Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology at Hollins University, is among the scholars and practitioners who will be in dialogue with noted author and social activist bell hooks this week at Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College.

As part of the Cassandra Voss Center bell hooks Residency, Costa will participate in the panel discussion, “Becoming Mindful: Practices for Education & Life,” on Thursday, April 21. The conversation will inform the First-Year Seminar course Costa is teaching this fall at Hollins entitled, “bell hooks: rage, love, and creating beloved community.”

Honored as a leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly and one of Utne Reader’s “100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life,” hooks has written nearly 40 books, including Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which was named one of the “20 Most Influential Women’s Books of the Last 20 Years” by Publishers Weekly. Her scholarship has impacted multiple disciplines internationally, from sociology to religious studies to media communication. She is currently the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.