Hollins, Roanoke College Announce Perry F. Kendig Award Winners for 2015


Local author Nancy Ruth Patterson, the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, and the Southwest Virginia Ballet have been honored with this year’s Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards.

The awards were presented during a ceremony in Roanoke College’s Wortmann Ballroom on September 2.

Co-sponsored by Hollins University and Roanoke College, the Kendig Awards program is celebrating 30 years of recognizing distinction in arts and culture in the Roanoke Valley. Awards are presented in each of the following categories: Individual Artist, Individual or Business Supporter, and Arts and Culture Organization.

Patterson, this year’s Individual Artist award recipient, is the author of five novels for children.  All have been honored on Master Reading Lists in 10 states, and three have been adapted and performed for the professional stage. Upon retiring after 33 years as a teacher and administrator with Roanoke City Schools, she joined the adjunct faculty of the University of Virginia, teaching graduate courses in literature for children and young adults as well as memoir writing. She has spoken at more than 500 national conferences and workshops and has written numerous articles on the craft of writing. At her 2002 induction into the Virginia High School League’s Hall of Fame, Patterson was cited as “one of the most sought-after writing teachers in the country.”

The Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the community foundation serving the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Lexington and Martinsville, the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Henry, and Alleghany, and other surrounding areas, received the Kendig Award for Individual or Business Supporter.  Since its establishment in 1988, the foundation has had an extraordinary economic and cultural impact on the region by supporting a wide range of projects. It fulfills its mission by:

  • Enabling donors to carry out their charitable intent through endowment funds
  • Providing responsible stewardship for entrusted funds
  • Making creative grants for current and future community needs and opportunities
  • Offering comprehensive services to encourage and advance effective philanthropy
  • Promoting and participating in collaborative efforts to shape a healthy, caring community
  • Providing opportunities to strengthen local nonprofits

The Kendig Award in the Arts and Cultural Organization category was presented to the Southwest Virginia Ballet (SVB). Founded in 1990, SVB serves over 10,000 children and adults annually and provides pre-professional quality performances of varied repertoire including classical ballet, contemporary, and modern works.  The company is a training ground for regional dancers possibly seeking a career in dance or dance related fields. In addition to full-length productions, SVB performs throughout the year at area festivals and events and has collaborated with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Opera Roanoke. SVB’s annual production of The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition and routinely brings together as many as 180 SVB company and community members.

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 2015 winners.

Hollins, Roanoke College Accepting Nominations for the 2015 Perry F. Kendig Awards

The Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards, which this year celebrates 30 years of recognizing exemplary individuals, businesses, and organizations in the Roanoke Valley that support excellence in the arts, is now welcoming nominations for its 2015 honors.

The deadline for nominations is July 15.

Hollins University and Roanoke College have co-sponsored the awards since 2013, and Roanoke College will host the 2015 Kendig Awards presentation on September 2.

Three Kendig Awards will be presented this year, one in each of the following categories:

  • Individual Artist (in all disciplines – dance, literature, music, media arts, visual arts, and theatre)
  • Arts and/or Cultural Organization
  • Individual or Business Supporter

Individuals, businesses, and organizations from the Roanoke region (which includes the counties of Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the town of Vinton) are eligible, as are past Kendig Award recipients from 1985 – 2012.

“The Kendig Awards program provides a focal point for celebrating the Roanoke Valley’s cultural identity,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “This initiative enables all of us to realize and appreciate the vital role arts and culture play in economic development as well as education in our schools.”

“Presenting this annual program builds an even stronger arts and culture bridge between our respective campus environments and the community at large,” added Roanoke College President Mike Maxey. “We are proud to join once again with Hollins to champion this event.”

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 awards were presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for 27 years.


Hollins Partners with Other Local Colleges and Universities for “Selma” Screening

Hollins University is joining an effort led by Jefferson College of Health Sciences to bring together the communities from six Roanoke Valley higher education institutions and programs for a screening of the Academy Award® nominated film, Selma, on Tuesday, January 27.

Students, faculty, and staff from Jefferson College and Hollins as well as Ferrum College, Radford University’s DPT Program, Roanoke College, and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are participating in the screening, which will take place at Roanoke’s Grandin Theatre.

The purpose of the event is to promote discussions in and among local college communities about equal rights and the need to continue to build “the beloved community” espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The screening of the film serves to bridge the schools’ observances and celebrations of King’s birthday and Black History Month in February.

To give the audience context for the film and the time period in which it took place, a prescreening discussion will kick off the event at 5 p.m. The film will begin at 5:25 p.m. Following the screening, the audience will be invited to the Grandin Colab for conversation and reflection.

Nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song Oscars, Selma tells the true story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 campaign to gain equal voting rights despite violent opposition. A march led by King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, culminated in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the civil rights movement’s most important and enduring accomplishments.

Special Program, Day of Service to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hollins University is observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in advance of the January 19 national holiday with events and activities on Friday, January 16.

Students, faculty, and staff will commemorate King’s life and work with a program of poems, songs, and original works at 12:15 p.m. in the Moody Student Center’s Wrobel Dining Room. The program is presented by Hollins’ Office of Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE), the class of 2018, and the President’s Office.

Then, CCE and the student volunteer organization S.H.A.R.E. will sponsor a Day of Service in the Roanoke community from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Students will be helping at a variety of area organizations including Angels of Assisi,  Bradley Free Clinic, Carilion Children’s Clinic, Carilion Elderly Unit, Friendship Manor, Roanoke Rescue Mission, and Roanoke Valley SPCA.

Hollins Competes in Second Annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia

Hollins is one of nine contending teams taking part in the second annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia, a “can do” event raising hunger awareness and collecting food through a colossal canned food sculpture competition.

This year’s exhibit will be on display at downtown Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, November 7 – 22.

All day on Friday, November 7, the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite “cansculpture” by bringing $1 or one can, per vote, to the Taubman. Opening Night Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and winning cansculptures are revealed during an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced at 7 p.m.

Collection bins will be placed inside the Taubman Museum throughout the entire Canstruction SWVA exhibit to accept donations of even more cans of food from the public. When the exhibit closes, cansculptures are dismantled and all cans collected and used to create cansculptures go directly to the Feeding America Southwest Virginia food bank for distribution to people confronting hunger who live throughout our region – just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

Last year’s inaugural Canstruction SWVA event raised nearly 27,000 cans, totaling more than 27,181 pounds of food, making it Feeding America’s second largest food drive. Event organizers estimate that this year’s Canstruction SWVA will contribute more than 35,000 cans plus the donations of canned food dropped off at the Taubman by visitors to the exhibit.

For more information, visit www.canstructionswva.com, www.facebook.com/CanstructionSouthwestVirginia, or @CansSWVA on Twitter.

Hollins to Explore Affiliation with State Department’s Women in Public Service Project

womenserviceHollins University President Nancy Gray joined other women’s college presidents from throughout the nation at the inaugural colloquium of the Women in Public Service Project, held at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C.

“The goal of the Women in Public Service Project is to cultivate a generation of women leaders who will invest in their democratic countries, be willing to provide leadership through public service to the governments, and change the way global solutions are forged,” Gray explains. “The project intends to create training and mentoring opportunities for emerging and aspiring women leaders to establish and sustain an international network of such leaders.”

Gray adds that the project is currently an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of State and five of the “Seven Sisters” colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley. However, she notes that “the partnership is eager to expand and include other colleges, especially women’s colleges.”

The colloquium, which Gray describes as “a remarkable event,” was keynoted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and featured addresses from Christine Lagarde, president of the International Monetary Fund, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Hollins Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

honorHollins University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Elson Nash, acting director of strategic partnerships for the CNCS. “Hollins’ selection to the Honor Roll is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for its commitment to service and civic engagement on its campus and in our nation.”

Honorees for the award are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Hollins offers students a number of ways to get actively involved with community service. For example, the annual Day of Service helps new students connect with the Roanoke Valley during their first week on campus. Students Helping Achieve Rewarding Experiences (SHARE)  recruits and places student volunteers with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Sandusky Service House is a campus residence hall where students are required to perform at least ten hours of volunteer work each month and promote service activities on campus and in the community. And, for more than 20 years, the Jamaica Service Project has invited students to spend Spring Break helping an impoverished community in the island nation.

The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative. It oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.

Hollins Community Helps Build New Segment of Tinker Creek Greenway Trail

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAApproximately 80 Hollins University students, faculty and staff volunteered their time and labor to help clear a new portion of the Tinker Creek Greenway trail on April 6.

The two-foot wide walking path runs three-quarters of a mile across Hollins property and ultimately will provide access to over 40 miles of trails at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve.

“Hollins has a long and distinguished tradition of community service, and we’ve worked closely with Roanoke County and interested citizens to establish this route,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “Helping build this greenway is a great way for our campus community to give back to the Roanoke Valley and enhance the quality of life in our region.”

Here’s a video of the day’s work.

Hollins Answers the Call to Help Fill “Elijah’s Backpack”

elijahThe Hollins University campus community donated 530 food items in support of the Elijah’s Backpack Food Drive, held October 10 – 17.

Sponsored by Roanoke’s St. Philip Lutheran Church, Elijah’s Backpack provides local children with healthy meals when their families struggle to do so. Officials at Mountain View and Burlington elementary schools in Roanoke County select students on the basis of need to receive a selection of individual serving-sized breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items in their backpacks each Friday afternoon.

The chaplain’s office at Hollins placed donation boxes in Moody Dining Hall and duPont Chapel and collected cereal, fruit cups, soup, oatmeal, juices, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, granola bars, and many other nutritious food items. Donations were still arriving at the chapel as University Chaplain Jenny Call and student volunteers prepared to transport the goods to St. Philip on the afternoon of October 17.

 “I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of Hollins’ students, faculty and staff, and how they give of their time and resources to help others,” said Call. “Through the food collection drive we are able to support 42 students in need at two local elementary schools. We are honored to partner with the wonderful ministry that Elijah’s Backpack offers to our community.”

In addition to food items, the Elijah’s Backpack program welcomes financial gifts as well as volunteers to help pack and deliver backpacks on a weekly basis. For more information, contact Pastor Kelly Derrick at (540) 366-7046 or pastorkelly@stphiliplutheran.net.

Playwright’s Lab’s New Works Initiative Builds Artistic, Economic Partnerships Locally and Nationwide

PlaywrightsLabFrom Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City to Burlington, Vermont, and here in Roanoke, the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University is developing an impressive number of new stage productions by emerging student writers, thanks to a collaborative program described as “re-inventing Off-Off-Broadway.”

The New Works Initiative of the Playwright’s Lab was established in 2008 and has already helped provide production assistance and travel costs for dozens of student readings and productions in legitimate theatres nationally and locally. It enables student writers to work with guest professional directors and offers support for them to work as actors, dramaturgs, and designers on plays by prominent guest writers associated with the Playwright’s Lab such as Lucy Thurber, recipient of the first Gary Bonasorte Memorial Prize for Playwriting; television writer and playwright Jeff Goode; and Obie Award-winner W. David Hancock.

“We have been able to bring more than 70 top-tier artists to Roanoke to work with our students and build an energized, enthusiastic audience for new plays,” says Todd Ristau, program director of the Playwright’s Lab. “It is the perfect place to develop new work that can go on to productions in major theatre centers.” For example, The Arctic Circle and a Recipe for Swedish Pancakes, written by Playwright’s Lab student Samantha Macher, was produced at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre and then transferred with the original cast to the Playwright’s Horizon Studios in Manhattan.

“We’ve mounted more than 25 full productions of plays associated with our program, and we’ve staged dozens of readings, presented special touring events and workshops by nationally known theatre artists, and provided support for our students who are creating their own new companies and doing new work all over the country.”

Ristau notes that in many cases the biggest barrier to producing new work is finding adequate funding to cover the production and travel costs. However, he emphasizes that “the Playwright’s Lab feels it is an important part of our mission to sponsor our student writers when opportunities to realize their work on stage arise. That’s why we have established a separate fund for the sole purpose of offsetting costs associated with the production and presentation of plays by or involving our students,” a fund that depends largely on individual donors as well as local businesses and area arts organizations.

“It’s mutually beneficial,” he explains. “In exchange for financially supporting the work that we’re doing, businesses and organizations get exposure to a growing demographic of hip, smart, vocal audiences. The relationships we forge therefore have a profound cultural and economic impact on our community.” In addition, Ristau says these associations are helping make Roanoke more and more of “an ignition point” for new work that creates strong connections with the international theatre scene.

“Building partnerships like this and creating opportunities for the success they afford our students is nothing short of revolutionary.”

The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University will present The Matador, “a one-act anti-play” by Robert Plowman and directed by Todd Ristau, on the Waldron Stage of Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre February 6 – 10.