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.


Veteran Political Strategist Donna Brazile to Speak this Fall

CNN commentator and ABC News consultant Donna Brazile will share her perspective on the nation’s political climate within the framework of social justice on Monday, November 14, at 7 p.m. in the Hollins Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile has worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign. She is vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), reflecting her passion for encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. She is former interim National Chair of the DNC as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

In 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, and the Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine. She also received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

Brazile is a native of New Orleans. She is founder and managing editor of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, D.C. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a columnist for Ms. Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine.


Conference Celebrates Undergraduate Work

Hollins is showcasing students’ scholarly and creative endeavors at the annual Hollins Student Conference on Saturday, April 30, from 1 – 5:15 p.m. in Moody Student Center.

Sponsored by the President’s Office, the conference features a variety of podium presentations, poster presentations, and performances from across the disciplines. Awards are given for the top presentations and performances.

“The conference reflects our goal of preparing our students for a life of educational and professional development,” said Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jill Weber, who each year coordinates the event with Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Patty O’Toole.

All Hollins undergraduate students are invited to submit an abstract of sound scholarly or creative work that has been completed under the guidance of a current faculty or staff member.

During the conference, students will present during three separate sessions:

  • Session 1 (1:30 – 2:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Ideas: Hollins 102 Honors Program Projects
    Exploring Identity and Sexuality
  • Session 2 (2:30 – 3:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Modes of Expression – Performances
    Exploring Politics and the Political
    Exploring Women in History
  • Session 3 (3:30 – 4:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Questions in Science – Poster Presentations
    Exploring Art and Architecture
    Exploring Sustainability and the Myths that Sustain

This year’s conference schedule and a complete list of the event’s 29 student presentations is available here.


Hollins Alumna and Renowned Neuroscientist to Speak on Campus and at VTCRI

Mary Beth Hatten ’71, the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, is returning to Hollins and the Roanoke area to take part in three special events on April 13 and 14.

Hatten is a past recipient of 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. In 2015 she received the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience.

On Wednesday, April 13, Hatten will host a casual conversation with Hollins students from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Chemistry Reading Room (Dana 225). At 4:30 p.m., she will present “Mechanisms of Brain Development: Implications for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” The lecture is free and open to the campus community and general public.

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) is featuring Hatten as part of its Distinguished Public Lecture Series on Thursday, April 14. She will discuss “Mechanisms of Cerebellar Development: Migration, Circuit Formation, and Synaptic Plasticity” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

“VTCRI is bringing some of the world’s leading medical researchers and scientific thought leaders to Roanoke as part of our mission to engage the community in the excitement and promise of scientific research,” VTCRI Executive Director Michael Friedlander explained on the institute’s website. “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the insights of such highly sought-after experts in such a range of fascinating topics.”

Photo: Mary Beth Hatten ’71 received the Max Cowan Award last fall for her work in developmental neuroscience. 


Legendary White House Correspondent Ann Compton ’69 to Speak at 174th Commencement

Pioneering broadcast journalist and Hollins alumna Ann Compton will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises. The ceremony takes place Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

After graduating from Hollins in 1969, 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 to Host 17th Annual Ethics Bowl, Jan. 31 – Feb. 1

The statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is coming to Hollins University for its 17th annual competition.

Co-sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), the two-day event takes place January 31 – February 1. Student teams from Virginia’s leading independent colleges and universities will participate and debate a variety of case studies highlighting potential ethical dilemmas faced by citizens. The theme of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is “Ethics and Civic Responsibility.”

Teams of three to five students from 15 VFIC schools will be paired in head-to-head competition that will be judged by panels of distinguished leaders from across Virginia and Maryland. Many notables from the business sector, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen and offer reaction to team and student presentations.

The Ethics Bowl kicks off with an opening session on Sunday, January 31, at 2:30 p.m. in Hollins’ Babcock Auditorium. The first matches begin at 3:30 p.m. in various locations throughout Moody Student Center and Dana Science Building. On Monday, February 1, rounds three and four start at 8:45 a.m. The final round of competition takes place at 11:15 a.m. in Babcock Auditorium. The public is invited to attend these sessions free of charge. The winner of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl will be announced on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

As the host institution, Hollins will have two teams competing in this year’s event:

Team 1
Lauren Earley ’16
Erin Harrover ’19
Lisa Sekwababe ’19
Audrey Spangler ’19

Team 2
Darcy Brauchler ’19
Julia Brooks ’19
Valerie Heflin ’19
Madchen Specht ’16

The faculty coordinator for both teams is Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Gettings.

Founded in 1952, the VFIC is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Washington and Lee University.