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The Perfect Present for Polly: a Charitable Gift Annuity

Men casting about for the perfect gift for their wives would do well to consult Bob Garbee. Garbee landed on the perfect 50th reunion gift for his wife, Mary "Polly" Barksdale Garbee '59, when he called the Hollins development office and asked about a Charitable Gift Annuity.

He had no doubt about Polly's dedication to her alma mater. She had established a scholarship in honor of her father, Judge Alfred Dickinson Barksdale, who served on the Hollins Board of Trustees for more than thirty years. Polly was also the force behind two other scholarships recognizing favorite Hollins professors Stuart Degginger and Marguerite Prinet.

To the Garbees, the Charitable Gift Annuity had great appeal because it would provide Bob with income, benefit Hollins, and make Polly happy because he designated the gift for the Marguerite Prinet Abroad Scholarship. In this time of economic uncertainty, Bob's gift will provide him with a guaranteed lifetime income. Garbee also received a tax deduction and was able to spread capital gains taxes on appreciated stock over a period of five years. The annuity passes to Hollins upon Garbee's death.

Sara Blakeney '98
Sara Blakeney ’98 and Parents Create Fund for First-Year Students

Upon hearing about Hollins' First-Year Experience, the first thing most alumnae do is wish such a program had been in place when they were students. Alumnae Board member Sara Dettmer Blakeney '98 turned her admiration of the program into a pledge she is splitting with her parents, Dale and Pam Dettmer, to create an endowment to help fund it.

The Dettmers, former Parents Council members, and their daughter each made a five-year pledge to create the Sara Dettmer Blakeney Fund for First-Year Experience. Income from the endowment, when fully funded, will help support the program's activities. The program was introduced during the 2007-2008 academic year to ensure that first-year students have an exceptional academic experience from the moment they first arrive on campus. A successful first year increases the likelihood that students will stay at Hollins until they graduate. In its first two years, the program has proved very successful and popular with students. 


Bittle and Charlotte Kelley Porterfield '68
The Little Fund That Grew: the Holmes-Kelley Scholarship

In 1972, Margaret Holmes Kelley, mother of recent graduate Charlotte Kelley Porterfield '68, made a $1,000 gift in memory of her father and Charlotte’s grandfather, Forrest Shepperson Holmes. Mrs. Kelley didn’t know at the time how she wanted the money used. She didn't decide for more than 25 years, but throughout that time she kept adding to the fund. By the time she signed an endowment agreement for the Forrest Shepperson Holmes Scholarship in 2000, it was worth $25,000.

Right after Christmas in 2008 Charlotte Porterfield, now a Hollins trustee, and her husband, Bittle W. Porterfield III, made a gift to fully endow her mother's scholarship and with Mrs. Kelley's blessing asked that it be renamed the Holmes-Kelley Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of her mother and in memory of her grandfather and uncle, Forrest Shepperson Holmes, Jr.

The Holmes-Kelley Scholarship is an example of how an endowed fund can honor many generations of a family, start small, and build into a significant fund over time. As long as there is a Hollins, this family's endowment will provide scholarships for students who need financial assistance. Mrs. Kelley is also the benefactor of the Carl Williams Kelley Chemistry Endowment for Faculty Salaries, named for her late husband.


Marx Family Fund Supports Faculty Salaries

When Edgar Marx got ready to make a gift to The Hollins Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places, he recalled how impressed he and his wife, Margot, had been by the individual attention his daughter, Katharine Marx '94, received from faculty and others at Hollins. He directed that their gift be used to establish an endowment fund to help support compensation for the teaching faculty.

Marx said he was very satisfied with the quality of education his daughter received, especially noting her semester spent studying in London and her work with photography. The Marxes, who are consistent Hollins Fund donors at The 1842 Society level, also participated in the last Hollins campaign by naming the redesigned front entrance in honor of Katharine and the Class of 1994.


Anne Moore Colgin '66


Front Quad tree work


Anne Colgin '66 Bequest Funds Front Quad Tree Work

The towering trees on the Front Quadrangle constitute one of the iconic images of Hollins. Generations of Hollins women have played, studied, frolicked, graduated, and had their pictures taken beneath the lush oak canopy. One of those alumnae was Anne Moore Colgin '66, who passed away in September 2008, leaving a gift for Hollins in her will.


When Anne's husband, Robert Boston Colgin, heard about a project to preserve and maintain the trees on the Quad, he knew that is where he wanted to direct Anne's ultimate Hollins gift. Thanks to Anne and Robert's generosity, Hollins has been able to contract with a tree company to give the trees the attention needed for their long-term health. The work, which started in March 2009, included trimming, cabling, and lightning protection as well as replacement as trees reach the end of their lives.


Another portion of the Colgin bequest funded the repair and painting of the columns on the front of the Cocke Memorial Building facing the Front Quad. After the painting was completed, a plaque recognizing Anne Colgin was placed at the foot of one of the trees near the Cocke Building. 


"1/4 Alumna" Rosmarie Scully '64 Gives Back to Hollins

Rosmarie Hopler Scully ’54 has referred to herself as "only one-fourth of an alumna" because she attended Hollins just one year as an exchange student from Austria, however, in the hearts and minds of her classmates and the institution, she has earned "full alumna" status through her dedication to Hollins' mission.

In appreciation for her own experience at Hollins, Scully has made a gift of $100,000 to endow the Rosmarie Hopler Scully Abroad Scholarship to provide financial assistance to international students wanting to study at Hollins or Hollins students wanting to pursue studies abroad.

Scully said she was grateful to "the many members of the Class of '54 who showed tremendous kindness throughout my year there...who extended their own and their families' hospitality to me which made it possible for me to see and experience many parts of the United States."


$5 Million for Creative Writing Center


Susan Gager Jackson ’68 and her husband, John, have pledged $5 million to create the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins.


"Hollins has one of the finest creative writing programs in the country, and this wonderful gift from the Jacksons will enable us to recruit and retain the most promising students and faculty," said President Gray. "The Jackson Center for Creative Writing will enhance the quality and visibility of the program for years to come."

The $5 million endowment will sustain the following initiatives >>


Making it possible for women from around the world to learn and grow at Hollins

The Suzanne McKnight Reno Scholarship for International Students will offer a full tuition scholarship to one outstanding international student or partial scholarship support for several deserving international students. This is Hollins' first full tuition scholarship for international students, established by Suzanne McKnight Reno '64 and her husband John with a gift of $500,000.



Mim and Tom Farmakis



Starr Moore

Mim made it hot...and Starr made it cool

Some give money to Hollins to name a scholarship, professorship or faculty chair, building, room, or road. Trees and gardens, benches and bridges have plaques bearing the donors' names. But how do you interest donors in the less glamorous things, such as heating and cooling units, that need to be installed or replaced, the infrastructure projects that are essential but, sadly, not sexy?

Fortunately, Miriam "Mim" Hayllar Farmakis '67 and her husband, Tom, heard former Hollins Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Alvarez wax poetic about a new boiler for Hollins that not only would supply heat and hot water to the campus but would also provide large-scale environmental benefits and pay for itself in reduced energy costs within two years. They said, "That's where we want to put our money." The Farmakises understand the importance of funding infrastructure needs and hope others will follow their lead.

On the other end of the HVAC spectrum is Starr Moore '68, an Atlanta jewelry designer and building contractor, who agreed to fund a new chilled-water cooling tower used to cool and provide humidity control to many buildings on campus. This project involved taking down the old, inefficient cooling tower in front of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center and constructing a new one near the power house, thus eliminating the need to repair failed water lines that ran deep underground from the power house across the parking lot to the old tower. The new tower is an energy- and cost-efficient solution to a long-deferred maintenance need that also removes a significant eyesore.

Both alumnae were happy to give their financial support to these projects that, although not glamorous, will deliver great benefits to Hollins students, the university's bottom line, and the environment.


View photos >>


Alumna's Family Establishes Visiting Speaker Series

Dee Hull Everist ’75 graduated from Hollins with a degree in English and a love of literature. After Dee passed away in 2005, her family wanted to honor her enduring passion for the written word. Dee’s husband, Brian D. Everist, and their three children have presented Hollins with a transformative gift of $1 million to establish the Dee Hull Everist Visiting Speaker Series. The series will bring to campus speakers of international reputation, including writers and critics, for readings, lectures, and interaction with students and faculty. The Everist family's remarkable gift will greatly advance Hollins' existing reputation for excellence in creative writing. "Dee was proud of that reputation," Everist said, "and in the view of our family, would enthusiastically support additional programs which would enhance English and writing at Hollins."


Preparing Students to Achieve and Excel

At Commencement 2008, President Gray announced the inaugural presentation of the Hollins University Teaching Award, made possible by Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker '58 and her husband, James DeWitt Decker. The award recognizes secondary school educators who have devoted their lives to preparing students to achieve and excel in a higher education setting, and Hollins seniors are invited to nominate the teachers who inspired them or contributed significantly to their intellectual and personal growth. The first recipient of the award was Susan Vincent, an earth science and marine biology teacher at the Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem, New York. Vincent was nominated by Alicia Crosby '08 and received a $2,000 cash prize.


$3 Million Gift for Batten Leadership Institute

Jane Parke Batten '58 and her husband, the late Frank Batten, a former Hollins trustee, presented a gift of $3 million to further endow Hollins' leadership program that bears their name.
Hollins' Batten Leadership Institute, which the family's generosity helped to create in 2002, provides rigorous co-curricular programs that focus on students' personal, interpersonal, and intellectual development.

Barbee Guest House
Barbee Guest House Gets a Facelift

Barbee House was completely refurbished and redecorated in 2003 thanks to two of Hollins' most devoted and generous alumnae, trustees Wyndham Robertson '58 (pictured right) and Brooke Morrow '78 (pictured left).

"Renovating Barbee was so much fun that it was worth the hit on my wallet," said Robertson. "Brooke and I agreed, almost spookily, about every detail. Elaine Stephenson '83 (interior designer) and May Thomas and the Hollins staff did the hard work, and in the end it is just a great place to stay. My fondest wish is that it be used to the hilt, especially by groups of alums looking for a place to have a house party."

Morrow concurred: "There simply was no place nice to stay on campus and no place that had any central air, and we needed that for visiting dignitaries and prospective donors, visiting professors, prospective parents, and alumnae who want to experience the campus."

  1. Stay on Campus
  2. Alumnae Cottage Renovated