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News at Hollins
For the complete text to any of these stories, contact Jeff Hodges, director of public relations, at or (540) 362-6503.
Hollins University has been named a winner of one of the inaugural "Cool Citizens Awards," presented by the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and companies that have had the greatest impact toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are recognized to be a principal cause of global climate change. This year’s awards recognize work that has been done since the coalition’s inception in 2006 through the present, and nominations were submitted by coalition members. An awards committee made the final selections. Hollins was honored in the Non-Profit category for embarking on a program to make its entire campus "carbon neutral" and was the first establishment of its magnitude in the Roanoke Valley to measure its carbon footprint. The university hosted a film festival, "Putting a Chill on Global Warming," that served as the kick-off for a local campaign promoting responsible energy use, and has brought to the area notable expert speakers on the subject of global climate change and sustainability.

Each month, US Airways Magazine profiles a city the airline serves, and the May 2009 issue showcases Roanoke. A section on the valley’s higher education offerings cites Hollins for its nationally-ranked creative writing program, while the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is highlighted among the region’s unique attractions. "Keys to the City of Roanoke, Virginia" is available online.

Hollins University was named one of "The Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review.

Hollins is featured among the country’s top colleges and universities in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review’s annual guide, The Best 371 Colleges. Only about 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are in the book. The profiles are based on surveys filled out by students. Here are some of the things our students had to say about Hollins: You’re “not just a number” here; Hollins produces “strong female leaders ready to face the world”; we’re “about individuality and free speech,” leaving “enough room and attention for you to grow.” About academics: “Every teacher I have had has been 100% committed to making me feel comfortable with the subject matter.” About campus life: “For all the girls who are tired of high school drama, this is the school for you,” and “There’s a little something for everyone.”

Natasha Trethewey’s (M.A. ’91) Pulitzer Prize for poetry received national recognition, notably in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Locally, The Roanoke Times and the Blue Ridge Business Journal highlighted Trethewey’s Hollins connection.
A $3 million gift pledged to Hollins by the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation was reported by the Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Roanoke Times, WDBJ-TV (Roanoke, Va.), WSET-TV (Lynchburg, Va.), The Examiner (Washington, D.C.), WJZ-TV (Baltimore, Md.), WRIC-TV (Richmond, Va.), WVIR-TV (Charlottesville, Va.), WTEN-TV (Albany, NY), WVVA-TV (Bluefield, WV), the Progress-Index (Petersburg, Va.), the Virginian Review (Covington, Va.), and the Metro West Daily News (Framingham, Mass.).
A recent study by faculty and student researchers at Hollins University into bacterial contamination from soda fountain machines received widespread coverage from broadcast and Web-based media throughout the U.S. and internationally, including CBS’ "The Early Show,",, Business Week, Time, the New York Daily News, the syndicated morning TV show The Daily buzz, Sirius/XM satellite radio, and National Public Radio affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. In all, approximately 110 articles were generated by the research.
President Gray was featured on the cover of the March 2010 issue of Valley Business FRONT, in which she talked about how Hollins was facing the current economic situation from a position of strength.
WSLS-TV (Roanoke, Va.) reported on Hollins’ climate action plan to support its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
Hollins’ top 100 ranking in Forbes magazine’s list of "America’s Best Colleges" was noted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and on WDBJ-TV (News 7) in Roanoke.
President Gray discussed her support of the Amethyst Institute initiative in a Roanoke Times article on the drinking age debate.
Hollins was featured in the article, “Girls Rule: Women’s Colleges Remain a Viable Option,” published in the magazine My College Guide.
The Roanoke Times and WDBJ-TV noted Hollins’ observance of the International Day of Climate Action with the “350 Kite Fly.”
Hollins’ ranking among the top 20 wired colleges in the nation by PC Magazine and The Princeton Review appeared in The Roanoke Times, Virginia Business magazine, and E School News magazine, and on WDBJ-TV and WSLS-TV.
Hollins was among the Virginia colleges and universities profiled in the Richmond Times-Dispatch School and College Guide, and was featured in an article on how students at area colleges spend their spare time.
Horizon student Sharon Mirtaheri was one of 75 finalists in Mutual of Omaha’s "Aha Moment Tour" contest, which asked participants to share "moments of clarity" that they acted upon. Her recognition was reported by The Roanoke Times.
The Roanoke Times featured Hollins’ participation in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides more money to vets for college.
The Roanoke Times highlighted the option of substance-free living spaces at Hollins to promote healthy lifestyles for students..
Associate Professor of English Julie Pfeiffer was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education for an article on balancing a career with raising children.
The induction of Carole Semple Thompson ’70 into the World Golf Hall of Fame was reported by The Roanoke Times.
An op-ed on the advantages of women’s colleges, co-authored by President Gray and the presidents of Sweet Briar College and Mary Baldwin College, was published in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, and the Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star.

A profile of novelist Kiran Desai, a graduate of Hollins’ master’s program in creative writing, was published in The Washington Post and reprinted in The Roanoke Times. Desai recently won the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary award, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

President Gray was profiled in an article in the Roanoke Star-Sentinel.
Julia Parker '10 was profiled in conjunction with News 7’s coverage of the Roanoke Valley Horse Show.
The Roanoke Tribune reported on the appointment of Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale '75 to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Valley Business Front and the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Connections noted that Hollins officially met and exceeded a challenge from the John M. Belk Educational Endowment to raise $500,000 in order to receive a matching grant of the same amount.
The purchase of land by a Hollins-led partnership to protect Tinker Mountain was featured in The Washington Post after receiving the “Best Preservation of a Scenic Viewshed” award from Scenic Virginia.
The Roanoke Times noted Kiran Desai’s second major literary award of the past eight months, the National Book Critics Circle Award, for her novel The Inheritance of Loss. Desai is a 1994 graduate of Hollins’ master’s program in creative writing and was also recently profiled by the Houston Chronicle and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Professor of French Annette Sampon-Nicolas was named Knight of the Order of Academic Palms by France’s Ministry of National Education, which was reported by The Roanoke Times and the Blue Ridge Business Journal.
The Roanoke Times noted the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Hollins Director of Riding Nancy Peterson by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.
President Gray participated in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Roanoke radio station 101.5 The Music Place.
The Roanoke Times profiled artist Fiona Ross in conjunction with the opening of her exhibit, “Walking the Parallels to Terminus,” at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.
President Gray was among the community leaders featured in a Blue Ridge Business Journal piece on economic growth in the Roanoke Valley.
The Blue Ridge Business Journal and Valley Business FRONT reported on Hollins’ recognition by the National Association of College and University Business Offices for its effort to maintain a healthy endowment during the current economic recession.
The Roanoke Times profiled Assistant Professor of Art Christine Carr in conjunction with the opening of her exhibition "Portal" at the O. Winston Link Museum.
The Roanoke Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education both reported on "When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans," a photographic exhibition at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.
The Roanoke Times reported on the accomplishments of Hollins’ Environmental Advisory Board and the green projects it has supported since its establishment in March 2006.
Jill Hufnagel, assistant director of the Batten Leadership Institute, was profiled by the Blue Ridge Business Journal.
The Roanoke Times took a look at Hollins’ history in an article on the Botetourt Springs Resort (which was located in the early 1800’s on what became the Hollins campus) and the presence of Confederate soldiers on the campus during the Civil War.
Social Work Today, the nation’s leading newsmagazine for social workers, featured Hollins President Gray in a piece on the newfound popularity of single-sex education.
Julie Pfeiffer, associate professor of English, was quoted in an article on The Chronicles of Narnia that was published by the Vancouver Sun and the Ottawa Citizen, two of Canada’s largest daily newspapers.
Professor of English Jeanne Larsen’s poem "Wrong All These Years – It Isn’t" was published by The Washington Post.
"Give Young Women the Confidence to Tackle the 21st Century," an opinion piece written by President Gray, was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Kelsey DeForest '13 was featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s series "Senior Standouts," which spotlights high school seniors in the Cleveland area.
The Blue Ridge Business Journal reported on Hollins’ designation on the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition of a university for commitment to volunteering, service learning, and civic involvement.
The Chapel Hill (NC) News published an article on the presentation of Hollins’ Distinguished Alumnae Award to Lee Smith and Shannon Ravenel.
Hollins was featured in a Blue Ridge Business Journal piece on how higher education is using social media.
U.S. News & World Report's Web site ranks Hollins' creative writing graduate program 20th in its list of America's Best Graduate Schools. The ranking is determined by questionnaires sent to deans, top administrators, and senior faculty at other universities offering M.A. programs in creative writing.


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