Giving, Leadership, Scholarships|July 15, 2011 2:40 pm

Hollins Meets $5 Million Batten Challenge to Enhance Scholarships, Leadership Opportunities

Roanoke, Va. – Hollins University has successfully met a challenge from philanthropist and alumna Jane Parke Batten of Norfolk to raise $5 million – roughly two-and-a-half years before the challenge was set to end.

Batten issued the challenge in April 2010 with the condition that it be met by December 2013 in order for the university to receive a matching grant of the same amount.

The funds will enhance scholarships for students who wish to attend Hollins and
participate in the university’s Batten Leadership Institute; scholarships for current Hollins students who want to earn a Certificate in Leadership Studies; and scholarships up to and including full tuition for the university’s most outstanding students.

“This challenge is just the latest example of the Batten family’s strong commitment to supporting women’s education and leadership opportunities, and we extend our deepest gratitude to Jane and the more than 820 alumnae and friends of Hollins whose generosity made this achievement possible,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “The Battens have had an enormous impact on Hollins, and we are delighted at how this challenge inspired others to help make a
difference in the lives of young women.”

The Batten family’s close relationship with Hollins goes back more than 80 years.
Dorothy Martin, the mother of Jane Batten’s late husband, Frank (who served as chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications, Inc., from 1967 to 1998), attended Hollins in the early 1920s; Jane Batten is a member of Hollins’ class of 1958; and the Battens’ daughter, Dorothy, graduated in 1985. Frank Batten served three terms on the Hollins Board of Trustees between 1969 and 1991.

Frank and Jane Batten gave $2 million to Hollins in 1995 to establish the Batten Scholars program, and in 2002, they funded the creation of the Batten Leadership Institute, which provides a diverse array of initiatives that focus on students’ personal, interpersonal, and intellectual development; four years later they gave Hollins $2 million to further endow the Institute, and in 2008 added a $3 million gift to support its mission. In 2003, the Battens gave Hollins over $2.2 million to fund an endowed chair in leadership.

Gray noted that “Hollins has established a distinguished track record for meeting and exceeding gift challenges, particularly over the past five years.” The university secured a one-to-one match to a $1 million challenge gift from Texas businessman and philanthropist Robert T. Priddy in the summer of 2006 to support building and renovation projects. In November of that year, an anonymous donor presented Hollins with a $5 million challenge gift with the condition that the university had to match it dollar-for-dollar with new gifts and pledges by June 30, 2007. In response, Hollins raised more than $15 million in just seven months to support the university’s endowment, new scholarships, academic programs, renovation and restoration of campus buildings, and campus beautification.

In November 2008, the John M. Belk Educational Endowment pledged $500,000 to Hollins for international study provided the university raise an equal amount by March 31, 2009. Hollins met and exceeded that challenge by raising $773,000. The Belk Educational Endowment then promised in July 2009 to give a second $500,000 gift to Hollins to support study abroad if the university could raise an equal amount in gifts and pledges by March 31, 2010; in eight months, Hollins raised $959,296.

Hollins is an independent liberal arts university offering undergraduate education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. Founded in 1842, Hollins is Virginia’s oldest chartered women’s college.

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