177th Commencement Honors the Class of 2019, May 26

Hollins University will celebrate its 177th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred, including the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Science, as well as the Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. The following awards will also be announced:


  • Faculty Awards for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest academic standings in the class of 2019.
  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, honoring a senior and a member of the Hollins community who have shown by daily living those qualities that evince a love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award, presented to a senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during their days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, highlighting the junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is preeminent in character and leadership.
Shireen Lewis
Shireen K. Lewis, executive director of EduSeed and founder of EduSeed’s SisterMentors program, is the guest speaker at Hollins’ 177th Commencement.

Shireen K. Lewis, who has devoted more than 20 years to mentoring and coaching women and girls, will be the guest speaker. Lewis is executive director of EduSeed, which promotes education in historically disadvantaged and underserved communities, and founder of EduSeed’s SisterMentors program, which supports learning among women and girls of color.

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Lewis is a graduate of Douglass College, a women’s college at Rutgers University. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Subsequently, she was a litigator with a New York City law firm and a Legal Aid volunteer in Durham, North Carolina, and was honored by the National Association of Women Lawyers for her work on behalf of women law students. She has also taught at several universities and is past co-president of the Washington, D.C., branch of the American Association of University Women.

Lewis has helped raise funds for a teenage pregnancy program at a high school in her hometown of Fyzabad, Trinidad, and for the first school in a village in Tibet that has the unprecedented requirement that 50 percent of its students must be girls. She has served on the boards of several community organizations in the U.S. that promote education and equity for women and girls.

Hollins’ 177th Commencement Exercises will be live-streamed here.