Hollins University is celebrating the class of 2022 and the class of 2020 with two separate commencements this spring.
Alexandra Trower ’86 will be the guest speaker for Hollins’ 180th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle. The ceremony will recognize members of the class of 2022 receiving bachelor’s degrees, and graduate students earning advanced degrees this year.
Trower joined The Estée Lauder Companies as executive vice president, global communications, in 2008. In addition to serving as an executive officer of the company and on the executive leadership team, she was a founding member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and an executive co-sponsor of the company’s LGBTQIA employee resource group. She oversaw corporate, social, crisis, Lauder family, and philanthropic communications. Trower retired from Estée Lauder in 2021.
Trower credits her Hollins education for becoming a decades-long supporter of women and girls as evidenced by the more than 20 Hollins students who performed internships with the Global Communications team at Estée Lauder, including Chin Wai “Rosie” Wong ’22 this year. She was elected chair of the Hollins Board of Trustees in 2018, and under her leadership the board has created a DEI Task Force; revised its governance process and succession plan; added four new board members; led two complete presidential searches; guided board members to participate in the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) training; and implemented OnBoard as the board document portal, digitalizing most board documents. She was chair when the university received a record $75 million alumna donation in 2021.
Trower is the former co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation and is treasurer of The Secular Society. Both organizations are committed to supporting girls and women, with a focus on education, and The Secular Society has provided 26 full scholarships for Hollins students. She is also an Independent Director for American Funds, one of the largest mutual fund families in the U.S.
In 2018, Trower was presented one of the communications industry’s highest honors, the Matrix Award. Presented by New York Women in Communications, the award is given to extraordinary female leaders at the pinnacle of their careers.
Hollins’ 178th Commencement Exercises, which were postponed in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been rescheduled for Sunday, May 29, at 11 a.m. on Front Quadrangle. Members of the class of 2020 who earned bachelor’s degrees that year will be honored at the event (graduate students who earned advanced degrees in 2020 were recognized at the university’s 179th Commencement Exercises in May 2021).
The class of 2020 has invited Tiffany Marshall Graves ’97 to be the guest speaker. Since 2018, Graves has worked as pro bono counsel for Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings LLP in Jackson, Mississippi. She oversees the development and administration of the firm’s pro bono programs, which help address the unmet legal needs of indigent individuals and charitable institutions across the firm’s footprint.
Prior to joining Bradley, Graves was the executive director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, where she led and promoted initiatives to improve and expand access to civil justice to the nearly 700,000 Mississippians living in poverty. She was responsible for developing strategic goals and building coalitions to enhance the civil legal aid and delivery system.
Graves graduated with honors from Hollins with degrees in political science and Spanish as well as membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honor society), and Sigma Delta Pi (the Spanish honor society). She went on to earn her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she became only the fifth student to receive the Powell Fellowship in Legal Services. The fellowship enables a graduate of the law school to work in public interest law to enhance the delivery of legal services to the poor under the sponsorship of a public interest organization.
For her work on behalf of the citizens of Mississippi, Graves has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year from the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association (2013); Distinguished Service Award, The Mississippi Bar (2016); and Leader of the Year, Young, Gifted and Empowered Awards (2019). Hollins recognized her with its Distinguished Young Alumna Award in 2017.
Visit the Hollins commencement webpage for more information on this year’s ceremonies.