Hollins Appoints Laura A. McLary, Ph.D., as the University’s New Provost

Laura McLary

Hollins University has announced the appointment of Laura A. McLary, Ph.D., as provost, effective July 1. She will serve as Hollins’ chief academic officer.

McLary comes to Hollins from the University of Portland in Oregon, where she first joined the faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor of German. She was promoted to associate professor in 2003 and full professor in 2015. The following year, McLary became academic associate dean for the university’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), where she worked closely with the dean on issues ranging from strategic priorities and budgeting to communication and personnel. In July 2020, she was named interim dean for CAS, which is the largest academic unit at the University of Portland with 15 departments, nearly 250 full- and part-time faculty, and over 1,300 student majors. She guided CAS last fall through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring excellent teaching in a remote environment while advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice goals.

“Laura is a creative and proactive problem-solver who leads with compassion and courage,” Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton said. “She will be a dynamic and gifted collaborator with a variety of constituencies across our campus.”

“Laura impressed the search committee with her depth of understanding about the current challenges facing higher education, and I believe her innovative, action-oriented leadership will usher Hollins into a bold new future,” added Darla Schumm, professor of religious studies and chair of the university faculty as well as chair of the provost search committee. “Her passion for and commitment to the liberal arts, women’s education, and creating diverse, equitable, and just communities resonate deeply with the priorities of the Hollins faculty. Clearly, she places people at the center of all her work and decision-making.”

McLary will focus on strengthening Hollins’ position as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges for women at the undergraduate level, and as an exemplary provider of coeducational graduate programs. She will pursue opportunities such as cultivating and sustaining a diverse undergraduate and graduate faculty; infusing existing academic programs and departments with new energy and vision while also developing new programs to enhance the intellectual life of the university; participating in the design and implementation of a new general education curriculum; and strengthening the university’s graduate and non-degree programs.

“We are excited to have Laura help us imagine and evolve our academic mission, building on strong traditions while moving Hollins forward,” Hinton noted.