Entrepreneur Tina Wells to Keynote Career Connection Conference

Buzz Marketing Group founder and CEO Tina Wells, who has spent nearly two decades connecting influencers and consumers to brand clients, will deliver the keynote address at Hollins University’s 2017 Career Connection Conference (C3) on October 23.

Since starting Buzz, which creates marketing strategies for clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors, Wells has built and managed a network of 30,000 “buzzSpotters” and 7,000 “momSpotters” to field monthly research for her clients. An earlier iteration of her company, BuzzTeen.com, was one of the earliest news sites dedicated to providing teens with content in fashion, beauty, entertainment, health, fitness, lifestyle, academics, and world news.

Building off her years of experience, Wells authored the youth marketing handbook Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right and the best-selling tween series Mackenzie Blue. She has also written for The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, MediaPost, and Retail Merchandiser Magazine, among others.

Wells’ honors include Essence‘s 40 Under 40, Billboard‘s 30 Under 30, Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People in Business, and Inc‘s 30 Under 30.

Each fall, C3 brings Hollins students and alumnae together for an array of panels, workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities. Alumnae share how they translated their liberal arts education into satisfying careers and also provide tips, tools, and tricks of the trade to land that first job. Approximately 75 alumnae from a variety of backgrounds are returning to campus for this year’s event.

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Tippett Encourages Hollins Audience to Pursue “The Adventure of Civility”

Civility gets short shrift in today’s increasingly polarized society. But the creator and host of public radio’s On Being believes that with a 21st century sensibility, civility is on the verge of staging a comeback.

Krista Tippett admits that civility “is kind of an intense thing to be discussing in the year 2017,” which is why, she says, “I always rush to add qualifiers like ‘muscular’ or ‘adventurous.’ I worry that the word ‘civility’ has connotations of niceness and tameness and politeness that are too mild to be an antidote to our current political culture.”

The Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestelling author, who received the National Humanities Medal from the White House in 2014, spoke on March 5 in Hollins’ duPont Chapel before an audience from both the campus and greater Roanoke communities. Sponsored by the university’s Distinguished Speakers Fund in conjunction with Hollins’ gender and women’s studies department, Tippett’s address was a celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.

In contrast with the frustration and despair that shadow conventional wisdom about the national dialogue, Tippett said, “I find it helpful and even calming to pull back to a long and wide lens on the challenge of this moment in history, its possibilities for growth and change. This terrifying and wondrous century is throwing open basic questions that the 20th century thought it had answered. We are reimagining the very nature of authority, of leadership, of community. I believe we are in the midst of nothing less than a reformation, but this time it’s a reformation of all our institutions. We are each called as human beings to determine as best we can in ourselves what is just and right and true, live by that, and let that be a compass for the change we can make in the world we can see and touch. At the same time, it is up to us to form and inhabit resilient, creative, peaceable realities in an interdependent way that is unparalleled in human history.”

Tippett offered “a few encouragements” in achieving civility:

  • “Words matter. The words we use shape how we understand ourselves, how we interpret the world, and how we treat others.”
  • “Rediscover questions as civic tools and listening as a social art. It is very hard to resist a generous question, and we all have it in us to formulate questions that invite honesty and revelation. They may not want answers, at least not immediately. They might be raised in order to be pondered. Listening is about being present. It involves a kind of vulnerability, a willingness, very simply, to be surprised, to let go of assumptions, to take in ambiguity, and understand the humanity behind the words of the other.”
  • “Dare to claim and embody love as a public good. Love is the superstar of virtues, but also the most watered-down word in the English language. It’s audacity is in its potential to cross tribal lines.”

Tippett cautioned that “Common ground is not the same thing as common life. There is value in learning to speak together honestly and relate to one another with dignity without insisting on a goal of common ground that would leave all our questions hanging or calling the whole thing a failure when that didn’t happen. Common ground is not the same thing as common life, which encompasses all our disciplines and endeavors and all of ourselves as citizens, as professionals, as people of faith, and as neighbors, family, and friends. If we insist on common ground as a pre-condition, we narrow our possibilities.”

Tippett also noted that the physiological and psychological stress society suffers as a result of constant uncertainty and change creates pain and fear, which in turn provoke anger. All are potential roadblocks to civility.

But, she emphasized, “I believe that you and I, we all have it in us to be nourishers of discernment and fermenters of healing, to discover how to calm fear and plant the seeds of the robust common life that we desire. This is civic work, this is human, spiritual work in the most expansive 21st century sense of that language.

“I have seen that wisdom, both personal and collective, emerge through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposite realities in creative tension and interplay, power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and fierceness, mine and yours.”


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Expert Panel to Discuss America’s Political Party System

Political scientists from Hollins University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Tech will explore what the next few years may hold for the Democratic and Republican parties during the panel presentation “After 2016 – The State of the American Political Party System” on Thursday, February 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

The panel will look at what has been happening both within and between America’s two major political parties, their future paths, and whether this is the beginning of the end of the two-party system.

Participants will include: Karen Hult, chair of Virginia Tech’s department of political science; Jason Kelly, assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech; Ed Lynch, professor of political science at Hollins; and Harold Wilson, director of Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

The event will be moderated by Jong Ra, professor of political science and chair of the department of global politics and societies at Hollins.


At Commencement, Ann Compton ’69 Urges the Class of 2016 to “Stay Engaged”

During Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises on May 22, Ann Compton, a trailblazer for women in broadcast journalism, asked graduates to “make a difference as you move forward.”

A member of Hollins’ class of 1969, Compton was the guest speaker for the windy but sunny morning ceremony on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle, where 176 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred. (View Compton’s address in its entirety here. See highlights of the complete ceremony here.)

Compton joined ABC News in 1973. Just one year later she became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis. She covered seven presidents during her distinguished 41-year career.

The Journalism Hall of Fame inductee told graduates, “Your generation needs to stay engaged,” and offered three ways in which they could be an agent for positive change:

  • “Bundle up all your energy and invest it in restoring trust in America.” Even if the graduates were reluctant to become active in the political arena, Compton said their involvement in civic issues “will make our society strong.”
  • “Look up to the horizon.” Just as the presidents she covered all faced unforeseeable crises during their administrations, “abrupt challenges” will happen to the graduates, too. “The path you set from this campus into the world is yours to choose,” Compton explained. “But at some point, you will also be defined by how you react to the unexpected in life. Do not fear it. Persevere. Protect your core aspirations but know that you have the strength of character to handle any adversity.”
  • “Please don’t forget to look inward.” Compton noted that “women have had lots of recent advice about leaning forward and to be bold. But please don’t lean forward at the expense of those closest to you, family and dearest friends.” She recalled an address by then-First Lady Barbara Bush to a graduating class at Wellesley College “that has stayed with me every day since. Barbara Bush said, ‘At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, not closing one more deal. You’ll regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not only on what happens in the White House, but what happens inside your house.'”

Compton was introduced by classmate and close friend Suzanne Allen Redpath ’69, who was also a pioneer for women in television news and recently retired after spending more than four decades with CBS News. Most recently, she served as the senior coordinating producer for 48 Hours, and was recognized during her career with three Emmy Awards. Compton joked that she and Redpath were “among the first women to climb the network news ladder in high heels,” but on a more serious note she stated, “Both of us worked hard, had a little bit of good luck, and build careers and families on the strong foundation of a liberal arts education at a women’s college. I believe that is still the key to success in the 21st century.”

Other highlights of the 174th Commencement Exercises included the presentation of the following honors:

  • Hailey Hendrix, an English major from High Point, North Carolina, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, this award recognizes a senior who has shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award was given to Sarah Pillow, a communication studies major from Orange, Virginia. The award honors the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, recognizing the junior or senior who is pre-eminent in character in addition to being a good student, was given to Emani Richmond, a communication studies major from Mebane, North Carolina.
  • The Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing the students with the highest and second-highest academic standing in the class of 2016, was presented respectively to Mandy Moore, an English major from Maurertown, Virginia, and Mikaela Murphy, an international studies major from High Point, North Carolina.



Veteran Political Strategist Donna Brazile to Speak this Fall

CNN commentator and ABC News consultant Donna Brazile will share her perspective on the nation’s political climate within the framework of social justice on Monday, November 14, at 7 p.m. in the Hollins Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile has worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign. She is vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), reflecting her passion for encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. She is former interim National Chair of the DNC as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

In 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, and the Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine. She also received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

Brazile is a native of New Orleans. She is founder and managing editor of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, D.C. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a columnist for Ms. Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Hollins Alumna and Renowned Neuroscientist to Speak on Campus and at VTCRI

Mary Beth Hatten ’71, the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, is returning to Hollins and the Roanoke area to take part in three special events on April 13 and 14.

Hatten is a past recipient of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation. In 2015 she received the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience.

On Wednesday, April 13, Hatten will host a casual conversation with Hollins students from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Chemistry Reading Room (Dana 225). At 4:30 p.m., she will present “Mechanisms of Brain Development: Implications for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” The lecture is free and open to the campus community and general public.

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) is featuring Hatten as part of its Distinguished Public Lecture Series on Thursday, April 14. She will discuss “Mechanisms of Cerebellar Development: Migration, Circuit Formation, and Synaptic Plasticity” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

“VTCRI is bringing some of the world’s leading medical researchers and scientific thought leaders to Roanoke as part of our mission to engage the community in the excitement and promise of scientific research,” VTCRI Executive Director Michael Friedlander explained on the institute’s website. “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the insights of such highly sought-after experts in such a range of fascinating topics.”

Photo: Mary Beth Hatten ’71 received the Max Cowan Award last fall for her work in developmental neuroscience. 

Legendary White House Correspondent Ann Compton ’69 to Speak at 174th Commencement

Pioneering broadcast journalist and Hollins alumna Ann Compton will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 174th Commencement Exercises. The ceremony takes place Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

After graduating from Hollins in 1969, Compton became the first woman ever hired as a reporter at Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV. She joined ABC News in 1973, and just one year later became the first female assigned by a network television news organization to report from the White House on a full-time basis.

Compton covered presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies during a distinguished 41-year career that took her throughout the country and around the world. She was a floor reporter at the 1976 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She also served as a panelist for the 1988 and 1992 presidential debates.

During the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Compton was the only broadcast journalist allowed to remain aboard Air Force One. She was part of the ABC News team honored with the prestigious Silver Baton Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for the network’s coverage that day.

Compton was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2000. The Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame welcomed her in 2005. Upon her retirement from ABC News in 2014, President Barack Obama stated, “Ann Compton…is not only the consummate professional but is also just a pleasure to get to know.” ABC News Radio Vice President and General Manager Steve Jones called her “one of the most amazing women in journalism.”

Expert on Middle East to Keynote Model Arab League Conference

James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at The Heritage Foundation, will deliver the keynote address at the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (ARMAL) conference, which will be held November 6 – 8 at Hollins University.

Phillips will speak at the Opening Plenary session on Friday, November 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Hollins’ Dana Science Building. His appearance is made possible by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Hollins Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch, coordinator for this year’s ARMAL conference, said Phillips is one of Washington’s foremost experts on the Middle East and the author of dozens of papers and hundreds of op-eds and blog posts on the Arabic-speaking world.

“Phillips will speak about the failure of socialism in the Arab world, and make suggestions for dealing with the aftermath of the Arab Spring. He’ll provide a fascinating perspective on the region for the delegates,” Lynch said.

Model Arab League is the flagship student leadership development program sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR). ARMAL brings together college and high school students from the Appalachia Region to learn firsthand what it is like to put themselves in the shoes of real-life Arab diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners. Students act as representatives from Arabic-speaking countries ranging from Morocco to Iraq. At this year’s conference, they will discuss political, economic, social, and environmental issues, as well as the future of the Palestinian people and the vital matter of relations with the State of Israel.

In addition to Hollins, students from Converse College, Fairmont State University, Jacksonville State University, and Washington and Jefferson College are participating, as are local students from Roanoke Catholic High School and William Byrd High School.

ARMAL is one of 22 Model Arab League conferences sponsored each year by NCUSAR. The conference opening session is free and open to the public.

Jane Goodall Tells a Hollins Audience Why She Still Has Hope for Our Planet

She may have turned 81 earlier this month, but Jane Goodall still spends 300 days a year traveling the world on a mission to educate people of all ages about Earth’s environmental crises and the many threats to humans and animals alike.

“I’m finding young people who don’t have much hope for the future, who have become apathetic, depressed, and angry. They say, ‘You older generations have compromised our future and there’s nothing we can do about it.’

“Maybe its wishful thinking, some biologists will tell you it’s too late to change the way things are going, we just have to adapt to a world that’s getting worse and worse. But I think there’s a window of time where we can bring about change.”

The noted primatologist and conservationist brought her message of hope to Hollins University on April 20 and spoke before an audience that filled both the Hollins Theatre and duPont Chapel, where her address was simulcast. The event was sponsored by the university’s Distinguished Speakers Fund.

Goodall began her one-hour-and-twelve-minute address with captivating stories of growing up in London during World War II and her mother’s invaluable role in “the making of a little scientist: curiosity, deciding to find out for yourself, asking questions, learning patience. A different type of mother might have crushed that. I might not be standing here today. She supported my love of animals throughout my childhood, and she helped me find books about animals because she thought it would help me to learn quicker.”

Two books in particular had a profound impact on Goodall: Doctor Doolittle (“The first book I actually owned. I still have it. I pretended to my friends that I could actually understand the birds, the cats, the dogs. I interpreted their sounds.”) and Tarzan of the Apes, which “began my dream. I would grow up, go to Africa, live with animals, and write books about them. Everybody laughed at me – I was just a girl. Those careers, those adventures, were for boys. But my mother supported this dream. What she said to me is what I say to young people around the world, whether they are rich or poor, whichever country they live in: If you have a dream, she said, you must be prepared to work very hard. You must take advantage of opportunity. You must never give up.”

When she was 23, Goodall’s dream began coming to fruition. She got a job in Nairobi, Kenya, and subsequently met the famed anthropologist and paleontologist Louis Leakey. She impressed Leakey with her extensive knowledge of animals in Africa and convinced him she was the person he was seeking to live with and study the chimpanzee in what is now Tanzania. He secured funding to support six months of research, but as Goodall explained, there was another obstacle to overcome.

“Tanzania was still part of the British Empire, and British authorities were not prepared to give permission to this young girl to go out into this potentially dangerous forest with potentially dangerous animals. Nobody really knew anything about chimpanzees except they’re much stronger than us. Leakey never gave up and in the end the authorities said, ‘She can come, but she has to have a companion.’ Who came with me? That same amazing mother.”

At that time, it was widely thought that only humans made and used tools. Goodall’s observation that chimpanzees were also proficient with tools caught the attention of the National Geographic Society, which offered to continue funding her research. This set the stage for decades of ground-breaking work in studying chimpanzees’ complex social structure, research that earned her worldwide acclaim.

Goodall said she became an environmental activist after attending a conference in Chicago in the mid-80s with other chimpanzee researchers. “We had a session on conservation, which was shocking. All across Africa, chimpanzees were losing their habitats, their numbers were plummeting, forests were being destroyed. Since October 1986 I haven’t been more than three weeks consecutively in any one place.” She dedicated herself to “learning more and more about all these terrifying things we are doing to the planet. Many people don’t know. We don’t know the extent to which we are polluting this planet. We don’t know the extent to which industrial, agricultural, and household chemicals are being washed down into the streams and rivers and finally ending up in the oceans. We don’t realize the extent of human population growth.”

Even though she wonders, “How is it that the most intellectual creature that has ever walked on the planet is destroying its only home?”, Goodall offered five reasons why she still believes the challenges Earth faces can be addressed:

  • Roots & Shoots. This youth program, which Goodall launched in Tanzania in 1991, began with 12 students from nine different high schools. Today, Roots & Shoots is in 113 countries and consists of almost 100,000 groups encompassing pre-schoolers to university students. Their only mandate is to pursue projects that help people, animals, the environment, or any combination of the three. “From the beginning, Roots & Shoots groups have decided for themselves what to do,” Goodall explained. “These young people have the most amazing ideas. Once they know the problems and we empower them to take action, they roll up their sleeves and get out there. There are hundreds of problems in the world today, and all the places I go, there are groups of children wanting to solve them.”
  • The Human Brain. “We’ve done some pretty bad things with our brain, but we shouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. You know what we’re capable of doing,” Goodall said, citing breakthroughs in technology. “The problem, I think, is a disconnect between the human brain and the human heart. That can lead to serious problems. I truly believe that only when head and heart live in harmony can we reach our true human potential. And our potential is huge.”
  • Nature’s Resilience. “We can utterly destroy a place. But with a lot of hard work, it can be restored.” Goodall described the transformation that occurred in the region surrounding Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. “The land around Gombe was bare hills. It was clear there were more people living there than the land could support. The land was over-farmed and infertile. The people were struggling to survive.” Fifteen years after introducing a community-centered conservation program, Goodall said those hills were green once again, and the chimpanzees native to the area had three times more forest for their habitat than when the project began.
  • Social Media. “I was in a climate march in New York last September with 400,000 people,” Goodall recalled. “Only 100,000 were expected. All around me were people with their iPads, iPhones. They were on Twitter and Facebook and they were telling their friends to come. And you could see them coming. Ten years ago, we might get a couple of hundred people coming to a march or demonstration or signing a petition. But now, you have hundreds of thousands by using social media. Of course it can be used for bad ends, but it’s also an incredibly powerful tool to make the world a better place, and it’s increasingly being used that way.”
  • “The Indomitable Human Spirit.” “You matter as an individual. You can make a difference. You can succeed even when it appears fate is against you,” Goodall implored. “Every single one of us in this room has this magical potential within us. We have to learn to let it free, let it fly, have faith in it, and not give up. When that starts to happen, the world will change.”

For more information about Goodall’s work and the Jane Goodall Institute, visit www.janegoodall.org.