Where Do We Go From Here?

Today is a soul-searching kind of day for the women’s institution community.

Hollins most especially has needed to take some time to reflect and practice our university motto:

Levavi Oculos


Lift Thine Eyes


The campus community received word that Sweet Briar College, our ‘sister school’ will close at the end of this academic year.

Shock, sadness, and worry spread like wildfire across my Facebook news feed. Kind words were sent out, perhaps to specific Sweet Briar students, but mostly to the Sweet Briar community as a whole.

What seems like each and every heart on Hollins campus feels for the end of another all-women’s institution so close to our home in the mountains of Virginia.

From professors to students, thoughts on the college’s closing collected like fireflies in summer – grouping together two communities always at odds with each other, in our Hollins versus Sweet Briar rivalry for the ages.

Suddenly, with the end of our ‘Other’ – Hollins saw the writing on the wall and couldn’t help but wonder if our same wall was close to crumbling.

As always though, some very important words, those written by President Gray, were spread across campus emails and attached to Facebook posts. Read them here, if you’d like.

Like a lifeline wrapping us all around the mast of our university ship, gripped in a storm of uncertainty not one of us saw coming, President Gray’s reassuring message comforts and encourages each of us as we read it.

PGray Quote.001

I don’t think anyone could argue with the note of inspiration at the end of her address:

“…we know the future makes no promises to anyone. Together, we will continue to preserve and strengthen Hollins for the next 175 years.”

Oh, yeah – in case I forgot to mention, HU has been going strong since 1842. (That’s soon to be 175 years in 2017!)

So, while the news of Sweet Briar College closing its doors shook me to my core – I am reminded through the outpouring of support from my classmates and professors and most especially the remarks of my President that Hollins University has more than enough courage, determination, and solid support to last for several more years to come.


As promised last week, let’s take a turn from these sad tidings from Virginia.

How about a virtual postcard from easily one of my top three favorite places I visited last semester?

Fitting isn’t it – that just when I need to be reminded for Hollins’ sake that there will be a tomorrow, I find the picture I took of the beginnings of a beautiful new day in Italy…


Say hello to the first rays of sun piercing the fading dark of dawn in Venice! In this town floating on the canals, I gleefully lost myself in back alleys and gorged on gnocchi and plates of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Even with the creeping touch of commercialized tourism, Venice succeeds in still feeling like a tiny Italian town, simply trying to survive at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

All my love,