Hollins University

Founded in 1842, Hollins University in Roanoke is an independent institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate liberal arts education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. 

Hollins is dedicated at the undergraduate level to uniting excellence in liberal arts education with developing leadership voices and talent, fostering experiential learning, and igniting a passion to explore and create. The broad curriculum, which includes 29 unique majors, features strong academic programs and superior teaching that emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration. The five most popular majors (English, business, biology, psychology, and art) underscore the breadth and scope of the Hollins experience in the physical sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The university’s athletic program is dedicated to the pursuit of academic achievement and competitive distinction, and is committed to the overall success of the student-athlete.

Experiential learning opportunities include a January Short Term, where students can test drive a career with an internship, take a travel/study course, or conduct research through initiatives supported by the Rutherfoord Center for Experiential Learning; the Batten Leadership Institute, which teaches students how to understand and navigate feedback, conflict, and negotiation; and the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute, which provides students with the resources needed to develop an entrepreneurial outlook across all fields, including the social sciences, business, humanities, fine arts, and STEM.

Hollins University Entrance - Roanoke

Career preparation is indeed a Hollins hallmark: 80% of Hollins students complete at least one internship during their undergraduate careers, and more than half participate in two or more internships. The university places students in companies, nonprofits, museums, law firms, and hospitals, both in the U.S. and abroad. One year after graduation, 95% of Hollins students are employed or in graduate school.

Hollins’ coeducational graduate programs prepare a generation of leaders in many arenas. The university offers Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in children’s literature, liberal studies, screenwriting and film studies, teaching, and teaching and learning. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees are offered in children’s book writing and illustrating, children’s literature, creative writing, dance, playwriting, and screenwriting.

Hollins has earned accolades from two of the nation’s top college guides. U.S. News and World Report ranks Hollins as the #44 Best Value School and #21 in the list of Top Performers on Social Mobility among National Liberal Arts Colleges. Overall, Hollins is ranked #102 in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category and is also considered an “A-plus School for B Students” by U.S. News.

In its annual publication, The Best 386 Colleges, The Princeton Review ranks Hollins #6 in the category Most Politically Active Students and #8 on the Best College Theatre list. Only about 14% of the country’s 2,800 four-year colleges are profiled in The Best 386 Colleges.

Hollins University Students

Hollins features a student population of 668 undergraduates and 130 coed graduate students. Students hail from 38 states and territories and 22 countries. 

Hollins’ historic 475-acre campus has been described as “achingly picturesque.” Highlights include Front Quadrangle, which is listed on the National Historic Register; Beale Garden, which was revitalized and restored in partnership with the Garden Club of Virginia; and Wyndham Robertson Library, which was designated the first National Literary Landmark in Virginia.

Among Hollins’ distinguished alumnae/i are Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other timeless children’s classics; Ann Compton, former White House correspondent for ABC News and member of the Journalism Hall of Fame; Charlotte Fox, the first American woman to climb three of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, including Mount Everest; the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, the first woman to serve as Chaplain of the Day to the U.S. House of Representatives; Ellen Malcolm, founder of EMILY’s List; Sally Mann, named America’s Best Photographer by TIME magazine in 2001; and national amateur golfing champion Carol Semple Thompson. Hollins has also produced four Pulitzer Prize winners: historian Mary Wells Knight Ashworth, and creative writing program graduates Annie Dillard, Henry Taylor, and Natasha Trethewey, a former U.S. Poet Laureate.


Hollins University - Roanoke, Virginia

Hollins is conveniently located just off Interstate 81 near the border of Roanoke and Botetourt Counties. The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is 15 minutes away, and from campus it’s just a short drive to great local attractions such as the Historic Roanoke City Market, Center in the Square, the Roanoke Star, and outdoor activities at Carvins Cove, the Tinker Creek Greenway – Hollins Trailhead, the Appalachian Trial, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Hollins is home to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, which offers free admission and features the work of renowned, emerging, and regional artists in three interconnected galleries totaling approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibition space. The museum presents exhibitions in a wide variety of media and genres.

Hollins Theatre, which in addition to being named one of the top ten theatre programs in the country by The Princeton Review has won multiple Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival awards, stages an array of ambitious and entertaining productions. The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University collaborates closely with Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre to provide a variety of production and reading opportunities, including the annual Hollins-Mill Mountain Winter Festival of New Works, which features full productions of two to four plays by Playwright’s Lab M.F.A. students.

Hollins also presents a variety of other campus events that are open to the public throughout the year, including readings from critically acclaimed authors presented by the creative writing program; recitals by emerging and renowned artists sponsored by the music and dance departments; and lectures from leading figures in science, humanities, and the arts supported by the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

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Hollins University

7916 Williamson Road
Roanoke, VA 24019
(540) 362-6000 (540) 362-6000
Roanoke Region Spotlight