Mary Dana Hinton. Official portrait.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Hollins extend President Hinton’s contract

The Hollins University Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to extend President Mary Dana Hinton’s contract through June 30, 2030. Hinton is Hollins’ 13th president and its first African American president. She joined Hollins in 2020.

“The board of trustees has the highest confidence in President Hinton, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership,” said Board Chair Debra Meade in a statement. “As we prepare for a bold future ahead for Hollins in an ever-changing world, it is essential that we ensure her visionary leadership remains in place through 2030.” (Disclosure: Meade is also a member of Cardinal News’ governing board.)

In a letter to the Hollins community, Meade cited Hinton’s numerous achievements of the past three years, including her and her team’s “steady, caring and successful leadership during the pandemic”;  her vision to create and fund an Imagination Campaign that led to updated facilities, new academic programs, and enhanced access, including the HOPE scholars program for students in the greater Roanoke region; and her work to foster student success, well-being and belonging with an integrated approach that gives students better support and has improved retention rates.

Meade said Hinton’s fundraising success has been “unmatched,” securing more than $100 million in gifts to the university in her first three years, including the single largest gift in the history of women’s colleges.

See our profile of Hinton last year.

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Virginia Tech Alumni Association adds members, changes structure

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board has 11 new members and a new structure, according to a release from Virginia Tech.

The changes come after a task force review last year that examined the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board, Tech said. The task force included the board’s executive committee, current and former members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, Virginia Tech Foundation board of directors, the Virginia Tech Campaign Steering Committee, and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.

The board’s new committee structure is intended to elevate the top presidential priorities, including the Virginia Tech Advantage and Virginia Tech’s aspiration to become a top 100 global research university. They committees are:

  • Executive Committee: Governance, Membership, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • University Strategic Priorities and Issues Committee
  • Engagement Committee
  • Development Committee
  • Communications and Marketing Committee

Eleven new members were elected to the board in June and will serve July 1, 2023-June 30, 2026. They are:

  • Nelson Chu ’88, College of Engineering
  • Lynne Doughtie ’85, Pamplin College of Business
  • Jake Lutz ’78, Pamplin College of Business
  • Sharon Martin ’83, ’88, College of Engineering
  • Robby Moser ’97, College of Engineering
  • Seyi Olusina ’18, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Debbie Petrine ’78, Pamplin College of Business
  • Mike Quillen ’70, ’71, College of Engineering
  • Ray Smoot ’69, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Horacio Valeiras ’80, College of Engineering
  • Minoka Yonts ’13, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

To learn more about the board and its members, visit the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board website.  

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Bedford Chamber announces awards

The Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce has announced recipients for the Excellence in Business Awards. 

2023 SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: Wicked Diesel, owned by Josh Weeks.What began as a two bay shop is now an eight bay shop and has grown from a one-man show to employing 10 people.

Award Finalists: LJ’s Creations, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Stitch Witch.

2023 LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: BWX Technologies. BWXT is a Defense News Top 100 manufacturing and engineering innovator that provides safe and effective nuclear solutions for global security, clean energy, environmental restoration, nuclear medicine and space exploration.

Award Finalists: Bedford Regional Water Authority, Sam Moore Furniture, Foster Fuels.

2023 AGRI-BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: The Bedford Farmers Market. Erika McFaden has run the market since 2019 with the help of her husband, Steven. Since they took charge, they have doubled their population of patrons.

Award Finalists: Turman Forest Products, Peaks View Hydro. 

2023 NON-PROFIT OF THE YEAR: The Bower Center for the Arts.

Award Finalists: Bedford Boys Tribute Center, Bedford Volunteer Fire Department, CASA of Central Virginia, Bedford Ride. 

2023 RISING STAR: Frosted Ridge Confections is a nut and egg allergen friendly bakery that was established in March 2022 as a home-based bakery business. In July 2023, Frosted Ridge Confections opened its doors in Forest.

Award Finalists: Backdrop Bedford, Zen Edge. 

2023 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: HOLLEY SCHEFFEL is the Business Programs Coordinator with Bedford County Office of Economic Development.

Award Finalists: Crystal Johnson, John Barnhart, Jonathan Hayden.

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Virginia Tech to host talk by particle physicist

The Virginia Tech College of Science’s J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series will host its first talk of the academic year with Nigel Lockyer, professor of physics at Cornell University, on 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Holtzman Alumni Center’s Assembly Hall.

All talks are free and open to the public. Holtzman Alumni Center is at 901 Prices Fork Road in Blacksburg.

Lockyer is an experimental particle physicist who most recently was director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, also known as Fermilab, from 2013-22. Prior to that, he was director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, from 2007-13. Now a professor of physics at Cornell University, he previously was on faculty with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of British Columbia.

Lockyer’s topic will be “Particles and Accelerators are Tools: What Are They Good For?”