Clark Baruch of the Hollins Board of Trustees presents the Hollins Medal to Katherine Walker. President Nancy Gray is at the left.^
Hollins University has presented Katherine Fralin Walker of Roanoke the Hollins Medal, one of the highest honors bestowed by the school. She was recognized during Hollins’ 168th Commencement Exercises, Sunday.
The Hollins Medal is awarded “for distinction, service to Hollins University and to women’s life and education in general.” In 2001, Walker was one of the catalysts in establishing the Batten Leadership Institute, a unique leadership program designed to give undergraduate students the self-awareness and executive leadership training to work with a variety of people and organizations. As the institute’s founding director, she provided the essential vision and expertise to guide the program, which enables Hollins students to complement their majors with a Certificate of Leadership Studies, a combination of classes, skill-building groups, seminars, and student-designed, team-based leadership projects.
As of Spring 2010, ninety-three students have graduated from the program. Walker recognized a need for leadership development in the community at large and helped expand the institute’s service in 2006 to include local businesses and organizations.
Women in the Roanoke area can now receive innovative training opportunities through the institute’s year-long Certificate in Professional Leadership program. To date, more than 60 women have gone through the program.
“Katherine has brought distinction to our campus through her exemplary efforts to make Hollins synonymous with women’s leadership,” says Hollins President Nancy Gray.
In addition to her role in leadership training at Hollins, Walker has served as a founding board member with the Roanoke Women’s Foundation, which has financially supported a number of organizations including the Craig County Health Center, St. Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation, and the Second Harvest Food Bank; as a trustee with North Cross School; as the host of a weekly series of discussions designed to facilitate leadership in grassroots initiatives for the Roanoke community; and as a force behind the Kirk Avenue Music Hall, whose proceeds go to support the Downtown Music Lab in its outreach to talented and deserving youth.