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) campus on the border of Roanoke and Botetourt counties in the U. Hollins has since evolved into a full university with approximately 800 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. Gaillard, Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, Lee Smith, photographer Sally Mann, and Ellen Malcolm, founder of EMILY's List.
The earliest buildings were built for the Botetourt Springs resort which operated from 1820 to 1841.Cocke considered the higher education of young women in the South to be his life's calling; in 1857, he wrote that "young women require the same thorough and rigid mental training as that afforded to young men".Hollins was known as a rigorous institution where degrees were not easily earned during Cocke's tenure.Students at the school during this period remember the "unbelieveably [sic] serious" instruction and "high standards".During this period, Hollins also pioneered several academic practices; it became the first school in the United States to begin a system of elective study, and it was the first to establish an English department under a full professor.Because of this limited scope, Hollins struggled to "professionalize" in the 1880s and beyond.
Its remote location far from the better respected and funded men's institutions put Hollins in contrast with the Seven Sisters in the Northeast.Despite its academic rigor, Hollins and other southern women's colleges were smaller and poorer than women's college such as Smith College and Mount Holyoke in the north.The first built specifically for the college is East Building, erected 1856-58 opposite the hotel building.The Main building was built in 1861 at the north end of the quadrangle, Bradley Chapel was erected in 1883 between the East and Main Buildings, the octagonal Botetourt Hall was built in 1890, and the Charles Cocke Memorial Library was built in 1908 at the south end of the quadrangle.As the head of Hollins, Cocke saw his students as a part of a family and himself as their father figure.His pedagogy was based upon the "southern sensibility that a lady was to be trained to submit to the order of men".