Never Giving Up On the Dream of a Degree

TraciPic1Traci Holland, Associate Registrar for Graduate Studies, came to Hood College in 2002.  She began as Administrative Assistant to the Graduate Dean, then moved to the undergraduate admission office, where she managed the inquiry and application files for thousands of prospective students.  While working full-time, Traci completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2007, often working or attending classes late into the evenings.  She is the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

In 2007, Traci moved back to the Graduate School as a Records Specialist, managing graduate student records from inquiry through to graduation.  Under the mentorship of then-Graduate School Dean Dr. Kathleen Bands, she streamlined processes, developed marketing and recruitment plans for every graduate program and oversaw general operations of the office, becoming Coordinator of Graduate Admissions in 2008. She earned her Master of Arts program in Human Sciences in 2010, winning the program’s Outstanding Student Award. Along with the degree came a promotion to Director of Graduate Admissions.  When the Registrar functions of graduate admissions were moved to the Registrar’s office in January 2015, Traci moved with them.  She continues to update processes between undergraduate and graduate student records management and is the go-to person for approximately 1000 graduate students.

In May 2016, Traci led her colleagues in establishing by-laws for the newly formed Staff Council.  In November, she was elected to represent the Academic Affairs Division on the Staff Council Board, and further elected as the council’s Vice-Chair.  As Vice-Chair, Traci heads the standing Nominating Committee of the Staff Council and represents staff issues as a voting member of the College’s Planning, Budgeting and Assessment Committee.  December saw Traci heading the holiday party planning committee and beginning the tradition of pairing a local charity with the event. Hood faculty and staff donated a truckload of food, clothing, toiletries, and various other sundries to the Frederick Rescue Mission.

In May 2017, the Graduate School honored Traci with the “Excellence in Service – Outstanding Staff Award for her efforts and performance supporting the Graduate School. She was nominated by a unanimous vote of the Graduate School staff, and Graduate Dean Dr. April Boulton said, “Given Traci’s long tenure in the Grad School prior to her move to the Registrar’s Office, we have turned to her again and again and again.  She has often been our “go to” on historical process, standard operating procedures, and so much more—she undeniably deserved the award.”

Traci knew when she began working at Hood that she was on the right career path.  “Having an education has always been so important to me.  I worked on my bachelor’s degree in bits and pieces from 1990 to 2007, never giving up on that dream.  It is a blessing every day that I can observe our students pursue that same dream.  I have been through many of the challenges and struggles that they have which allows me to be empathetic and supportive.  Commencement day is the proudest day for me as I watch those same students, who came to me nervous and uncertain, bounce across that stage with a profound sense of accomplishment.”