2015 Commencement Speaker

Hollins Alumna and One of America’s Most Dynamic Pastors to Speak at 173rd Commencement       

AKA_Committee Port 091114Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale ’75, founding and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 173rd Commencement Exercises, which will be held Sunday, May 24, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

A number of accomplishments highlight Hale’s distinguished 36-year career in the ministry. In 2004, she established Elah Pastoral Ministries, Inc., a mentoring program that assists in the spiritual as well as practical development of pastors and para-church leaders. The following year, she convened her first Women in Ministry conference, which develops, coaches, and mentors Christian women in ministry for the 21st century. She is a contributing writer for Power in the Pulpit II: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons, and Feasting on the Gospels, a preaching resource series. In 2010, she authored her first book, I’m a Piece of Work: Sisters Shaped by God. Ray of Hope Christian Church has been cited in the book, Excellent Protestant Congregations: Guide to Best Places and Practices.

Hale has been recognized nationally and internationally for her leadership, integrity, and compassion. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. She has been honored by the National Urban League and is a recipient of the inaugural “Women of Power” award. In July 2012, she received the Preston Taylor Living Legacy Award at the 22nd Biennial Session of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The following November, Ebony magazine named her one of the Power 100, a yearly compilation of the most influential African Americans in the country.

In addition to earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hollins, Hale holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary.

Hale presently serves on the Hollins University Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors at Duke Divinity School. She is chairperson of the Board of Directors at both Beulah Heights University and City of Hope Ministries, Inc. She is also secretary for the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.