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Rob Hollister retired as Founding Executive Director of the Talloires Network on July 1, passing the baton to Lorlene Hoyt who is now Interim Executive Director.

Professor Hollister co-organized the convening of university heads at the Tufts European Center in September 2005 that launched TN.  He then oversaw the coalition’s secretariat and since 2011 has served as Executive Director.  Hollister played a lead role in designing core programs of the Network and raising funds to expand its operation.

Rob commented, “It has been a great privilege to support the dynamic leadership of colleagues around the world who are moving their universities beyond the ivory tower.”

Rob Hollister 2005

Rob Hollister at the founding conference in Talloires, France (2005)

Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Founding Member of the TN and Member of the Steering Committee (2005-14) said: “the vision of the Founders of the Talloires Network would not have become a practical reality but for Rob Hollister’s indefatigable efforts and outstanding teamwork. I vividly recall how during those nascent years Rob successfully lead its management and harnessed human and material resources to translate the Steering Committee’s strategies into a thriving Network.”  Shamsh is now leading the University of Central Asia with campuses in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Jan Reid, another Founding Member, stated, “Little did the small  group of university leaders who gathered in Talloires, France in 2005 imagine that 10 years later we would be part of a vibrant global community of over 350 universities in 77 countries. And for this we have Rob to thank, for his quietly determined and inspirational leadership, his vision and his belief in the power of a mission focused on the wellbeing of our communities and the engagement of faculty, staff and students. His advocacy has helped to expand the grounds on which universities around the world value, and are valued for, their worth and achievements.” Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Western Sydney, Jan was Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee between 2005 and 2014.

Rob reflected: “A defining strength of our global coalition is that its development has been entirely a story of collective leadership.  From the start, the Network has been governed by an exceptional group of university heads and other leaders.  As a result, the Network truly is co-owned by its members and partner organizations. I know that TN will thrive going forward thanks for the Steering Committee’s strong leadership, an extraordinary group of partner organizations, outstanding secretariat staff, and great support from its organizational home, Tufts’ Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.”

In the year ahead, Rob will help to organize the Talloires Network Leaders Conference 2017 to be hosted by Universidad Veracruzana.