December 5, 2008 — Elsie Goodwyn Holland, 73, the first minority woman to serve on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, died Nov. 30 in Richmond.
She became active in Republican politics in the late 1970s and served as director of Equal Opportunity and Employment practices in the state Department of Personnel and Training during the administration of Gov. John N. Dalton. He appointed her to the Virginia State University Board of Visitors.
Gov. George Allen appointed her to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors in 1994, and Gov. Jim Gilmore reappointed her. She served a total of nine years.
"Mrs. Holland contributed in many meaningful ways to the quality of work and life at the University of Virginia," said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. "She was the longest continually serving board member in modern times. Mrs. Holland was a devoted teacher, and she brought the valuable perspective of her teaching experience to her board service.
"Among her colleagues on the board and in the University community, she was known for her cheerfulness and good heart. We will miss her kindly presence and her generous spirit," Casteen said.
The daughter of a school janitor, Holland earned her doctorate in elementary education from the University of Virginia in 1975. Previously, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1955 and a master's degree in 1969 from Virginia State College (now Virginia State University).