Remembering Liz Hollander

October 26, 2015

Campus Compact notes with sadness the passing of Liz Hollander, Campus Compact president from 1997 – 2006. We celebrate her great contributions to educating citizens and building communities during her time as president and throughout her career.

A city planner and leader in service learning, she had a long and distinguished professional career, first in Chicago and later in Providence. In the former, she was Planning Commissioner under the city’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington, from 1983 to 1989. The first woman to hold that position, Hollander was a champion of city life, both through increased neighborhood development and the enlivening and reactivation of the downtown. During her tenure, the city adopted its first comprehensive homeless shelter laws and achieved the long delayed completion of a new central public library. She first came to prominence in Chicago as director of the Metropolitan Planning Council. After her time in city government, she founded the Egan Urban Center at DePaul University.

She came to Providence from Chicago in 1997 to become executive director of Campus Compact, a national organization that promotes civic engagement in higher education. Her later focus on service learning also led to a position at Tufts University, and she published numerous articles in the field. After retiring from Campus Compact in 2006, Hollander became a leader in civic and religious organizations in Providence. She served as president of the board of directors of Community Music Works, a prize-winning after-school music program. She was also a co-chair of J-Street in Rhode Island, an organization devoted to promoting peace between Israel and Palestine, and served on the Israel Task Force of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Alliance. In addition, she created and led the Arts Allies, a non-profit group that advocated for greater resources and commitment to the arts in Providence public schools.

Hollander was a member of many national boards, including the National Civic League and Public Allies, and received numerous awards for both her professional and volunteer activities, including honorary doctoral degrees from DePaul University and Milikin University, the Lambda Alpha International Public Official Award, and the Women Who Make a Difference Award, from the Chicago Network. Hollander grew up in New York City.

Her father, Russell Lynes, was a writer and managing editor of Harper’s Magazine, and her paternal uncle, George Platt Lynes, was a highly regarded photographer. She attended Friends Seminary in New York and went on to earn her B.A. in Political Science from another Quaker institution, Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. There, she first demonstrated her life-long commitment to social justice and equality by leading the civil rights organization on campus. In her adult life, she converted to Judaism and was an active member of KAM Isiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, Temple Beth-El in Providence and Hevreh in Great Barrington, MA. She is survived by her husband, Carl Kaestle, her children, Daniel Hollander and Rachel Hollander, and her grandchildren, Edith Hollander, Emily Hollander, Jane Hollander and Sebastian Holst. Liz’s wish was that, in lieu of flowers, friends make a donation to Community Music Works

Read more about Liz’s life and career here,  here, and here.