Hollie Cost serves as the Assistant Vice President of Auburn University Outreach and Public Service. Her personal and professional passion is working collaboratively with community members to develop a shared vision and implement needed change. An Auburn University graduate, she joined the University of Montevallo faculty in 2000 after serving on the faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University for two years. She began her public service as a Montevallo City Council member in 2004, completing two terms before being elected mayor in 2012. In her capacity as a university professor, she established four special education degree tracks, multiple outreach programs, and the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement. Her community enhancement initiatives have focused on arts, sustainability, and education with an emphasis on youth engagement. She has demonstrated her commitment to empowering youth through initiatives such as the Kettering Foundation Community Politics Exchange, the establishment of the Montevallo Junior City Council, spearheading the David Mathews Center for Civic Life Students’ Institute, and collaboratively founding the Montevallo Sister City Commission. Cost’s past leadership roles in these areas include the development of ValloCycle, the first citywide bike share in Alabama, the nationally recognized Montevallo Parks Trail, Montevallo Artwalk, Montevallo’s Main Street revitalization, and launching a citywide recycling program.
Notably in 2018, the City of Montevallo successfully passed the second nondiscrimination ordinance in the State of Alabama after a series of numerous public forums and dialogue and deliberation sessions. In 2019, Mayor Cost supported the Community Remembrance Project’s proposal to install a historic marker on Main Street to memorialize victims of lynchings in Montevallo’s distant history in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative. Cost steadfastly believes in the importance of giving victims a voice and advocating for equity and social justice. She led the development of a 2-Generation Hub in Shelby County that empowers single women with children to progress from poverty to full family stability by interconnecting services and fulfilling needed service gaps.
While her engagement opportunities are numerous, Cost underscores that all projects were accomplished in collaboration with other deeply committed citizens and public servants.
Her honors include Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Humanitarian of the Year, the Jean O’Connor Snyder Award, Vulcan Spear - Game Changer Award, Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award, UM Commitment to Service Award, Academy for Civic Professionalism Award, Outstanding ACE Mayor Award, and she is a graduate of Leadership Alabama XXVIII. Additionally, under her role as advisor, the Montevallo Junior City Council was presented with the National Conference on Citizenship Civvy Award in October 2018.