CLASS OF 2006
For Hollis Zemany-McLachlan, attending Washington & Jefferson College initially seemed like an unattainable dream. Growing up in nearby Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Zemany-McLachlan was familiar with the College’s atmosphere and prestige. However, her “less than perfect grades” dissuaded her from applying. It wasn’t until her junior and senior years of high school that her grades improved and W&J became a viable option.
Excited about the opportunity to begin honing her acting skills, Zemany-McLachlan arrived on campus in the fall of 2002 and was struck by the “unspoken connection” among the members of the freshman class. “Everybody was on the same page,” she remembers. “We all were inspired to study and become whatever we wanted to become.”
Along with the bonds she made with fellow students, Zemany-McLachlan also established strong relationships with professors— connections she continues to cherish. She credits professors DeBerry, McEvoy, and Cameron with encouraging her to follow her passions of theatre and writing. “Without my professors, it’s likely I wouldn’t have as much confidence and drive as I do today,” she recalls.
After graduating in 2006, Zemany-McLachlan’s self-assurance prompted her to take a big leap and move to Hollywood, California, where she pursued a career in acting, writing, and filmmaking. Since then, she has held several roles in television and film, including “Big Love” and “The Weathered Underground.” She also is in the process of producing her own parody-driven, autobiographical screenplay, “Pie Head: A Kinda’ True Story.” Her first produced and directed documentary, “Homeless in Hollywood,” was honored with an award at the 2009 Great Lakes Film Festival. In addition, her monologue book for children, which she began to write as a senior at W&J, is being considered for publication by Applause Books.
In true W&J form, Zemany-McLachlan has also managed to combine her love of theatre, writing, and filmmaking with service. She is active in the Hollywood Arts Society, an organization that provides a creative outlet for disabled and autistic children. “It’s not groundbreaking work,” she says. “But to be able to help these kids break out of their shells is an amazing and infinitely rewarding experience.”