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Robert Holleyman ’76

Legal Eagle

Since Robert Holleyman graduated in 1976, his legal career has been rich and varied. He practiced law and worked on Capitol Hill, but he now plays a critical role in the computer industry.

By Donna Parker

There is no question that Robert Holleyman’s background in law was exactly the right choice to prepare him for his current position as president and CEO of Business Software Alliance, overseeing public policy and anti-piracy programs for major software and hardware partners in nearly 80 countries.  Robert received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity in 1976.

“My biggest challenge in this position is two-fold.  One aspect is to convince other governments that we should break down barriers which make it difficult for the Internet to operate around the world,” says this chief executive.

“On the other hand, we actively combat software piracy, which is a $50 billion a year problem.  This is a real opportunity for our association to increase productivity and connectivity by legally placing more software into the hands of businesses and consumers.”

Twenty-one years ago, Robert managed a staff of three.  That’s grown to 100 personnel and 13 foreign offices.  Consuming, yes, but it was impossible to say “no” when President Barack Obama came calling, asking Robert to serve on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

“I’m 100 percent convinced that I would not be in a job like this one or serving the president if not for my undergraduate education at Trinity.  It was the door that opened my mind to the possibilities of what I could do.  It is inextricably linked to whatever career success I’ve had over the years,” says Robert.

“I look at people there who had a major impact in my life.  The Rev. Raymond Judd, University chaplain emeritus, was enormously influential on me and remains so to this day.  He always encouraged my interests, as did Coleen Grissom, department of English, who was instrumental in developing my people skills. Robert Walker, department of political science, whetted my appetite for constitutional law, leading me to law school at LSU.  And the list goes on,” explains Robert.

In addition to staying connected with Trinity through alumni events and annual giving, Robert keeps up with his core group of friends, some of whom attended his marriage ceremony in D.C. to longtime partner, Bill Keller, on May 1, 2010.

“It was a huge celebration and it is so exciting to be a newlywed at this stage of my life!” exclaims Robert.

“Bill and I are in the process of renovating our home just outside Georgetown near the Potomac River.  It was built in 1976 and was featured in Architectural Record that same year.  We also own a small farm on the edge of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  We spend many weekends there, hiking and enjoying fresh foods grown by local farmers.”

Robert and Bill also spend longer vacations in Santa Fe, where he’s been going on and off since his childhood.

Robert’s life is rounded out by non-profit work.  Until recently, he was a trustee for the Stephen Decatur House Museum, working alongside college friend and fellow alumna Jan Naylor Cope ’78 who now is Vicar of the National Cathedral.  He is a current trustee and serves as Treasurer of the National Building Museum.

Successful, yes, but also modest when asked about his greatest achievement thus far.

“That is yet to come,” says Robert, who continues, “That goal changes over time.  However, my life’s biggest turning point was transferring to Trinity, laying the groundwork for what was to come.”

You may contact Robert at robertholleyman@hotmail.com.


After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions.  We are looking for suggestions in these four categories:  1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator