Erica’s Story

Erica J. Holloman was born January 22, 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio where she attended public schools and was a graduate of Walnut Hills High School, Class of 1993.  She was a member of The Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Erica received a full scholarship in Electrical Engineering from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.  After one year, she decided she wanted to move closer to home. Erica attended The University of Dayton with a full scholarship in Electrical Engineering from the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company. Realizing that engineering was not the field for her, she left The University of Dayton and returned home to attend The University of Cincinnati (UC), where she earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Operation Management (March 1999); a Bachelors of Science in Human Resources Management (August 2002); and a Masters of Education in Educational Foundations, Concentration in Psychological Foundations (June 2004).  Coming full circle, Erica returned to The University of Dayton (UD) to earn a Master’s of Science in Education, Concentration in Higher Education Administration in June 2004.

While at the University of Cincinnati, Erica found her calling in Higher Education Administration.  She started her career as an Assistant Residence Coordinator.  She also worked as a Residence Coordinator during Summer Conferences, and a Residence Director, all at the University of Cincinnati. Erica was also the Director of Student Life at Thomas Moore College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, where she was responsible for Residence Life, Student activities, and Multicultural Affairs & Student Life.  For Erica, achieving a Master’s Degree wasn’t enough; she set a new goal to earn a Ph.D. in Education.  Erica received a fellowship to the University of Louisville in Kentucky (U of L) as a Ph.D. Candidate.

While at the University of Louisville, Erica started making jewelry to supplement her income; one day while trying on a necklace she discovered a lump on her chest, the size of a dime.  After self –researching, a doctor diagnosed her with Breast Cancer October 2008. The Cancer was stage one and it was a sub type called Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  She was 31 years old.  She was told that this type of cancer would probably come back in the other breast and it could be very aggressive.  

After three months of Chemotherapy, she chose to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction, saying,

“If I do this I know that I have done everything I could to live”.  

This is when she started her fight!  She became a Cancer Survivor!

In the fall of 2009, Wake Forest University in Winston- Salem, NC, offered Erica a position she couldn’t refuse as the Program Director of Graduate Student Affairs & Multicultural Programming in the Schools of Business.  She worked directly with the MA & MS programs in the Schools of Business.  Erica had an open door policy and she loved working with her students and they loved her.  While at Wake her cancer returned fall 2010, but she worked diligently every day and continued her fight.  Through all of her pain and sickness she still prevailed to work as hard as she could for her students and to see them through their graduation.  Her spirit was phenomenal!  She became a two time cancer Survivor!  She chose to live and she did this through laughter.  Erica’s journey in heaven began June 15, 2011.  She was 35 years old.  Erica lived 4 years and 6 months after her first diagnosis.

Erica was a member of several associations including; Walnut Hills High School Alumni, University of Cincinnati Alumni, The University of Dayton Alumni, an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the American College Personnel Association.

Through all of this, Erica continued to work on her dissertation.  Having completed all her coursework and passing her Doctorial comprehensive examinations before moving to Winston-Salem, NC, Erica was well on her way to completing her dissertation as the final step in obtaining her Ph.D.  Erica’s plan was to complete her degree by December 2011.  

Despite the pain she endured, Erica continued to live her life and became an inspiration to all those who knew her.  Through her college and professional career, she encouraged students and friends to persevere when times are tough and give it their all when achieving goals.  She led by example and made no excuses while fulfilling her duties and achieving her own goals.  

Erica’s fight against triple negative breast cancer is symbolic of her determination to overcome challenges in so many areas of her life. We often times tend to overlook symbolisms. We began this bio with the date Erica was born and mentioned later the date of her passing. Symbolically, the time in between these dates is represented by a dash on her headstone. This dash encapsulates her entire life. Erica’s dash was filled with joys and pains, highs and lows and Yes cancer free for 31 years and cancer stricken until her passing.

We who survive her and carryon her fighting spirit through the vehicle of the Erica J. Holloman Foundation, hope to ensure that the “dashes” or life experiences of as many women as possible do not include bouts with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. We hope you will join the fight too!