BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – She’s no stranger to hard work or adversity, but no matter the obstacle Tina Holland continues to raise the bar.

“It wasn’t the most enjoyable, or what one would call a very glamorous existence. I would call it modest resources at best,” said Holland.

She was determined to have a better life.

“I was really fortunate that in my high school years they started to admit women into the service academies, so I decided to apply. That would be a way for me to go to school. I was able to send money home, and knew that I was going to have a job when I go out.”

She was in the fourth class to admit women at the United States Naval Academy.

“We weren’t terribly welcomed. There were a lot of men who really didn’t like the fact that this traditionally all male environment was being infiltrated by women.”

It was a new challenge to overcome.

“We were under a microscope. Our standards had to be very high and integrity had to be impeccable. Everyone is watching us so you can’t screw up.”

Holland graduated with degrees in engineering and political science. After school she joined the Marine Corps where she was the only female officer in her squandron.

An orthopedic injury ended her military career. She then unexpectedly found herself in the classroom.

“There was this position in mathematics and I said well I’m an engineer and have that engineering background, I can teach mathematics. So I did and discovered that I had them eating out of the palm of my hand.”

Through faith and grit she continued to excel.

“He would task me with something and I’d say brother I’ve never done that before, and he’d say well here’s a book you’ll figure it out. Then it would work out pretty well, and he’d say I need you to try this, and I’d say I’ve never done that before; here’s a book you’ll figure it out.”

That hard work landed her here, in Baton Rouge as President & CEO of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

“Always raising the bar, and always challenging yourself and pushing it you know. What more can we do, and not being happy with just the status quo.”

Holland is in her sixth year at the university. She hopes to keep raising the bar and encouraging others to do the same.

“Work hard but understand it’s not all about you. That hard work has to be motivated by something bigger than yourself, something outside of yourself, because when you’re gone, you’re gone. What difference and what kind of legacy are you going to leave, how many lives are you going to touch in a positive way.”