Friday, September 21, 2012

Dr. Jim Collier

February 27, 1920 – September 3, 2012

Dr. James M. Collier is remembered with respect, admiration and affection as the founding father of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.  In the mid-1950s he led a group of civic-minded community leaders in their quest for an institution of higher learning in Elizabethtown.  He had the vision to know the importance of education and the impact it would have on the quality of life in north central Kentucky.  Under Dr. Collier’s leadership, North Central Kentucky Education Foundation was established as a non-profit organization in 1960, and began securing funds for purchase of land for the college. The foundation purchased 227 acres and deeded over 55 acres to the University of Kentucky for development of Elizabethtown Community College. ECC opened its doors in 1964 to its first class of 355 students.

Dr. Collier stayed involved with the college over the years as an instructor of government classes, and through his unwavering support of faculty, students and campus activities. The campus James M. Collier Learning Resource Center was appropriately named for him as our founding father.

Those who knew Jim share their thoughts...

“A man of eclectic pursuits, Dr. Collier would ask me about my work, my students, and our college’s growth every time I saw him, both on and off campus. Dr. Collier enjoyed sharing his good humor, wit and whimsy; the man always had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. I grew to appreciate his candor and his counsel on many occasions. Dr. Collier’s vision and support have proven invaluable to the core strength of our college, the success of our students and the quality of life in our commonwealth. I miss him.”

Michael B. Coyle, ECTC faculty member since 1966

“A man of Dr. Collier’s passion, intellect and integrity is rare.  He would want us to continue to champion his belief in the value of education as we celebrate his life and acknowledge his enduring contributions to our college and community.”
Dr. Thelma J. White, ECTC President/CEO

“For everyone that lives in this region, whether you ever met Jim Collier or not, he has played a role in your life. We are all better off because of his commitment and laser-like focus to bringing big ideas to fruition. He always looked down the road; not to the next month, next quarter or year, but truly long-term to guide his decisions for the betterment of the community. He always focused on results, desired outcomes and impact. Mr. Collier never became ensnared in the trivial or small mindedness. He was a very decisive, dedicated and determined man.”
Al Rider, president/CEO, Central Kentucky Community Foundation

“He was way ahead of his time. His first revealing of (the idea for a college in Elizabethtown) was at the Rotary Club. I remember people afterward talking about what a fanciful idea it was. He move on and was never discouraged.”
Walter “Dee” Huddleston, former U.S. senator

“Few people can leave behind a legacy of the magnitude of Dr. Jim Collier’s. His tireless work in establishing the local college changed the lives of untold numbers of individuals in a multi-county service area. 
I came to teach French and German at ECC in 1965, the college’s second year of operation. What Dr. Collier’s efforts gave to the region gave me, personally, a wonderful 44-year career that I loved.”
Jean Dudgeon, retired faculty member

“Most everyone is aware of Dr. Collier’s role in establishing the community college here in the Elizabethtown area. ... And Dr. Collier did not just accomplish his major goal and then move on to something else. Throughout the life of this college, whenever an activity or program was offered, Dr. Collier would be there, and he would be beaming. He appreciated our educational endeavors and achievements and supported many of the less formal activities as well. He was always willing to take time from his busy schedule to listen to ideas and concerns and give us the benefit of his counsel and advice without interfering in the actual operation of the college. Dr. Jim Collier was a scholar and a gentleman and a wonderful supporter of education in our community. He will be sorely missed.”
Linda N. Mayhew, ECTC faculty since 1964

Use the Comments box below if you would like to share your thoughts about Dr. Jim Collier....