Robert Collier

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Robert Collier, 82, of Kenton Hills, KY passed away Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at Madonna Manor, Villa Hills. Dr. Collier received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1970. That same year he began teaching at NKU. He retired from the University in 2003 after 33 years of service, but continued to teach part-time and remain actively engaged with the faculty, students, and alumni, as Emeritus Professor in the English Department. Dr. Collier had a long and distinguished career at NKU. He served as Assistant Chair for many years in what was then the Department of Literature and Language. He also served as Interim Chair for a period of two years. Additionally, Dr. Collier served on the Graduate Council, the Student Media Board, the college and university Curriculum Committees, and the Freshman Composition Committee. He was faculty sponsor of the Literature and Language Alumni Club and was often asked to serve as a panel member for discussion groups. Dr. Collier's university service was stellar, but he is best remembered for his teaching. A Shakespearian scholar, Dr. Collier loved sharing his passion for Shakespeare with his students who he also cared for very deeply. During his entire career he was committed to remaining current with published literature on Shakespeare studies. That along with his commitment to learning and teaching resulted in opportunities for students to publish even before we used the term "undergraduate research". As one of NKU's founders, he mentored those faculty who came after his arrival. A colleague, Dr. Robert Wallace said, "I think of Bob first as a teacher who loved Shakespeare and the pleasures of language, and then as a colleague who did everything that was needed for the success of the department. In the early days this meant being absolutely welcoming and encouraging to all the young faculty who came here from far away and knew nothing about northern Kentucky, our students, or the local culture. No one who knew Bob will forget him or cease to be grateful for the opportunity to learn from him in so many ways." In addition to his dedication to the teaching profession and to the university, Dr. Collier was committed to serving the community. Among his many accomplishments were serving as a consultant to the Kenton County Ascent Program for Gifted and Talented Students and as a member of the Judging Committee for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative Golden Galaxy Award. He established and sponsored NKU's Bookfest which each year brings hundreds of middle school students and teachers to NKU's campus to celebrate the enjoyment of reading and writing. He was a quiet and gentle man who will not only be remembered for his contributions to the university in its infancy, but also for his generosity. As an example, in 2004 he established the Robert E. and Barbara M. Collier Endowed Scholarship Fund and The Barbara M. Collier Annual Scholarship Fund in honor of his wife who taught in Kenton County schools for over 30 years and who frequently took courses in the English Department. Dr. Robert Collier was a much beloved member of the university community. In the words of his friend and colleague, Dr. Kris Yohe, "Dr. Collier had a unique wit, a sharp mind and a heart of gold". He was one of those dedicated founders who created the foundation of the university we know today - one of the giants upon whose shoulders we now stand. He will be greatly missed. An army veteran and was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Ferguson Collier in 2001. Survivors include his sister Sandy Fields of Lexington; nephew Michael (Helen) Burton of Florence; nieces Nancy (Bob) Martin of Willoughby, Ohio, Amber Fields of Lexington and Kim Fields Hudson of Louisville. Visitation 4-7 PM with funeral 7 PM Monday, September 16, 2013 all at SWINDLER & CURRIN FUNERAL HOME, LATONIA. Honorary Pallbearers include: Anthony and Gerry Zembrodt, Eugene Young, Kris Yohe, Shirley Schooler and John Volz. Entombment 12 noon Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at Rose Hill Burial Park, 3801 13th St. Ashland, KY 41102. Memorials to Robert E. & Barbara M. Collier Memorial Scholarship Fund, N.K.U., Advancement Services, AC 239, 100 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights, KY 41099. Website, Support Northern Kentucky University, (, (then select designation, then other, and then type fund name). For private online condolences and directions please go to

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Published in the Kentucky Enquirer from Sept. 13 to Sept. 14, 2013
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