Ex-College of Charleston president Edward Collins dies at 90

April 15, 2021 GMT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Family members plan to say farewell Saturday to former College of Charleston President Edward McDaniel Collins, who died last week.

Collins served as president of the school from 1978 to 1985. A cause of death was not provided by the university in a release about his death. He was 90.

A private family funeral will take place at Hartman-Jones Funeral Home in McComb, Mississippi — his hometown.

Throughout his term, Collins continued the work of his predecessor, Ted Stern, to desegregate the college’s campus. He facilitated plans to hire more Black faculty and staff while recruiting more Black students, according to a news release. He also created the Speedy Consolidation and Transition Program, known as SPECTRA, a residential summer program to help first-generation and minority students transition from high school to college. The program continues to operate today, the school said.


“President Collins led the College of Charleston during a very important moment in this institution’s history and its evolution as a fairly new, state-supported university,” said President Andrew T. Hsu. “President Collins inspired the campus community with his vision of the university in his speech: ‘Finding Roots and Gaining Wings’ – which served as the theme for the bicentennial celebration of the College’s charter. Our campus community shares in his family’s sadness, but we also should take this moment to celebrate his many contributions as our 17th president and for his impact on generations of College of Charleston students and families.”

Born in McComb, Mississippi, in 1931, Collins attended Millsaps College, where he played football and tennis and earned entry into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame. He received his Master of Divinity from Emory University, Master of Arts from the University of Iowa and his Doctor of Philosophy from Ohio University. He later returned to Millsaps College as a faculty member.

He also served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and was dean of the College of Arts and Science at Marshall University. In 1970, Collins returned to Millsaps as president until he came to the College of Charleston. At the end of his term at College of Charleston, he served as a higher education consultant at schools in Australia, England, Thailand, Russia and Germany, the school said.