February 2014 Articles

In Memoriam

Lois Miller Collier ’50, 1929–2013

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“One of the joys of my many roles here at Bryn Mawr is hearing all of the stories of how life-changing the College is for our students,” Bryn Mawr President Kimberly Cassidy observes. “The story of Lois Miller Collier ’50 is about how, like many of the extraordinary alumnae I meet, one’s remarkable dedication and generosity can also transform Bryn Mawr.”

Collier’s lifelong devotion to the College included serving as an Alumnae Association volunteer in the 1960s and 1970s, a member and chair of the Major Gifts Committee in the 1980s and 1990s, and a member of the Board of Trustees (including Emeritus and Special Representative) in the 1990s and 2000s. Throughout all of her work with the College, Collier’s sensible advice, gourmet talents, and refreshing candor were doled out in equal measure.

Trustee Emeritus Ruth Kaiser Nelson ’57, who worked with Collier on both the Major Gifts Committee and the Board of Trustees for many years, noted that “Lois, a very talented and ambitious cook, hosted lovely dinner parties. She was always hospitable, opening her home to all kinds of Bryn Mawr events and providing a place to stay for many Mawrters when they were in New York. She really knew how to entertain.”

In a 2003 interview, Collier noted, “my years at Bryn Mawr were very special and formative, and I believe in its mission. As I became more involved with the College as a volunteer, I found many of the people and friends I valued most were associated with Bryn Mawr. Here we talk the same language. We are involved in something important that we love.”

Collier’s husband, Reginald B. (Reg) Collier (deceased in 2004), shared her deep attachment to Bryn Mawr. A Haverford alumnus, he was equally committed to sustaining Bryn Mawr’s mission and excellence. Longstanding supporters of the Bryn Mawr Fund, the Colliers also established the Lois and Reginald Collier Fund for Faculty Salaries, the Collier Psychology Fund, and the Collier English Fund. Their remarkable generosity made possible the renovation of the Lois and Reginald Collier Science Library in the Park Science Center, contributed to the 2009 renovation of Majorie Walter Goodhart Hall, and is the reason that Cambrian Row exists as it does today. Indeed, this innovative renovation project, transforming four aging houses along what was once “Faculty Row,” was both imagined and made possible by an extraordinary $7 million gift from the Colliers.

By providing student groups with a real “home” that includes meeting and work space, Collier’s vision for Cambrian Row has ensured that student co-curricular life can grow and thrive. Today, the Pensby Center (formerly the Office of Intercultural Affairs) and the Civic Engagement Office anchor this important hub of student life. President Emeritus Nancy J. Vickers notes that Collier’s “passion in the years that I was privileged to work with her was to enhance substantially the quality of each Bryn Mawr student’s College experience.”

The Colliers’ generosity also extended well beyond the campus. As President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. ’69 points out, “wherever they lived, Lois and Reg supported local as well as national organizations committed to serving the less fortunate. They not only provided financial support, but also personal support to those who did the day-to-day work. They were an admirable couple, and many organizations were much the better for their involvement.” Collier’s love of New York City shone through in her generous support of the Salvation Army (in particular their Center for Childhood Development in the Bronx), the NYC Public Library (in particular their Children’s Reading Centers and Services to Immigrant Communities), City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods Project, and the Doe Fund’s “Men in Blue.”

A force for good in the world, Collier fully embraced the notion that privilege entails responsibility. In a letter to an alumna, Collier said, “I have dearly loved Bryn Mawr and have tried to give my best to help further it as an exceptional institution.” She was always forthright in her belief that the College was worthy of alumnae support. Trustee Denise Lee Hurley ’82 remarked that “Lois’s enthusiasm for Bryn Mawr was infectious, and so one did not say no to Lois.” Luckily for Bryn Mawr, Collier did not often say no to the College.

Helen Manning Hunter, 1921–2013

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Helen Manning Hunter, Mary Hale Chase Professor Emeritus of the Social Sciences, passed away on October 17, 2013. She taught economics at the College from 1949 to 1990. In 1988, Hunter was awarded the five-year Mary Hale Chase Endowed Chair McPherson in recognition of her excellence in teaching and scholarship by then-president Mary Patterson McPherson.

McPherson writes of her former colleague: “Helen Hunter was a pillar of the economics department, enjoyed and respected by students and faculty alike. Her wise approach and her gentle humor were appreciated by all who worked and studied with her. The Taft-Manning-Hunter-Cunningham families have been a part of Bryn Mawr almost since the College’s beginning. Through their lives and their varied roles as students, professors, and administrators at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges, one can trace the history of all three colleges and their interrelationships. Helen will be missed by all who knew her, but her special legacy will certainly live on.”

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