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Why I Give: Robert Collins, Ph.D.

  • December 02, 2019
Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.

Robert Collins, Ph.D.Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters—including Emeritus Associate Professor Robert Collins, Ph.D.—to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.

 

Arts & Sciences magazine: What do you do for a living?

Robert Collins: I have been retired from the Department of English for almost a decade. Before I retired, I taught American literature and writing, including creative writing, for thirty years in the English Department at UAB. While serving as an English professor, I co-founded Birmingham Poetry Review with Randy Blythe, Ph.D., and directed the creative writing program for almost ten years. Since retiring, I have published two volumes of poetry, Naming the Dead (FutureCycle Press, 2012) and Drinking with the Second Shift (Word Tech, 2017). I am currently working on another collection of poems.

A&S: Did you benefit from scholarships when you were a student?

RC: Yes, I did. I attended Xavier University in Cincinnati on a presidential scholarship.

A&S: What made you decide to make a gift to the College of Arts and Sciences?

RC: I had several reasons for making a gift (the Collins Family Scholarship in Creative Writing) to the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. First, I wanted to honor a worthy student with the gift of time, so precious to any writer, and to raise the status of creative writing, which is as demanding a discipline as any other in the arts and sciences. Second, I wanted to express my gratitude for the position I held in the English Department at UAB, which gave me the opportunity “to pursue my talents in the direction of excellence” as John F. Kennedy, one of my heroes, observed when asked why he wanted to be president. Third, and most importantly, I wanted to honor and express my gratitude to my parents John and Veronica Collins for the way in which they stressed the importance of education, especially higher education, which they rightly believed to be the key to a better life.

A&S: Where do you see the College of Arts and Sciences in the next ten years? Fifty years?

RC: So many physical changes have taken place on campus in the ten years since I retired that I hesitate to say anything about what might happen in the next ten, let alone fifty. I can speak, however, to what I would like to see happen in the next decade. Primarily, I'd like to see UAB redirect its resources to assure that faculty are secure, prosperous, and not overworked. Since enrollment at UAB has increased so dramatically in the past decade, I’d like to see the university focus on hiring many more faculty members in tenure-track positions and compensating them commensurate with the heavy load they carry. The colleagues I worked with during my 30 years at UAB were the smartest and hardest working people I knew.


Donor support is invaluable in ensuring that our students receive the quality education that, regardless of their course of study, will set them on the path to success. For additional information regarding gifts to the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Camille Epps at camilleepps@uab.edu or call (205) 996-2154.