After 43 years on the Hilltop, Family and Consumer Sciences professor and department chair Nina Collins is retiring at the end of the semester.
“It’s really hard to summarize 43 years up into just a few memories,” she said. “The best part of my job, though, has always been the students. I love working with them and finding out how their educations play out. If I was a part of [their success], then I’d consider this a life well lived.”
Collins said she wouldn’t have been successful at Bradley without help from a few people.
“When I first arrived here, I was a very young and naïve 22-year-old that needed lots of guidance,” she said. “I got a lot of help from some of the other faculty in the department – Betty Church, Doris Wilson and Katherine Watson. They were very kind and welcoming and helped me get through my first year at Bradley.”
A lot has changed on campus since her arrival 43 years ago, she said.
“When I came here, there were no department secretaries,” Collins said. “If you needed something typed, you’d have to take it over to this secretarial pool to type it up for you. You had to be very organized. It isn’t like today, when you can just type something up the night before you need it for a class and print it out.”
Collins said she has also seen big changes in Bradley’s students over the years here.
“Students are always connected electronically now,” she said. “This actually concerns me. They seem a lot lonelier. Electronic communication has taken away interpersonal skills that students had before all this existed. It’s very efficient though, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do without it now.”
Collins said she’s been a part of several big accomplishments throughout her time at Bradley.
“We started an international concentration in the ’90s,” she said. “It was actually one of the first international programs at Bradley. It’s now been replaced by the Global Scholars program, which is a great program. Two years ago I was part of a group that developed our dietetic internship.
“I think this summer it will bring us national recognition, because we bring students in from across the country. I also helped develop the new major we’ll be adding this fall – hospitality leadership.”
Collins said she hasn’t decided exactly what she’ll be doing after she retires.
“I would like to do historical research after Bradley,” she said.
“Maybe write more about Nellie Kedzie, who I’ve done a lot of research about already. Otherwise I hope to find a place in the community where I can make a difference in peoples’ lives volunteering, though I don’t know exactly where yet. I also have six grandchildren who live five minutes away from here. I hope to make many memories with them. I’ll miss it here though. It’s been an incredible career.”