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Dr. Herman E. Collier, Jr. took over the helm of Moravian College and Theological Seminary in 1969 and served as its eighth president. Prior to his seventeen-year presidency, Dr. Collier was a highly respected chemistry professor at the college and chair of the Division of Natural Sciences, as well as an industrial research chemist with DuPont, where he held the patents for processes to improve manufacturing technology and product quality for organic lead compounds used in gasoline additives.
The appointment of Dr. Collier broke with tradition in that he was the first layman (not a member of the Moravian clergy) to serve as president. Although he was raised as a Methodist, the Collier family was affiliated with the Moravian Church since its arrival in Bethlehem. But after 162 years of leaders who followed the traditional American model of classical training coupled with a clerical background, Dr. Collier brought a new perspective to the institution. This change was, in part, the result of the incorporation of Moravian College and Theological Seminary and the Moravian College for Women in 1953 and the rapid expansion that resulted from the merger.
Born in St. Louis, Dr. Collier grew up in Hopewell, Va. Before entering college, he spent a year in the U.S. Navy. In 1950, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. awarded Dr. Collier a bachelor of science. He went on to earn an M.S. and Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Lehigh University in 1955. The people who know Dr. Collier comment that his youth spent in Virginia produced a man that is a true "Southern gentleman." He and his wife, Jerline Weston Collier, display the warmth and hospitality for which Southerners are renowned.
After retiring as President of Moravian College in 1986, Dr. Collier moved to Point Harbor, NC and has served as interim president of four North Carolina colleges: Salem Academy and College, North Carolina Wesleyan College, Chowan College, and Lees-McRae College. He also is a senior consultant with Academic Search Consultation Service in Washington, D.C.
Collier Hall of Science was built in 1970 and houses 35 laboratories and the 124-seat Dana Lecture Hall as well as many offices. The building cost $4,100,000 when built and in 1986 was dedicated to the man who was very instrumental in the creation of the facility, Dr. Herman Collier. In 1999 an addition was added for the St. Luke's Hospital Commemorative School of Nursing.