Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 18, 2013

Longtime Morehead supporter to be honored

Sarah Beckelheimer
The Independent

MOREHEAD — John E. Collis, who has been an integral part of Morehead State University for more than 60 years, will be recognized at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Len Miller Room of the Academic-Athletic Center.

Collis will be honored with the naming of a $25,000 endowed scholarship made possible by the generous donations of alumni, family and friends.

An avid Eagle fan, Collis and his friends, particularly former President C. Nelson Grote and former department chair Dr. John E. Duncan, are seen regularly on the front row at basketball events. The MSU vs. Murray State men’s basketball game will begin at 7 p.m. in Johnson Arena.

Throughout his life Collis has continued to serve MSU in addition to being a husband and father. He was an athlete, manager of the bookstore, president of the MSU Alumni Association and an award recipient among his accomplishments. He has made bettering the quality of life a priority for the campus, his community and everyone he knows.

Arriving on the campus in 1946, the Navy veteran was a football recruit with a new bride. They were instrumental in promoting married housing and the theme of family when their son was born.

Upon graduation in 1949, Collis was offered the position of manager of the bookstore. He would thrive in that post and added new roles as postmaster and control of operations and concessions. As the years passed and the University Store grew, he increased responsibilities while continuing student involvement and beginning a social fraternity.

When he retired in 1988, he had seen most every student who graduated as they had come to purchase books and a cap and gown. He met family and friends as well when they came to check out his top selling merchandise — sweatshirts, jackets, clothing for alumni and children, or anything with the MSU motif.

Collis continued to make the campus community his home even after retirement, a major accomplishment he contributed to his late wife Dot. They were strong supporters of the University and its entities.  They gave financial donations to scholarships, art, MSU’s public radio, athletics, annual giving and a host of other items.

His involvement extended to his surroundings, his church and civic commitments. He was active in Boy Scouts of America for nearly 50 years and a Silver Beaver Award recipient, gave gallons of blood to the American Red Cross, and served a leadership role with the Morehead Men’s Club. Those of all ages were treated to his warm personality at MSU Homecomings, sporting events and gatherings.

In recognition of his support, MSU’s Board of Regents approved Collis the Founders Award for university service in 1989. For his lifetime career, then-President Grote summed up the honor this way:

“John Collis has lived a life of service, dedicating himself to what this institution stands for and to his fellow man. He stands as an example to us all and MSU is proud to pay tribute to him.”

Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the endowed scholarship fund may contact the Office of Development at (606) 783-2033 or (877) 690-GIVE  or giving@moreheadstate.edu.