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Public Affairs

Vice President for University Advancement retires

January 5, 2005

Photo of Jim CollierVice President for University Advancement Jim Collier was celebrated by friends and colleagues at a retirement ceremony in late December. He leaves behind staff members who will miss him so much, they created a life-size cardboard cut-out of their leader, known affectionately as "the king."

Arriving in 1996, Collier organized and presided over the first-ever university advancement effort at SFSU. President Robert A. Corrigan, a longtime friend, lauded him for his level of professionalism and entrepreneurial savvy which has led to numerous accomplishments which continue to benefit the campus community.

"Our choice of Jim Collier as this University's first vice president in the area collectively known as Advancement -- fund-raising, public affairs, publications, government relations and alumni affairs -- was a watershed moment in our history," said Corrigan. "Jim brought us the kind of professional expertise and deep knowledge of the field that we had never before had. He built a true Advancement operation, and, as an unexpected part of his portfolio, guided us through real estate and construction acquisitions and projects that have expanded and reshaped this campus."

Collier also served as the executive director of the nonprofit San Francisco State University Foundation, helping grow its assets from $6 million to $136 million during his tenure.

At a retirement ceremony held in SFSU's Seven Hills Conference Center, President Corrigan pointed out that The Village at Centennial Square, an apartment complex at the heart of campus which houses 760 upper-division and graduate students, "would never have happened, were it not for Jim."

Collier played a key role in the acquisition of 180 housing units adjacent to campus and led the foundation in addressing the need for more campus gathering spots and food services. In addition to a number of cafes and restaurants, the One Stop Student Center; an on-campus credit union and an Internet café were all added to the foundation's portfolio during his tenure.

During the past eight years, three endowed chair positions were established at SFSU, including the first $1 million endowed chair, The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. SFSU also received the largest private individual gift in its history: a $2.4 million donation from alumnus Robert B. Pasker and his wife, Laurie Pitman, as well as the funding which enabled the Presidential Scholars program, the most distinguished academic award for undergraduates at the University.

The vice president retires following the 2003-04 record-breaking year in private giving which totaled $17.3 million. The University endowment has grown to more than $20 million during his tenure.

Collier also led the successful launch of SFSU Magazine, the University's twice-yearly, award-winning publication for alumni, donors, friends and the campus community. Under his direction, the Office of Public Affairs enhanced both understanding and appreciation of the University through award-winning advertising, community relations and media relations programs; developed a daily news Web site for the University; and managed complex public relations challenges. In 2003, the San Francisco Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve was established at SFSU's Romberg Tiburon Center, which gained an additional 11 acres under Collier's direction.

Among all of his accomplishments, however, Collier places one first and foremost: hiring his assistant, Inez Bomar. The vice president says he will miss all of his staff members who he's come to consider friends.

Known for his sharp wit, friendly nature and love of holiday get-togethers -- especially green-themed St. Patrick's Day parties -- Collier, in turn, will be missed by his colleagues.

"As a member of the President's Cabinet, Jim brought his characteristic wit, shrewdness and generosity of spirit to a host of issues involving the University," said President Corrigan. "He has been a beloved friend and valued colleague to many on this campus, and we are going to miss him greatly."

Prior to SFSU, Collier served for 15 years as vice president for university relations at the University of Washington. He and his wife, April, have relocated to Bellevue, Wash., to be closer to their family members, who include five grandchildren.

A search for Collier's replacement is now under way. Don Scoble, President Corrigan's chief of staff, has been appointed acting vice president for University advancement.

-- Adrianne Bee


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Last modified January 5, 2005 by University Communications