Elon dedicates bench to late Residence Life staffer
A Wednesday program between Harper and Moffitt halls in the Colonnades commemorated the impact Brian Collins made on campus.
Elon University staff and faculty gathered in the Colonnades residential complex on Wednesday afternoon to dedicate a bench in memory of Brian Collins, their former friend and colleague who died in March after serving as associate director of Residence Life.
The bench, located on a walkway between Harper and Moffitt halls, is within yards of the entrance to buildings that house Elon’s living-learning communities, which Collins had a strong role in crafting.
The program itself was organized by Elon Chaplain Jan Fuller and attended by Nadia Alamo, Collins' wife and a former Elon Residence Life staff member herself.
Fuller welcomed staff with a short prayer before turning to Phil Smith, interim director of domestic programs at Elon and a good friend of both Collins and Alamo. Smith spoke of Collins' dedication to the university and to providing students with opportunities to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually as members of living-learning communities in the Colonnades.
"This place is so fitting," Smith said. "Brian put his heart and soul into developing Elon’s learning communities to be places of transformative, seamless learning and interaction. So this bench is appropriately situated amid the highest concentration of those communities. In a way Brian’s bench will provide a front row seat, literally, to where much of the work of the communities he nurtured continues into the future."
Smith recalled the seriousness with which Collins helped plan the Better Together Multi-faith Learning Community yet how he taught peers "to make the most of our moments and our relationships."
"This was never a job for Brian. It was something he cared about and dedicated himself to. He cared deeply about what he was doing; how he was impacting students and their learning," Smith continued. "My hope is that this bench will help us to focus not on his absence, rather on his past and continued presence among us."
Born in Wilmington, Ohio, Collins earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio University and a graduate degree in student affairs from Kent State University. He had previously worked at Virginia Tech and Kent State University before coming to Elon.