Beloved Advertising Professor Prepares for Retirement

By Terell Bailey

Teaching higher education for the past 15 years has been extremely rewarding to advertising professor James Collier. But all great things must come to an end.

Collier announced at the beginning of this semester that he will be retiring in May.

With the semester coming to a close he often finds himself reflecting on his past tenure as an advertising professor.

“The main thing that will be missed is the students, I feel so gratified when students contact me long after they have graduated,” Collier said.

As a lover of the arts Collier while in high school knew the job market for advertising was a booming business so he decided to attend VCU majoring in advertising. He adds that, “I’ve been working in advertising since I was 19 starting out in various Richmond newspapers while in college.”

After graduating from VCU Collier spent most of his life working for different Ad agencies such as Thalhimers. He then decided to head in a different direction with advertising.

“After a while I transitioned from what they called the “dark side” [creative side] of advertising and headed to the business side,” Collier explained.

Though he excelled in his profession Collier still wanted to try something different so he headed back to school to get a master’s in film and arts. During that time he had his first encounter with Radford University.  

“My daughter and I actually graduated together in 2001. I received my MBA from VCU and she got her B.A. at Radford,” Collier noted.

Afterwards he started working at VSU as an instructor to help jumpstart the Mass Communication program. From there he went to teach adjunct at J.Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and also back at his alma mater VCU.

In 2008 he received a call from Radford University about a teaching position. Roughly 10 years later he still remains on the campus. “Radford can be seen as a family, you don’t always get along but you work together to get things done,” Collier added.

Collier’s retirement is mainly due to his ever-growing family. All of his children and grandchildren live in Richmond and he recently found out he has another grandchild on the way.

He isn’t too sure what he wants to do after this semester but he does know he will continue in his artistic ways. Though he doesn’t plan to teach again he is open to the idea.

Collier said, “I do know I want to create some documentary films and I also will probably get a call to teach some sort of wintermester class.”

With Collier retiring, Radford will have to introduce a new face to the School of Communication. He has some advice for the future professor.

“Continue to improve the curriculum and also teach advertising students how to improve the quality of their writing while also showing them how the advertising business works,” Collier advised.

From now until May 6 Collier encourages students to come visit him in his office to discuss self-branding or just to talk.

Mar 30, 2017
School of Communication