Eastern Michigan University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ronald Collins, died Thursday after serving the university for more than three decades.

Paul Wong

Kylie Crawford, president of the Eastern Michigan Student Government, said Collins went out of his way to connect with university students by establishing programs such as the Undergraduate Symposium.

“He served here for 36 years and really made an impact on the university,” Crawford said. “A lot of the students knew him and are saddened by his death.”

Morell Boone, dean of Learning Resources and Technology and one of Collins” colleagues, reiterated his dedication to the university”s students.

“Not only was he my supervisor, but he was my personal friend. What he has meant to Eastern Michigan will never go away he left an indelible mark on the institution that will go on because of his caring for the true mission of the university, which is the students,” Boone said in a written statement.

Collins died Thursday afternoon at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital at the age of 64. His official cause of death has not yet been released.

Collins, a nationally recognized scholar in the field of instructional computer usage, began his career at Eastern in 1965 as an assistant professor of chemistry, a department that he later went on to head. In 1977 Collins received Eastern”s Distinguished Faculty Award and in 1983, was named provost of the university.

Eastern Michigan University spokeswoman Pam Young said Collins” death has hit the university especially hard because of the strong sense of community felt within Eastern.

“He was a vital part of our community,” Young said in a written statement. “Even though we are the fifth largest university in Michigan, we are a close-knit campus that has been greatly saddened by the loss.”

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