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Eleanor Collier: The Inspirational Leader Behind the Collier Award

By Christine Tempesta
Eleanor Collier Wedding Photo
Press photo of former BU Director of Public Relations Eleanor Mosely-Collier at her marriage to BU professor Dr. Edward Collier in 1943.

Ever wonder about the names of the CASE District I Collier Award and the history behind the recognition? We went into the “way back machine” and got a glimpse of the pioneering work of Eleanor Mosely Collier, who served Boston University for 40 years as Director of Public Relations.

To find out about Mrs. Collier, we turned to the CASE Library, and used the “Ask the Library” service. They really delivered – with articles about her, articles written by her, and other wonderful references that gave us insights about this incredible pioneer.

Eleanor Rust Mosely – who became Mrs. Edward Collier after her marriage to the BU professor in 1943 – was more than the first woman president of the American College Public Relations Association, she was also associated with nearly every single advancement made by the Association, which later merged with the American Alumni Council in 1974 to form CASE.

In “The Changing World of College Relations” a history and philosophy by W. Emerson Reck published by CASE in 1976, we get a real feel for the character of Eleanor. Within its pages, it is noted that the editor of the College Publicity Digest called her “a dreamer extraordinary to whom all things are a challenge of service. But (she) is no mere dreamer; more important, she is a doer who makes dreams come true.”  There were additional testaments to her integrity, her presence, and her personality. “The honesty, the candor, the tenacity always stood out, and, when combined with Eleanor’s incredibly long work day, constructive results always followed,” wrote a former student assistant who later became a dean at Brandeis.

We also got a good look at her own writings, including an article she penned for the College Public Relations Quarterly entitled “Here’s How We Do it” that described in incredible detail the operations of her public relations shop at BU, including the staff, the offices, the equipment, the procedures, and the intangibles. “Our next immediate need (for equipment)” she wrote, “is a television set.”  And demonstrating her pioneering thinking that resonates today, on the intangibles she wrote “In my annual report submitted to President Daniel Marsh in 1929, the nation’s delectable, delirious, deluded year, and my first one in this position, I pointed out that constant service on behalf of the university through all channels was absolutely necessary…”

You can read more about the fabulous Eleanor Mosely Collier in this A study of the publicity offices of three major universities a Master’s Thesis submitted to the Boston University, School of Public Relations and Communications, 1955, by Philip C. Worden. And you can help us in CASE District I celebrate the memory her incredible character by nominating a deserving candidate for the Collier Award, which we will bestow at our annual conference awards event.

Recent Collier Award Winners have included Scott Nichols, Senior Vice President at Boston University; Christine Mota, Director of Media Relations at Concordia University; and John Fuedo, Vice Chancellor for Advancement at UMASS Lowell.

Finally, if you have a burning question about advancement, ask the CASE Library! The Library is a hub for resources about the advancement field and is served by a staff of highly knowledgeable professional librarians and can provide information about CASE products and services, as well as other print and online resources for advancement professionals.



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