Collier, William Miller

From GW Encyclopedia

William Miller Collier

President

Tenth President of George Washington University

1918-1921

William Miller Collier (1867-1956) was born November 11, 1867 in Lodi, New York, the son of Rev. Isaac H. and Frances Miller. He married Frances Beardsley Ross of Auburn, September 13, 1893. Collier died April 15, 1956. An alumnus of Hamilton College (A.B., 1889; A.M., 1892), Clinton, N.Y., and Columbia University Law School, Dr. Collier was a lawyer by profession and a recognized authority on Civil Service. He rose from law clerk to become referee in bankruptcy and president of the New York State Civil Service Commission (1899-1903). Dr. Collier wrote a number of books on law. He was a distinguished lecturer on international law and diplomacy for many years, both at New York University Law School and at the George Washington University.

Dr. Collier served and was a friend of seven United States Presidents. He was the First Solicitor of the former Department of Commerce and Labor and then special assistant to the Attorney General in charge of antitrust cases under President Theodore Roosevelt, who later appointed him to be Minister in Spain (1905-09). In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson sent him to Norway to head the United States delegation at an international conference to frame a government for the island of Spitzenberg.

GW Tenure Information: President Collier assumed his duties at the University in the late summer of 1918 as the American involvement in Europe was reaching its highest point. A unit of the Student Army Training Corps and United States Naval Unit were established for the period of the war. In 1918 a special convocation was held for the first conferring upon a ruling prince of an honorary degree in the Nation's Capital. His majesty, Albert, King of the Belgians, received the honor. In 1921, having presided over the centennial celebration of the University, Collier resigned when President Warren G. Harding nominated him for an ambassadorship to Chile (where he served from 1921-28), and was instrumental in mediating a border dispute between Chile and Peru. Universities in both countries honored him for his part in the settlement.

Document Information

Images: 1
Photographic Credit: GW University Historical Photographs Collection
Author or Source: University Archives subject and personnel files/38; Hatchet student newspaper; Bricks Without Straw
Document Location: University Archives
Date Added to Encyclopedia: December 21, 2006
Prepared by: G. David Anderson; Lyle Slovick

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