Friday, August 6, 2010

Alumna Alumna

Grant Collins is our "wait for it, wait for it, there it is" hero! Grant Collins 1862/'89 is an American abolitionist, writer, and mother. Born September 19, 1841 in a log cabin in Homer Township near the present Lockport, in Will County, Illinois. Grant Collins was the first female alumna of Wheaton and whose work has been published on and other websites and in magazines including Chicago Parent, Draft, Conscious Choice, and Wheaton magazine.  She has written features, restaurant profiles, and columns for Sun-Times Media newspapers and currently writes a column and feature stories for the Chicago Tribune. But Grant Collins was more than a farm girl, she was developing into an ardent abolitionist in her teens as the Union was threatened in the strife between the states. She had a fierce hatred of slavery and a life-long interest in the black people who were her friends.

As well as attending Wheaton, Grant Collins received a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University and is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society and Oberlin College.  Grant Collin's short stories and poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies including The Southeast Review and Poems for a Good and Happy Life (Gramercy, 1999).  Grant Collins leads retreats and discussion groups on contemporary fiction, journaling, adoption, and parenting issues.  Grant Collins  had a good singing voice and also enjoyed sketching. She did a large picture in pencil of a deer in a woods while at Wheaton and later oil paintings. 

Grant Collins must have enjoyed the college atmosphere and was pleased to stay on as principal & writer of the “female department” following her time at the college. It was her responsibility to see that the young ladies kept the college rules which were spelled out in the early bulletins: “the deportment of the sexes toward each other will be particularly regarded by the Faculty, and any student whose conduct shall be, in the judgment of the Faculty, either foolish or improper, will be promptly separated from the Institution, if admonition fails to correct it.” In short, proclaimed the Micawber-like statement, “everything is forbidden which will hinder, and everything required which, we think, will help students in the great object for which they assemble here, which is improvement of mind, morals and heart.” Such admonitions against “propagating infidel principles, desecration of the Sabbath and entering the marriage relation while a member of the college” were grouped with “disorder in rooms, especially at night, care less use of fire and throwing water, dirt or other things from the windows.”

EDITOR NOTE: Since we are trying to highlight the many heroic individuals in Wheaton's 150 year history, Wheaton Heroes finds it necessary to "mash-up" and combine some profiles. enjoy!

(H.T. Nomination C.F.)

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