Edward G Coll Jr., 12th president of Alfred University, passed away Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Gainesville, Georgia, at the age of 88. Coll served as president at Alfred University for 18 years, from 1982-2000. Under his leadership, the landscape of the University changed dramatically, both in terms of physical facilities and academic offerings.
Six new buildings were constructed, including the Miller Performing Arts Center, F.W. Olin Building, Scholes Library, Arthur and Lea Powell Campus Center, Saxon Inn, and the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center. Four others—including landmarks Alumni Hall (which houses the Division of Enrollment Management offices) and the Steinheim (which became home to the Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center)—were renovated.
During Coll’s presidency, Alfred University became the only institution in the United States and only the third in the world to offer a doctoral degree in glass science; implemented new graduate degree programs in a variety of areas, including master’s degrees in business administration, biomedical materials engineering science and integrated electronic arts; and launched new undergraduate programs in fields such as molecular cell biology and management information systems.
Alfred University completed two major campaigns during Coll’s tenure, raising a total of more than $90 million against a combined goal of $53 million. A third campaign to raise $70 million by June 2000—announced in 1998 and at the time the most ambitious fundraising initiative in University history—had raised more than $67 million by July 1999. The University’s endowment increased from $8 million when Coll took office in 1982 to $54 million when he retired in 2000.
On a national level, Coll was long involved in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), serving as vice chair of the President’s Commission, 1988-91; vice president for Division III, 1994-96; a member of the executive committee, 1994-96; and a member of the NCAA Council, 1993-97. He was one of four officers charged with restructuring the organization in 1995-96. He was also very involved with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a national organization of professionals in the development field. He served as chair of the CASE Board of Trustees, as district director, and as a national director from 1981-82 and again from 1989-93.
Coll came to Alfred University in 1982 from the University of Miami, where he had served as vice president for development since 1973. A Pittsburgh-area native, Coll received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Duquesne University, which later awarded him an honorary doctorate. He was also named a Fulbright Fellow, studying at Warwick University in Coventry, England.
At Alfred University’s Commencement ceremonies in 2000, Coll served as keynote speaker and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He and his wife, Carole Lee Hulse Coll—who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in 1999—had five children: Thomas, Jean, Peter, Karen, and Kelly. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Alfred University in 1988.
The oldest classroom building on campus, Kanakadea Hall, underwent a complete renovation in 2000-2001 and was renamed the Edward G. Coll Jr. and Carole Hulse Coll Center at Kanakadea. Alumni and friends donated more than $2.3 million to fund renovations of the building, which houses the Division of Human Studies.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Memorial Park South Funeral Home in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Visitation is Monday, December 19, from 1-2 p.m., with a service following at 2 p.m., in the Memorial Park South Chapel, 4121 Falcon Parkway, Flowery Branch, Georgia.