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Former Tufts Drama Chair Mourned

Former Tufts Drama Chair MournedTufts’Sherwood “Doc” Collins – who chaired the University’sdrama department for more than a decade – died at the ageof 79.Medford,Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.28.03] For more than 30 years,Sherwood C. Collins – known to his students as Doc –shaped Tufts’ departmentof drama and dance and nurtured generations of aspiring performersat the University. On July 15, the decorated war veteran who devotedhis life to drama died at Tufts-New England Medical Center atage 79.

“[Drama]was his whole life,” Julie Collins told The Boston Globeabout her husband. “Tufts and the drama department wereeverything to him.”

Collins joinedTufts in 1961 as a professor in the drama department. During his33-year tenure, he directed 35 plays including “Our Town”and “All My Sons.”

Among thestudents to study under Collins were Oscar-winning actor WilliamHurt, Emmy-winning actor Hank Azaria and Emmy-nominated actorOliver Platt.

Collin’svision and devotion to drama at Tufts have had a lasting impact.

Sherwood“Hewas a leading force behind the construction of Tufts’ BalchArena Theater,” reported the Globe. “Dr.Collins also helped develop a creative arts program for childrenages 7 to 12 and a playwriting workshop for adults.”

He also oversawthe Tufts Summer Theater for more than 20 years. “The yearshave been filled with fulfillment and frustration, insight andoversight,” he once told the Globe about the summertheater program.

In 1973 Collinsbecame the youngest person ever appointed president of the NewEngland Theater Conference. He was also an honorary life memberof the Massachusetts High School Drama Guild, an organizationwhich runs an annual high school playwriting competition createdby Collins and named in his honor.

A nativeof Dwight, Kansas, Collins put off his undergraduate studies tofight in World War II. He earned a Distinguished Flying Crossafter flying 26 mission over Germany for the United States AirForce.

Collins leaveshis wife, a son, a daughter a sister, a brother, two grandchildrenand several nieces and nephews.

Images courtesy of Digital Collections andArchives, Tufts University

 

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