John Floyd Collins received a “classical education” in his home state of Alabama. At 16 his family moved to Tennessee. He became a farmer, was converted to Christianity and began what he called the “glorious adventure in spiritual discovery” and the “victorious life.” He completed his classical education at West Tennessee University and began teaching.
During Collins’ 50 years in education, he taught Latin, Greek and literature and served as principal in twelve southern schools. He was known as a southern gentleman and a passionate speaker who “elevated conversation to an art” and possessed “the very soul of chivalry and gallantry.” He was a prolific writer on religious topics, especially against Modernism—and his articles appeared in various magazines. He was known for his “unimpeachable character” and “transparent soul.”
He was 74 years old when he contacted Dr. Bob Jones Sr., asking if there were a position he could fill in the new college. Dr. Bob offered him the position of principal of the preparatory department. Declining health forced him to relinquish the principal’s chair after one year, but he continued to teach Latin and English and handled the discipline of the young men in the military school.
Collins received the honorary degree Doctor of Literature from BJC. He helped to establish the college library by donating his extensive collection. Illness forced his retirement from BJC in 1931--and he died in Alabama in 1932.
Pinkston, W.S. (2016). A History of Bob Jones Academy.
McKinsey, D.M. (1992). A history of Bob Jones Academy with selected other Christian schools. (Doctoral dissertation). Greenville, SC: BJU.
Turner, D.L. (2002). Standing Without Apology. Greenville, SC: BJU Press.