Distinguished Alumnus
Charter Class of 2013
Eunice Collins Sourla
(June 15, 1909 – March 30, 1994)

AHS Class of 1927

Eunice Collins was born in Arcola, the only child of Arcola Record-Herald owner and editor Franklin F. Collins and Arcola teacher Pearl Higginbotham Collins. She was Valedictorian and yearbook Editor-in-Chief with the Arcola High School Class of 1927. Eunice continued her education at the University of Illinois, earning her A.B. in 1931 and B.S. in Library Science in 1933. Following her graduation, Collins began her work as library assistant and journalism department assistant at the University of Illinois. She was promoted to Journalism Librarian in 1940 and later Associate Professor of Journalism. Eunice left Illinois in 1945 to serve as assistant to a department chief in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Washington, D.C. She continued her career in Washington from 1951-55, working for the American Council on Education, first as a project director and then as Secretary for the Committee on Television. During this time she wrote several articles about the use of television in higher education. Eunice returned to Illinois in 1955 to work as Research Associate in the office of University President David Dodds Henry before retiring in 1964, following her marriage to Eugene M. Sourla.

Although Eunice left Arcola at a young age, she maintained hometown friendships and continued to have an interest in Arcola throughout her life. She became Arcola Foundation’s first major contributor in 1976 when she created the Collins Memorial Fund as a permanent endowment to honor her parents. The Collins Family Valedictorian Award financially rewards each Arcola High School valedictorian. Her philanthropy continued at the time of her death when Arcola Foundation and University of Illinois Foundation were named as recipients of her sizable estate. Her donations to Arcola Foundation, totaling more than $3.4 million, provided interest income to be used for building additions for Arcola Community Unit School District #306 and Arcola Public Library, as well as new construction for Arcola Fire Protection District. Other donations from Collins Memorial Fund have benefited Arcola Center, Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Arcola Recreation, Telecare, Food Pantry and dozens of other local needs throughout the years. Sourla’s gift to University of Illinois Foundation, also honoring her parents, allowed WILL-TV/Radio to complete fundraising for Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunication. Eunice Collins Sourla’s generosity and desire to help others will continue to benefit Arcola and the Central Illinois community for generations to come.

Eunice Collins Sourla was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity and Theta Sigma Phi Professional Journalism Society. She was an active member of University of Illinois Alumni Association as a member of its President’s Council and received its Loyalty Award in 1989. Sourla was also a Life Member of Arcola Foundation.

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Last Revision November 10, 2017