Sweet Briar announces commencement speaker

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Janika Carey

Sweet Briar College has announced that Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Upchurch Collier ’72 will deliver the keynote address during the College’s 105th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Ginger Collier Virginia Upchurch Collier ’72 was the Distinguished Alumna in 1990 and served as chair of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011.

Collier is the Hugh R. Sharp, Jr. Chair of Medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del., and an alumna of Sweet Briar College, graduating summa cum laude with highest honors in chemistry in 1972. Four years later, Collier received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she was chosen as the outstanding clinician of her graduating class. She completed her internal medicine residency training and nephrology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1976 to 1980.

From 1980 to 1989, Collier practiced general internal medicine and nephrology in a rural Maryland town on the Chesapeake Bay. In 1989, she joined the staff of the Medical Center of Delaware (now Christiana Care Health System) as the director of the Jefferson Medical College Fourth Year Medical Student Program. In 1991, she became the residency program director in internal medicine, and in 1994, she was made vice chair of the department. In July 2005, she was selected vice chair, director of education and chief of the section of general internal medicine at Christiana Care.

Since October 2006, when Collier became the chair of medicine at Christiana Care Health System, she has championed the practice of value-based medicine, supported by education, research and performance improvement. She is a professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College.

Collier completed a second three-year term as regent of the American College of Physicians (ACP) in April 2010. From 2000 to 2004, she served as governor of the Delaware Chapter of the ACP, and in 2009, she received the Delaware Chapter Laureate Award. Collier has served on numerous ACP committees, is an associate editor for ACP’s Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Programs and the author of numerous articles on medical education. She is a member of the Society for General Internal Medicine and served as an elected member of the Council of the Association of Program Directors of Internal Medicine.

Collier is the recipient of numerous awards for her contribution to medical education and to the field of internal medicine. In 2002, she was the inaugural winner of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Parker Palmer Courage to Teach Award as one of 10 outstanding residency program directors in the country. In 2003, she received the Leon A. Peris Memorial Award of Jefferson Medical College for excellence in clinical teaching and for being an exemplary role model in academic medicine.

In April 2012, Collier joined a select group of internists elected to mastership in the American College of Physicians. Masters are highly accomplished individuals distinguished by the excellence and significance of their contributions to the ACP and to the field of medicine.

In addition to her medical awards, Collier has also been honored by Sweet Briar College, which named her the Distinguished Alumna in 1990. In 2002, she was elected to the College’s board of directors, serving as chair of the board from 2005 to 2011.

Collier has been married for 36 years. She has three daughters and two granddaughters.

For more information about Commencement and this year’s speaker, contact the president’s office at (434) 381-6210.