Vanderbilt Lawyer - Volume 37, Number 2

Ovid Collins, '42: Not the Retiring Type

Ovid Collins, '42, at a reception celebrating his birthday and his retirement

Ovid Collins, '42, at a reception celebrating his birthday and his retirement

After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1942, W. Ovid Collins Jr. founded his own law firm, Cornelius & Collins, with a partner, the late Charles L. Cornelius Sr. His legal career in Nashville would last for 66 years, and Collins recently celebrated his 90th birthday by retiring from Cornelius & Collins, although this was actually the second time he had retired. He had retired from full-time practice at 81, but continued to practice part-time until this year.

For more than 40 years, Collins also played violin for the Nashville Symphony. "Music has always been an important part of my life," Collins says. "I grew up in a family of singers and musicians." In the 1930s, as a high school student, Collins joined the studio orchestra of the city's largest radio station, WSM. Among the singers the orchestra accompanied was Nashville native Dinah Shore.

Collins served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. When he returned to Nashville after the war was over, he was one of a group of musicians who reorganized the Nashville Symphony, which had been disbanded during the Great Depression. The symphony's first concert after its rebirth took place in December 1946. Collins continued with playing with the symphony until 1987.

Collins was born on July 18, 1919, and earned his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt in 1939, Phi Beta Kappa, before earning his law degree.

He was honored in September with a reception hosted by his firm, where guests celebrated his successful career, his birthday and his retirement.