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Giving News - $6 Million Gift For Arts & Athletics

(From left) Mary Rumpho Kennedy, Anne Collins, Dick Collins and UMaine President Robert Kennedy.

(From left) Mary Rumpho Kennedy, Anne Collins, Dick Collins and UMaine President Robert Kennedy.

Campaign Maine has taken a huge leap forward thanks to alumni Richard and Anne Collins ’59 and ’61 of Key Largo, Fla., who have provided $6 million to support improvements at the Maine Center for the Arts and the Memorial Gym.

The bulk of the major new gift — $5 million — will go toward renovations at the MCA which will be renamed the Richard R. and Anne A. Collins Center for the Arts. The balance will support renovations at the gym.

UMaine President Robert Kennedy announced the contribution during an Aug. 30 reception at the President’s House where he thanked the Collinses and praised them for their long history of support to their alma mater.

“Dick and Anne Collins are among the University of Maine’s most generous and faithful donors,” he said. “What makes the Collins’ philanthropy so special is their incredible support for many aspects of the University, especially its performing arts and athletic programs.”

The Collins’ gift — one of the largest in UMaine’s history – brings Campaign Maine to $70 million, approaching half its goal in just over two years, President Kennedy said.

A member of the UMaine Class of 1959, Dick grew up on a potato farm in St. Agatha. Anne, who graduated from UMaine in 1961, was born in Belfast and raised in Farmington. The couple met at UMaine and have provided decades of loyal alumni service to the flagship University. Dick retired in 1992 after a successful career in the insurance industry, serving from 1980 to 1992 as President and CEO of American Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of American International Group.

“I can’t think of a better way to help future generations than the gift we are making today,” he said during the reception attended by many friends and family members.

The couple’s contribution provides a significant boost to the arts center and to athletic facility renovation projects which are part of Campaign Maine, a six-year comprehensive campaign which aims to raise a minimum of $150 million to fund the University’s strategic priorities.

Chaired by H. Allen and Sally Carroll Fernald ’54 and ’55 of Camden, Campaign Maine will increase scholarship aid to students; enhance the endowment for faculty professorships and chairs; establish endowed excellence funds; provide additional operating monies; and restore historic buildings and learning environments.

The mood was high at the President’s reception, which drew 175 campus and volunteer leaders including representatives of boards, faculty, students, staff and administrators. Everyone was fired up about the Collins’ gift and confident that it would help ensure the success of Campaign Maine.

Allen Fernald said it was a privilege to co-chair the campaign and called the President’s reception a “wonderful opportunity to recognize how far we have come in this Campaign for Maine and to remember how much further we need to go.”

“This isn’t just for UMaine, but for the state because UMaine is the state’s economic engine,” he said.

Barbara Beers ’74, UMaine’s vice president for development, said the day “marks the beginning of a whole new era of philanthropy supporting the state’s pre-eminent University.”

“I have great expectations that this will be a wonderful turning point for the University,” said Joyce Rumery, dean of Libraries.

Dan Sandweiss, dean of Graduate Studies, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the people who have been so generous to the University.”

Said Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering, “The wonderful gift from Richard and Anne Collins raises the stature of the University of Maine to all our citizens. Moreover, it highlights the importance of giving to our institution.”

The Collinses hope their gift will inspire other alumni and friends of the University to contribute to Campaign Maine. Their goal is to help make the arts center “into a nationally recognized facility for the performing arts” that will enable the University community as well as all Maine residents to enjoy a wide range of high quality performing arts, Dick said.

Construction is underway on the arts center renovation which will feature a renovated lobby, a new Hudson Museum, an expanded Bodwell Lounge and a significant facelift in the Hutchins Concert Hall. The Collins’ gift brings total arts center contributions and pledges to $10 million. Anne Collins will spearhead the effort to raise the remaining $1 million to complete the project which is due to be finished in January 2009.

The Collins’ $1 million gift to the Memorial Gym will support efforts to upgrade athletic facilities. The planned $12.5 million Memorial Gym renovation will create a new home facility for Black Bear basketball as well as office and support space for the UMaine Department of Athletics. A former Black Bear basketball player, Dick Collins also has agreed to serve as chair of UMaine’s athletic facilities fundraising effort.

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