UMaine mourns the passing of Patricia M. Collins

Dear University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias communities,

I share with you the sad news of the passing of distinguished University of Maine alumna Patricia M. Collins. Collins, who was 96, died on March 5, 2024. She served as an active member of the UMaine and University of Maine System community for more than 75 years. 

Pat Collins traveled from New York to Maine to begin her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1945 at the University of Maine. During her time on campus, she was involved in the UMaine community as a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the math club. She met her husband of 70 years, Donald, at UMaine. Pat and Don were a “Bear Pair!”

In addition to actively chairing various local and state boards to improve public service in Maine, Pat prioritized her education by returning to the University of Maine in 1970 to complete her bachelor’s degree in mathematics, graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, one of the oldest academic honor societies in the country. 

Photo of Pat Collins
Pat Collins when she chaired the University of Maine System Board of Trustees

From 1987-97, she served on the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. In 1991, she served as board chair, where she continued to demonstrate her leadership in and advocacy for public higher education. Collins and other family members’ commitment to education was shown by their tireless involvement at UMaine. Don chaired the University of Maine Foundation Board and served as a member of the University of Maine Board of Visitors. Collins’ son, Sam, chaired the UMS Board of Trustees from 2013-17. And her daughter, Senator Susan Collins, has worked tirelessly to promote our university, system and state as an innovative leader in higher education and research. 

Following her term on the Board, Collins continued to serve as an essential member of the UMaine community. She was an active member of the President’s Club, Stillwater Society and the Charles F. Allen Legacy Society. Her long history of giving to our university supported student scholarships and provided assistance for undergraduate students in Aroostook County public high schools. The UMaine Alumni Association recognized the legacy of the Collins family in 2018 with the Fogler Legacy Award, demonstrating the family’s commitment and service to the UMaine community, with Pat Collins as a leader and model. 

Our thoughts are with Senator Susan Collins, former Board Chair Sam Collins, and the entire Collins family. I was fortunate to meet Pat when she visited UMaine to attend the Alumni Achievement Awards in 2019. Her generosity and ongoing support for Mainers leave an indelible mark on our universities, local communities and our state. 


Joan Ferrini-Mundy