Collins Establishes Two Endowed Chairs



Collins establishes two endowed chairs

William R. “Bill” Collins Jr., ME 1957, MS IM 1963, has been a stalwart supporter of his alma mater for decades. It is fitting that his most recent philanthropy led to the creation of the 99th and 100th endowed chairs/professorships during Campaign Georgia Tech.

Through an estate provision, Collins established chairs that will bear his name in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business. “As Georgia Tech’s founding academic discipline, the Woodruff School understands how critical it is to sustain excellence over the long term,” said William J. Wepfer, the Eugene C. Gwaltney Jr. School Chair. “Bill Collins’ commitment ensures that we will continue to attract the best of the best.”

“I saw this as an opportunity that probably wouldn’t come around again any time soon,” said Collins. “I wanted to make as much of a contribution as possible.” For him, supporting faculty in the respective schools from which he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees was a meaningful way to acknowledge the role that each played in his professional career. “My education, experiences, friendships — everything about Georgia Tech — contributed greatly to a very fulfilling life, for me and for our family,” he added.

Following graduation, Bill Collins served in the U.S. Army. He returned for graduate school and, after earning a master’s in industrial management, went on to enjoy a successful 30-plusyear career with The Pinkerton and Laws Company, one of the largest general contracting firms in Atlanta. In 1993, he founded Collins and Arnold Construction Co., where he recently retired as CEO.

Collins has received numerous honors in the years since leaving Tech. He was named a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus in 1996; elected to the Scheller College (formerly College of Management) Hall of Fame in 2007; received the Woodruff School Distinguished Alumni award the following year; and in 2010 received the J.M. Pettit Distinguished Service Award. During this time, Collins has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the Institute, serving on the Campaign Steering Committee, the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees, and as co-chair of the Class of 1957’s 50th Reunion.

He and his wife, Jackie (who graduated from O’Keefe High School on the Georgia Tech campus and attended Georgia State University), are members of The Hill Society, the Institute’s most prestigious giving society. Married for nearly 58 years, the couple has enjoyed watching two of their children and two of their grandchildren — and all four spouses — follow proudly in Bill Collins’ footsteps at Georgia Tech.

“Jackie and I met in my junior year at Tech,” Collins recalled. “She was an integral part of my time there, as an undergraduate, throughout graduate school, and ever since.”



(Left to right): Collins’ daughter Karen C. Thurman, IMGT 1982; Bill Collins; and granddaughter Claire T. Christopher, MGT 2010.