Melvin Collins ’75

2007 Catharine Lealtad
Service to Society Award

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For 30 years Melvin Collins has helped young people of color move into successful careers in business. At the same time, he has been instrumental in helping Macalester forge stronger relationships with alumni of color, while also volunteering in programs for current Macalester students.

Collins was recruited by Macalester as part of its EEO (Expanded Educational Opportunities) program for students of color. A leader on campus, he became president of the Black Liberation Affairs Committee and helped lead the 1974 occupation of the college’s business office to protest budget cuts in programs for students of color. Following a successful corporate career with Minnesota Mutual Cos., Inc, he is now an executive with the Twin Cities office of INROADS, an international organization that places talented minority youths in business and industry, preparing them for corporate and community leadership.

As a key figure in Macalester’s efforts to reconnect with alumni of color, Collins co-chaired the steering committee for the college’s first Alumni of Color Reunion in 1999 and made sure that all of his friends came back in 2004 for the second reunion. He worked with students on the Dismantling Racism initiative in the early 1990s and was an influential adviser as the college developed the current structure of a Department of Multicultural Life and a Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

In nominating him for the Lealtad Award, five colleagues who served with him on the Alumni Board wrote: "During his tenure on the Alumni Board, Melvin was a passionate advocate for students of color and he remains a thoughtful, persistent and loving critic of Macalester."