Brother Michael Collins, beloved President of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, MN, died January 8, 2012 at the age of 74 from complications of his brief battle with lung cancer. He served as a Brother for 54 years.
Born in Minneapolis, he graduated from DeLaSalle in 1955. That same year, he entered the novitiate in Glencoe, MO; he professed his final vows in 1962. Bro. Michael’s career began at his alma mater teaching English, religion and music from 1959 to 1967. In the years that followed, he served at Shanley High School in Fargo, ND, Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, CA, and Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, MN. He returned to DeLaSalle as President in 1991 and was the longest tenured chief administrator in the school’s 112-year history.
At DeLaSalle, Bro. Michael spearheaded the school’s dramatic resurgence. With the support of his administrative team, enrollment has more than doubled. The school has raised more than $25 million from benefactors, and at least 96 percent of graduates annually moved on to college in the past decade. Bro. Michael had planned to retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
In addition to his many contributions at DeLaSalle, Bro. Michael played an important role in Catholic secondary education. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) from 1996-2004, serving as president of the secondary school department from 1996-2000 and as the board’s vice chair from 2001-2004. He received the NCEA’s 2007 Sister Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, Award for his leadership in promoting diversity in Catholic education.
Bro. Michael was the first president of the Lasallian Association of Secondary School Chief Administrators (LASSCA). He also served on many boards and councils over the years, including the Boards of Trustees for both Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Lewis University in Illinois. He served as chair of the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum, a consortium of all private and independent schools in the state. He also served two terms on the Council on Black Minnesotans, including as chair from 2008-2010.