BANGOR, Maine — Richard “Dick” Collins, a major benefactor of the University of Maine, passed away on Monday, Jeff Mills, president of the University of Maine Foundation, confirmed. He was 77 years old.
Collins and his wife, Anne Collins, both UMaine graduates, donated $6 million to the university in 2007, one of the largest gifts in the school’s history.
The largest portion of the gift — $5 million — went toward renovations of what was then the Maine Center for the Arts. The venue, which is on UMaine’s campus, was renamed the Richard R. and Anne M. Collins Center for the Arts in honor of the building’s benefactors.
The other $1 million went toward renovating the Memorial Gym at UMaine.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of the University of Maine’s most dedicated alumni volunteers and benefactors,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “Dick and his wife, Anne, worked tirelessly to make their alma mater the pride of the state of Maine and beyond.”
Former Gov. John Baldacci said Tuesday that Collins “always committed to the University of Maine and the betterment of the University of Maine.”
“He put time and resources into the university to make the university better,” added Baldacci, who worked with Collins on the Memorial Gym project.
Mills said in addition to the donation to the performing arts center, Collins gave a major gift in support of the Buchanan Alumni House and sponsored scholarships for students from Wisdom High School in St. Agatha who attend UMaine.
Collins, who lived in Northport, was chairman of the University of Maine Foundation and served on the university’s board of visitors and the president’s development council.
Collins, who grew up in St. Agatha, graduated from UMaine in 1959 and worked in the insurance industry, according to UMaine materials. He served as president and CEO of American Life Insurance Co. from 1980 until he retired in 1992.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Grove Cemetery in Belfast. Visiting hours are from 4-7 p.m. Friday at the Riposta Funeral Home.