Alumni

Michael Collins Tributes

Dr. Collins was a kind and compassionate teacher. I eventually found myself teaching Clinical Chemistry at the collegiate level and tried to model my teaching style after his informal, approachable style. I saw him a few years ago at a Viterbo event (after he retired)and was glad that I had the opportunity to connect with this gentle man again. 

Diane Osterhaus Neefe '81
Former Student


Dr. Collins embodied was is great about Viterbo and about liberal arts colleges: the attention given to individual students. He was my academic advisor and one of my favorite professors at Viterbo. Whenever I had an advising meeting with Dr. Collins, I would joke to friends that I had to clear my schedule because I was going to go chat with Dr. Collins, and that could take 1-3 hours. He was always so generous with his time. When others might quickly suggest the obvious next classes to take, he would thoughtfully discuss my next steps and advise me in how I could reach my career goals. We would talk about life, too, and I appreciate that to this day. He truly cared about his students and the department, and this was obvious in his words and actions. It's sad he left us so soon. 

Margaret Elvekrog '04
Former Student


Mike came to Viterbo and took my place in the Chemistry Department when I became Academic Dean. What a wonderful addition he wa for Viterbo! Mike was a great teacher, good man and a caring person---someone I always enjoyed and appreciated. My heart goes out to Mary and his family.

Sr. Helen Elsbernd
FSPA
Colleague


Want to reach out to Mary to send my condolences. Seems like just yesterday that you and Mike began dating, and I remember so well how in love you both were! Mike was an amazing teacher, and had the ability to explain things to those of us more "scientifically challenged" so that we not only understood it, but could apply it in the greater world! He was an inspiration and motivation for me to continue my studies at Viterbo (as was Mary!) and they were a great team!

Dr. Monica Dixon '85
Former Student


As I remember my first years at VU, working with the a Title III Program & the the Department of Sceince and Letters, I fondly remember Prof. Collins. He was always real & authentic. There were no pretenses - he was who he was. A science geek - yes, but that is who he was and loved by all. Rest in peace Prof. Collins. Gone, but never forgotten especially by your VU family. Peace and all good to your loving family. 

Diane Haugen
Colleague


Mike Collins was leading the Natural Science Division when I was hired at Viterbo and his mentorship was important to my career. He challenged me frequently to always strive to improve the science program at Viterbo, regardless of the roadblocks faced. His commitment to students and the science program at Viterbo was evident in his planning of the new building, development of the biochemistry major, and advocating for funding and grant writing to improve instrumentation and undergraduate research. Mike was a role model to many- both students and faculty. For me, I learned from observing his ongoing commitment to his research throughout his career, balancing work demands with travels and time with family, and inserting humor in tough conversations to get people to smile and laugh. I am very fortunate that I was able to work with Mike for almost ten years. My sincere sympathy to his family.

Glena Temple
Colleague


Michael was a man of strong principles and a fine faculty member. He gave 100% to all he did, and Viterbo was blessed with his presence. I am very sorry that I will not be able to attend his farewell service. My support and prayers to family and friends. 

Sr. Rochelle Potaracke
FSPA


Was a very pleasant, humble and warm person 

Seymour Essor '09
Former Student


It is difficult. To sum up years of knowing someone, working with them everyday, giving each other advice like we were really going to take it! Sharing what we did over the weekend and what our families were up to. Mike took a great interest in how my sons were doing on their military deployments. After he had been out of the hospital for awhile, he went back one day and he said he finally understood PTSD. The sounds and smells hit him in a way he didn't think possible. Always the science guy, analyzing what was happening around him and to him. I miss the old days of our department meetings in the hallways of Murphy, with our coffee cups in hand (never flavored for you or Vaughn!) The two of you got me hooked on Andy Borowitz and made me subscribe so we could yuk it up together. We were already going over the highlights of Stewart and Colbert, loving the political ironies of life. You summed up so well how you always talked about Mary, the boys and eventually your grand kids. Your love for them was greater than your canoe trips, although often you succeeded in combining the two. Great memories and you have been and will continue to be missed.

Dorothy Lenard
Colleague


Dr. Collins was a tremendous teacher. He helped me understand chemistry in a way that was fun and meaningful. His lectures were filled with humor and wonderful bits of knowledge. I always looked forward to my classes with Mike. He had the demeanor of a seasoned stand-up comic and his timing was beautiful...he had the ability to breathe life into droll subject matter and make me marvel at the chemisty in our lives and its importance. I will always treasure my fond memories of Dr. Collins, may he rest in peace.

Jeff Iftekaruddin '97
Former Student


My deepest sympathies. A very kind gentleman who I surely remember with much gratitude for his patience in helping me understand the world of Chemistry, especially challenging when I could hardly speak a decent word in English some 38 years ago. My sincere condolences to his family.

Maria (Rodriguez) Keilman-Heublein '81
Former Student


It was with a sad heart that I read about the passing of Mike Collins. Mike, along with Sister Lavonne and Ron Amel, provided me a brilliant education in chemistry and sparked a life-long desire to do good science. I feel very fortunate to have been one of Mike's students.

Lisa (Foellmi) Adams '85
Former Student


I am very sad to learn of Professor Collin's death. He was an amazing teacher.I was an adult ,50yr old student in his Chemistry class and have to say,he was so helpful and understanding. I grew to learn and love a class that I was very nervous about taking.Thanks to him. My sympathy to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Michel McGettigan '92
Former Student


Although I never had a class with him...he was always so cool to strike up a conversation with as I carted lab equipment around (and at the dept fall chili / spring taco feeds) - awesome guy - he will be sorely missed. 

Keren Moaney '05
Former Student


Dear family, I remember well the contribution Dr. Collins made at Viterbo. We are grateful for his 33 years and his enthusiasm for his discipline and teaching. I remember most his pleasure at the completion of the new biology/chemistry ethics building. His face said that it was a dream come true. He will be remembered gratefully in prayer. 

Sr. Celesta Day
FSPA


May your gentle soul and kindness while you were in this valley of tears Now find a perfect place to rest in peace Thanks for sharing your knowledge 

Sr. Oresoa Selo-Ojeme '85
Former Student


Mike was a very tough teacher with a great sense of humor. Between Ron Amel, Mike, and Sr. Lavonne, the chemistry got pounded into my head. As a result I chose Chemistry as a major and I'm sure this helped me get into Medical School.

Dr. A. Carol (Wegerbauer) Hassan '78
Former Student


Mike was a class guy. His CASE professor of the year was a real highlight for him and Viterbo. Over the course of his 33 years here, he helped a number of students achieve their dreams of graduate school, or in their chosen fields. I loved his sense of humor. Read his Final Word column that is linked from this site. Many have commented it was one of the best we've ever published. Rest in Peace Mike.

Pat Kerrigan '05
Colleague


I remember as part of my Chemistry minor, I took a class with all seniors who had to defend their thesis. I didn't have one as I was not majoring in Chemistry. Instead, he suggested I demonstrate a few experiments including one where the reaction caused the solution to glow. He was very helpful to me in that class.

Kathleen Schwabenlender '89
Former Student


I attended Viterbo back in 1978-1982. Although I did not have Dr. Collins as a professor I do recall how well liked he was around campus. He had a great reputation as a professor and as a person. I do recall meeting him from time to time and he always had a smile and a hello. He certainly provided a great foundation for many students, touching the lives of even those of us that were not formally in his classes. My prayers and sympathy to family. and friends. 

Brenda Nash Reisdorph '82
Former Student


My memories of Mike are many, from courtyard carni to faculty meetings. He was always a respectful, thoughtful, fun, and brought much to any table he was sitting at! So sorry to lose him.

Bonnie Nesbitt
Colleague


Dr. Collins was a great teacher who inspired many. As I prepared for pharmacy school, Dr. Collins would challenge me in my thoughts and beliefs. He was an excellent mentor who will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and Viterbo.

Jenny Tilleman '98
Former Student


Dr. Collins always delighted our classes with colorful stories. I remember him telling us you could always tell a chemist because he washed his hands before going to the bathroom! He was a fantastic advisor and mentor.

Mandy Reinert Nash '96
Former Student


Mike was always a gentleman. He always listened to your ideas, comments, and complaints and would offer a different perspective f he thought it would help. I enjoyed working with Mike, always a teacher and most of all a friend. Mary, I offer my condolences at this very sad time. God bless.

Deb Siebenaler
Colleague


When I first arrived on the campus in 2005 Mike was one of the first people to introduce himself to me. I found him to be a very kind person one of the kindest, I've had the opportunity to meet.  

Jim Bagniewski
Colleague


Michael was always kind and friendly to me. I always had a twinkle in his eye and a friendly word. He was an asset to Viterbo for many years. I just thought he was a cool dude, to be honest. I am very sad to know he is no longer with us. I wish to express my well wishes to his family and that they get through this hard time with a degree of peace that will help them honor him and remember him in their own way as the days, weeks, and months pass.

Andy Moore
Colleague