Couple donates $2.5M to N.C. State

Posted September 17, 2009 11:16 a.m. EDT

— A Raleigh couple has agreed to donate about $2.5 million from their estate to North Carolina State University to fund a professorship, scholarships and the J.C. Raulston Arboretum.

The planned gift from Keith and Margaret Collins, both N.C. State alumni, will establish endowments in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The gift will create the Collins Distinguished Professorship in Computer Science to attract a noted researchers to study ways to use data management and high-performance computing in developing large-scale business analytic solutions. Officials said it is the largest planned gift in the history of the computer science department.

The donation also establishes the Collins Leadership and Computational Excellence Scholarship in Computer Science, which will be awarded to top students who have demonstrated strong aptitude and interest in research and mathematics. The Collins Computer Science Discretionary Fund will give the department head additional resources to recruit students and faculty, provide support for student organizations, support lecture series and make faculty awards.

College of Engineering Dean Louis A. Martin-Vega said in a statement that the donation is a "comprehensive and visionary gift" that will help the computer science department with its "high-priority objectives of recruiting and retaining top faculty and educating bright students."

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Margaret “Margie” P. Collins Fund already provides annual support for the CALS Ambassadors student leadership program and two undergraduate student leaders scholarships.

Over time, the donation will establish several named endowments to benefit the college: the Margie Collins Endowment for the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, the Margie Collins Endowment for the CALS Ambassadors and the Margie Collins Scholarship Endowment for CALS, which will fund a number of leadership and merit-based scholarships.

"Margie and Keith are a true inspiration to us all,” College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Johnny Wynne said in a statement. "Not only are the Collinses creating opportunities for students who might not otherwise be able to pay for a college education, they are creating an important and lasting legacy that will benefit the college and the university in perpetuity.”

Keith Collins earned a degree in computer science from N.C. State and is now senior vice president and chief technology officer at Cary-based SAS Institute. Margie Collins earned a degree in horticultural science from N.C. State and worked at a local nursery and as an accountant.