Mary M. (Margaret) Collins ’78

Midwest Development Coordinator

President & CEO, MFM (Media Financial Management Association) and BCCA
Wilmette, Ill.

Major/Minor: English/American Studies

Why did you choose Hobart and William Smith Colleges? I wanted to go to a small private college in the East and I needed significant support because my family was unable to help me financially.  HWS provided exactly the environment I wanted, had a great English Department (I knew my major before I’d even applied to colleges) and had a great asset in Bob Freeman who was in charge of financial aid at the time. 

What activities were you involved in as a student?  I lived in Brent House; started a club that discussed women’s birth control options; acted in a number of plays; helped with make-up, costumes and stage production when I wasn’t acting; was one of the inaugural participants in the term abroad program (Fall in London, 1976), and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

How do you stay connected to the Colleges? When I graduated I took on the role of Class Agent.  After doing that for a number of years, I became a recruiting volunteer.  I helped with both our 25th and 35th reunions and am now our class correspondent. 

What makes the Colleges special? When I was a student, it was the focus on bi-disciplinary education and the real opportunity for women to be leaders in a co-ed educational environment.  Now it’s President Mark D. Gearan and the team he’s created to keep the Colleges vibrant in an ever-changing environment.

Why do you give back to HWS? Two reasons: because I appreciate the support the colleges gave me; support that allowed a young woman with no financial assets to get an outstanding college education; and  because I continue to believe in the school and its mission.

What are your goals as a Regional Network volunteer? I agreed to take on the position because I was invited to do it and will do my best to make this new program successful.

What advice would you give to an incoming or current HWS student? Take advantage of every opportunity you can.  College is a special time that allows you to spread your wings without fear of crashing.  Hobart and William Smith’s incredibly low professor to student ratio gives you access to people who can help you explore your questions and your dreams and will give you the tools you need for the future.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.