Donald (Don) E. Collins was born to Mary and Cleo Collins. A graduate of Meade County High School, he launched his career as a reporter and editor at Western Kentucky University as a member of the College Heights Herald staff. Don credited the experience he received with the Herald as the place he “learned to be a journalist.” Mr. Collins had a 30-year journalism career that took him from the College Heights Herald to USA TODAY, now the nation’s largest-circulation daily paper. Collins was a member of the founding staff of USA TODAY and spent nearly a quarter-century with them until his retirement in 2007.
Mr. Collins’ life began in rural Kentucky and reached to Mississippi, Arkansas, and ultimately the area of the nation’s capital, where USA TODAY is headquartered. Mr. Collins’ interests included college basketball’s Kentucky Wildcats, which he adopted at an early age; Western Kentucky, where he earned a Journalism degree in 1976; baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, whom he cheered through eight National League pennants and four World Series championships; his wife of more than 18 years, Cheryl; softball, of which he was an avid player; and, particularly in later years, the Southview Baptist Church in Herndon, VA, where he served as the chairman of deacons and assistant to the pastor.
After a successful career, Mr. Collins died at the age of 55 on June 13, 2010, after a long battle with cancer. To honor his memory, family and friends established the Don Collins Journalism Scholarship Fund in 2010. Through this fund, the legacy of Mr. Collins and the significant contributions to the field of Journalism he made throughout his lifetime are remembered and honored as other students are able to pursue their passion for journalism.