James Mitchell Collins (1916-1989)


The Collins Center is dedicated to the memory and achievements of James Mitchell Collins – business leader, public servant, family man, and exemplary alumnus of Southern Methodist University. He was a man of deep moral and religious convictions who committed his life to giving back to his community.

Congressman Collins earned a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from SMU in 1937, followed by MBA degrees from both Northwestern and Harvard. He served as vice president of the SMU student body, president of the SMU Alumni Association, and member of the SMU Board of Trustees. He also lectured at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business, where an endowed chair in finance is named in his honor. In 1971, he received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

In World War II, Congressman Collins held the rank of Captain in General George Patton’s Third Army, earning four battle stars, the Medal of Metz, and the Purple Heart. Returning to Dallas after the war, he became a leader in business and civic life. As president of Fidelity Union Life, he expanded the company nationwide. He also built successful businesses in real estate, oil and gas, electronics and telecommunications, textiles, and ranching. He was active in the Dallas Citizens Council and the Greater Dallas Planning Council, and served as president of the Dallas Council of World Affairs and director of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Congressman Collins served in the U.S. House of Representatives for eight terms. He was the ranking minority member of the Commerce Committee and was recognized by the National Association of Businessmen and the National Taxpayer’s Union with their top awards. While in Congress, he initiated the enabling legislation that created the Trinity River Park in Dallas.

After his service in Congress, Congressman Collins dedicated his energy to the community, business endeavors, philanthropy, and his family. He gave his time and resources generously to many charitable projects, which focused primarily on health, education, and the needs of children.

Congressman Collins was a loving husband to his wife, Dee; a devoted father to their children, Michael James Collins, Dorothy Collins Weaver, and Nancy Collins Fisher; and a proud grandfather of nine grandchildren. To his family and his community, he left a legacy of service to others.