Posted: March 19, 2008

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Sue Collins was appointed today as president of the Northeast Higher Education District, a consortium of five colleges in northeast Minnesota, by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.

Collins, 52, has been vice president of the Northeast Higher Education District since 2006. Before becoming vice president for the district, Collins was provost for Vermilion Community College in Ely; dean of students and administration, director of student development, coordinator of student services, a faculty member and athletic director at Rainy River Community College in International Falls; instructor and supervisor of student teachers and a coach at North Dakota State University Fargo.

"We are proud that we had such talent already in our system," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "Dr. Collins' many years of experience on the Iron Range will serve us well. This region faces an immense challenge and calls for someone with her understanding of the issues and strong leadership qualities."

Collins holds a doctorate in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota, a master's degree in education from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a bachelor's degree in education from Western Illinois University and an associate degree from Danville Area Community College in Illinois.

Board of Trustees Chair David Olson said, "I believe Dr. Collins will continue the district's tradition of working closely with local businesses and industries to strengthen the economic vitality of this region."

On accepting the appointment, Collins said: "I fully embrace the responsibility of this position and vow to commit my energy and my heart and soul to leading our five colleges in a new phase of innovation, collaboration and accountability. I will be celebrating the rich community connections that we have leveraged over the years."

The search committee was chaired by Kevin Kopischke, president of Alexandria Technical College.

Collins' appointment becomes effective July 1. She will replace Joseph Sertich, who is retiring. The Northeast Higher Education District, which is made up of Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Eveleth and Virginia, Rainy River Community College and Vermilion Community College, serves more than 7,000 students in credit courses annually and provides a variety of educational programs and delivery options.