First Citizen Story

Telegraph Herald to Bestow Collins as First Citizen

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Son. Father. Friend. Colleague. Leader. Citizen. These are just a few of the words that can be used to describe Jim Collins, this year’s Telegraph Herald First Citizen.

What started as a decision for higher education nearly 40 years ago has transpired into a life of servant leadership and selfless service to others in more roles than one can count. To many, Collins is known as the President of Loras College, but at his core, he is the epitome of a leader in the Dubuque community.

The son of James and Mary Collins, Jim Collins was raised in a household of six, with five other brothers and sisters. Like four of his siblings, Collins followed the family trail and chose Loras to continue his Catholic education. It didn’t take long for him to rise to the top as he quickly became noticed as a prominent individual on campus. His work with Holy Family Catholic Schools, the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation and the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, to name a few, he helped to build on the foundation that he had received from his parents and his Catholic education at Loras College.

With his bachelor’s degree in hand, Collins was prepared to enter the working world at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, that is until he was approached with an offer to become an admissions representative at his alma mater. Little did he know that this acceptance would be the start of a 34-plus year tenure that transitioned from a role in the admissions office to director of alumni and college relations to the vice president for institutional advancement before being named the College’s President in June of 2004.

As this year’s First Citizen, Collins joins the likeness of 16 former Loras College graduates who have the distinction and honor of the same award. Beginning in 1970, Collins’ selection is the 49th in the history of the award.

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Collins will be greeted at the Diamond Jo Casino Harbor Room beginning at 5 p.m. The evening program commences at 6 p.m. and will be live streamed on for those unable to attend.