Huntington, Ind.— Huntington College recently named Colonel (ret) Perry Collins as Director of the EXCEL Program, a position that became vacant at the end of March. Collins moves into this role after working as a field representative in the College’s Office of Advancement.
Collins brings firsthand experience with EXCEL into the position. He was a member of the first graduating class in 1996.
"It was a great experience for me," he said. "As a result of that degree, it made me so enthusiastic about education that I got my master's degree, then was promoted to colonel and stayed in the military longer than I thought I would."
Collins served in the military 39 years and retired as a colonel from the Air National Guard.
Now as the program's leader, he would like to see EXCEL expand in Huntington and the surrounding area.
"I want to make sure businesses and manufacturing companies are aware of what we offer, why we're a good program and the benefits they will receive," he said.
Though Collins would like expansion, he doesn't envision an extremely large school for adults. Instead, he wants to focus on meeting the needs of the community, including the possibility of adding programs.
EXCEL currently offers the Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in organizational management. The program allows students to finish the degree in an accelerated format.
"EXCEL offers the same [classroom] rigor as traditional students," Collins said. "It's not an easy way out."
To achieve the Bachelor's degree, students complete a business research project, which Collins used to make a difference in his nearby hometown of Roanoke, Ind. He researched the environmental problems with an old factory in the town and was able to get citizens involved in the project. In the end, the factory was torn down and the site was cleaned up.
In addition to serving the College, Collins is the chair of the military affairs committee for the Ft. Wayne Chamber of Commerce. Upon retirement from the Air Force, former governor Frank O'Bannon named Collins a Sagamore of the Wabash, which is the highest honor given by the Indiana governor. Collins also received the Legion of Merit for service to the country.
Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. Following a decade of growth and development, Huntington College will become Huntington University in mid-2005. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the top comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. Huntington is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and was named one of the 50 best Christian places to work by Christianity Today magazine.