Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 1, Page 10
Elliot Collins-Passaic County Community College

     When Elliott Collins became interim president and then president
in 1991 of Passaic County Community College (PCCC), his charge was to
turn the college around. Several years of fiscal mismanagement had
left the college with a $1 million deficit, and its accreditation also
was in jeopardy.
     Today, the school is accredited, and one sign of Collins' success
is that the college is $4 million in the black and returning $1
million to Passaic County-an almost unprecedented event.
     A 1992 article in The Paterson Independent News said Collins "has
indeed moved rapidly and decisively to identify and correct the
weaknesses that existed when he took over the reins of
leadership...behind his quiet, unassuming demeanor is a man who knows
exactly what his goals are for PCCC, by what means he plans to
accomplish them and the criteria he will use to measure results."
     The college awards associate degrees in such areas as liberal
arts, nursing, respiratory therapy, criminal justice, early childhood
development and office technology, among others. An inner-city college
in Paterson, N.J., not far from New York City, PCCC is filled to
capacity with 4,000 students. Plans are under way for a new campus to
serve suburban students. The student body is approximately 45 percent
Hispanic, 24 percent white and 24 percent African-American, with the
rest from other cultural backgrounds.
     A graduate of Wilmington High School, Collins attended Delaware
State University before transferring to the University of Delaware. As
an undergraduate, he lived on campus and was a resident adviser in
Gilbert Residence Hall Complex. A history major, Collins calls John
Munroe, H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus of History, and Prof.
Raymond Wolters, adviser on his senior thesis, his mentors.
     "The University of Delaware was rigorous academically. I learned
to think critically and objectively, to reason and to analyze
situations. I also learned writing skills, and these are things I use
every day in my job, interacting with the students, staff, the public
and state and education officials," Collins says.
      Meanwhile, Collins remains a student himself. With a master's
degree in public administration from New York University and a
master's degree in political science from Drew University, he is
working on his doctorate in American studies at New York University.
He has passed his orals and is now deciding on a dissertation topic.
     Running a college and pursuing an advanced degree are both full-
time occupations, but "occasionally I get a little sleep," Collins