Michael T. Collins, the founding director of Perkins International and former supervisor of the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind, will be inducted this fall into the American Printing House (APH) for the Blind’s Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field.
Collins worked at Perkins for 30 years, during which time Perkins International grew from serving a few hundred students around the world to more than 10,000 children annually in more than 60 countries. He died in 2008 after a battle with lung cancer and is remembered as a passionate advocate for children who are deafblind around the globe.
Born in Boston and a resident of Medway, Massachusetts, Collins started his career in special education as a teacher and consultant. He went on to lead Perkins’ Deafblind Program for a decade before becoming founding director of the Hilton/Perkins International Program, a position he held for 16 years.
Collins will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 along with Dr. Newel Perry, who is considered to be the father of the modern civil rights movement of the blind. Their selection to the Hall of Fame was announced in May.
Collins will posthumously join the prestigious ranks of Perkins School for the Blind’s first director, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Perkins student Helen Keller, who are among the 52 members already enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Louisville, Kentucky.
"There could be no better deserving individual to take his place alongside the greats of our field such as Samuel Gridley Howe and Helen Keller," said Perkins International Director Dr. W. Aubrey Webson. "Mike was the most outstanding and yet humble leader and individual of our time. He will always be remembered for his work. Those of us who had the honor to meet him remember the power of his presence. Mike’s respect for humanity and his spirit of caring always shined through."
A married father of three, Collins was also a member of Deafblind International, where he served as president and vice president, the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), the National Coalition on Deafblindness, which he founded, and the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.