Remembering Denis Collins
Madison, Wis. (March 2, 2021) – (The following email was shared with Faculty and Staff on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.)
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Denis Collins on Thursday, February 25, 2021, surrounded by his family. Denis was named Professor Emeritus after his retirement in May 2020, having served as a long-term member of the faculty of the School of Business at Edgewood College. Denis is survived by his wife Dianne and children Seth and Anna. He will be forever remembered by the hundreds of students and colleagues who have benefitted from his work and friendship during his successful career as an academic, author, and noted ethicist.
At Edgewood College, Denis was a member of many committees and was always a strong voice amongst the faculty. He made important contributions to the field of business ethics, authoring several books which are considered core texts in the field. He was a voice of reason in the School of Business and served as a source of constant support and mentorship to those who led the School from its inception until his retirement. Denis was the recipient of many awards for his service, teaching, and mentorship during his time at Edgewood College and UW-Madison.
During our Heritage Celebration in 2011, Denis received the Mazzuchelli Medallion in recognition of “his unflagging dedication to building a just and compassionate world as widely evidenced through his passionate devotion to writing, teaching and awakening young minds. …Denis also exhibited great leadership in building our community’s capacity around sustainability initiatives, exemplifying the connections between learning, beliefs and action. With Denis as co-chair, the Campus Sustainability Coordinating Team helped to advance Edgewood College’s achievements in ecological, social and economic resilience. He engages his students in valuable opportunities for seeking truth, engaging the community, building partnerships and demonstrating justice and compassion.”
We wish to thank Denis not only for his service to our students and to Edgewood College, but for giving of his time and emotional support to the College and greater Madison communities. His calming presence and ability to view situations from ethical and moral perspectives will be greatly missed. Denis will also be missed for his willingness to speak honestly without regard for consequence and his passion for advocating for those deprived of opportunities to advocate for themselves.
Events to celebrate Denis’s life—including a service in St. Joseph Chapel, will be planned post-pandemic, per his own request. The Division of Business, Communications and Innovation is collecting funds to place a memorial bench on campus to be unveiled during the memorial service.
As Denis would often end conversations, letters and emails: NAMASTE! (The Light in me recognized the Light in you.)
-John K. Leonard, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Religious Studies
Interim Vice President for Mission, Values and Inclusion