Catherine Fisher Collins is a distinguished educator, author and member of the New York State Board of Regents. She has dedicated much of her personal and professional life to promoting the twin issues of good health and a sound education, with a special emphasis on the needs of underserved youth/women and individuals in western New York. She is a forceful and passionate advocate in promoting the success of all students in New York State.
Dr. Collins’ educational background includes an undergraduate degree in nursing from Trocaire College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Technical Education from the State University College. Dr. Collins also earned a master’s degree in allied health education and curriculum development and a Doctoral degree in education administration from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Additionally, she graduated from SUNY Buffalo’s School of Nursing in the nurse practitioner’s program. Dr. Collins holds certifications in health occupations and junior college teaching.
At a joint session of the New York State Legislature on March 10, 2015, Dr. Collins was elected to the Board of Regents for a five-year term and reappointed in March 2020 for another five-year term. On the Board, Regent Collins represents the 8th Judicial District, which includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Dr. Collins is a respected author and editor of over thirteen published books, including Black Girls and Adolescents: Facing the Challenges, Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women (Race and Ethnicity in Psychology), The Imprisonment of African American Women: Causes, Experiences and Effects, and many others.
Dr. Collins has also held positions in health care and education administration, among them: school nurse, practical nursing instructor, director/instructor of a registered nursing program, executive director of the University at Buffalo’s Offices of Preparatory Programs, coordinator/instructor at the Educational Opportunity Center’s certified nursing assistant program, assistant academic dean for allied health education and directory ambulatory care, as well as in health planning. She also served for five years on the Buffalo Board of Education and held several Board positions, among them Vice President.
Dr. Collins has received over 70 awards and honors, including: the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame; SUNY Outstanding Faculty Fellow; honors from the governors of New Jersey (for outstanding service), New York (Attica Prison Health Initiative), Connecticut (community services) and Kentucky (International Community Services); the SUNY Empire State College 2014 Jane Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Services; and the Life Time Achievement Award from Jack and Jill of America, where she served as National Vice President. Dr. Collins is a State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, Trocaire College and Lafayette High School Distinguished Alumna. She is also a graduate of England’s Oxford University Women’s Roundtable. In 2015, she received the Arthur O. Eve award from the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators; that award is given to individuals who demonstrate a passion for assisting their communities in understanding and supporting both public and higher education. Her most recent awards include, Buffalo Business First Power 125 Women of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Utopian Euphoria Women of Excellence Award of 2017, the Minority Bar Foundation 2018 Education Award, Moderator Nov 2020 at Education: Past, Present and Future panel discussion for UB GSE Alumni Association, Keynote speaker at Canisius College, Buffalo NY for 2021 Annual Celebration Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 2021 GSE Distinguished Alumni Award for University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education, 2021 Honorary Doctorate from Niagara University and 2021 Honoree of City & State NY Above & Beyond Award.
Dr. Collins currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY and has served as an Associate Professor at SUNY Empire State College. Since 2011 she has hosted the Women’s Health Radio show that airs in the Buffalo, NY area. She is co-chair of the Board of Regents Higher Education Committee and also serves as the chair of the Buffalo Black Achievers Scholarship Committee. She is the proud mother of Dr. Clyde A. Collins, a gastroenterologist, and Mrs. Laura Harris, a former school administrator.