Dr. Reneé Patricia Collins was born on October 14, 1950, in Harlem, New York to Reynold Morgan and Rovena Joe. She passed away peacefully on February 24, 2022, in Bellingham, Washington with her immediate family by her side. Reneé was a dedicated wife, devoted mother, teacher, mentor, friend, and community leader. Reneé leaves behind a beautiful legacy filled with love, laughter, and an infectious sense of joyfulness. She consistently carried herself with an exceptional sense of style, grace, class, and dignity.
She dedicated her life to helping others, building community, and made a positive impact on everyone she encountered along the way. Her passion for education stemmed from her upbringing and she obtained her personal educational goals by earning three degrees, including her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. Reneé retired from Western Washington University as Associate Dean of Students after more than 30 years of extraordinary service. Born with a fierce work ethic, she significantly changed the higher educational landscape to be more inclusive and supportive for students of color and other underrepresented groups through her work and community engagement. She founded the NAACP Northern Puget Sound Chapter and received the Community Builders Fellowship appointment by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, training at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in the process.
She served as a mentor to countless students and young professionals, investing her time in others to help them become their best self while giving back to her community whenever the opportunity presented itself. In her spare time Reneé loved to travel, dance, laugh, cook, read, volunteer, and spend quality time with friends and family. Everyone who interacted with Reneé knew her as an inspirational person with an incredibly beautiful soul. She was truly a beacon of light in the community. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Frederick Collins, her son Frederick Shariff Collins Jr., her daughter LaShawn Reneé Morgan, as well as many extended family members and an abundance of friends.
We were all blessed to have known her and she will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.