Mary Catherine Collins O’Kelley Class of 1972
Mary Catherine Collins O’Kelley, 2012 Winner of The Alumnae Association’s Distinguished Service to Wesleyan Award

Mary Catherine Collins O’Kelley Class of 1972

“True, faithful, and loyal.” We learn these words early as Wesleyan students, but it is only after we leave Wesleyan that we understand the significance of their meaning. Occasionally one of our sisters manifests them perfectly. Mary Catherine Collins O’Kelley ’72 is one such sister.   

As an undergraduate, MC, as her Wesleyan sisters call her, was active as a Junior Marshal, a Junior Advisor, a class cheerleader, member of STUNT Committee, Veterropt staff, and Pi Delta Epsilon. This American Studies major was twice elected class representative to May Court and served for three years on Social Standards, including one year as vice-president.   

Since her days as a student, MC has used her vibrant personality, her quick wit, and her boundless energy to serve her alma mater in a myriad of ways. She became involved with the Atlanta Alumnae Club, hosting numerous events for alumnae, incoming freshmen, and prospective students. Recognizing her leadership abilities and her passion to serve, the Alumnae Board of Managers recruited her in 1984 as Member-at-Large for Nominations. In 1993, after serving as President of the Atlanta Club, MC began an unbroken tenure of service on the Board of Managers that continued through 2010 —18 years of leadership, including three years as President of the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association and six years as Alumna Trustee. She represented Wesleyan College as an inaugural delegate to Hollins University and served on the Presidential Search Committee that ultimately nominated current president Ruth Knox. Today she serves as President of the Society for the Twenty-First Century, Wesleyan’s Planned Giving Society, and almost never misses an Alumnae Weekend.   

Everyone who knows Mary Catherine understands the depth of her commitment to Wesleyan. She, of course, had a head start as a daughter of a Wesleyan graduate, Frances Oehmig Collins, Class of 1947, and she has passed this legacy on to her daughter, Catherine O’Kelley Fore, Class of 2002. These three generations of Wesleyan women celebrate many alumnae events together, including reunion weekends. In addition, MC’s father, Preston M. Collins, served as a trustee of the College for many years.   

Delta Airlines is another recipient of MC’s energy and loyalty. Having recently celebrated her 40th anniversary with the company, she now serves in the On-Board Leadership Program and is a member of Delta Clipped Wings, a charitable organization for active and retired flight attendants. She and her husband, Ed, are members of Snellville United Methodist Church where MC is active in hospitality ministries and she continues as a sustaining member of the Atlanta Junior League. They have two children, Catherine and Will, and one grandchild, Mary Corinne.