Congratulations to Don Collins on his retirement from the University of Chicago Press!
I don't even know how many years Don has been involved in University Press Publishing, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was more than 40 years. I do know that since 1986, Don has been at the University of Chicago Press.
Given the direction to 'make it work or shut it down', Don is best known for taking the university's distribution center (CDC) from a single client to 102 distribution clients today. However, I dare say that everyone in university press publishing has an opinion about Don. To call him a lightning rod is a vast understatement. Some think he's a blow hard, others a visionary. Well known for his long monologues on how to handle thorny issues, Don's persona is much larger than his stature.
But, as my wife would say, Don is a campfire marshmallow. Crusty on the outside, gooey on the inside.
Few know or understand how loyally devoted Don is to those close to him, and vice-versa. This past Wednesday evening, the warehouse at CDC was transformed to a party room as Don was feted by close to 100 colleagues and friends. Current, and past colleagues from the press as well as a handful of friends from over the years came to celebrate Don's illustrious career and to wish him well in the next chapter of his life. [In the picture above, Don is giving his 'thank you speech' at the party.]
This is truly the end of an era in university press publishing. I can't imagine it will ever be the same without Don. I hope you will join me in wishing my friend nothing but the best going forward!