Dr. Thomas Asa Collins, Sr. - 1987 A Award Recipient
Bio from 1987:
This servant of the Lord, born in the Deep South, has demonstrated the Asbury spirit in serving his church well. He, and later his brother, came to the village of Wilmore in response to God’s call to the ministry. Those college years, described in the Asburian as a “veritable genius at remembering facts,” were a foretaste of an illustrious career as a “man of the cloth.”
With great zeal and commitment to the Gospel, Dr. Collins was known throughout North Carolina as a builder. First a builder of disciples—215 revivals and more than 80 seminars on the spiritual life. Within a span of twenty-one years, his pastoral ministry has brought abundant fruit totaling more than 2,400 members. Ranked first in the North Carolina Conference with financial support to missions and church growth, the Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist churches in America.
Known as a builder, the bishop called upon Dr. Collins to organize a college. With 200 acres and a dream, he presided over the construction of a ten million dollar campus with 14 colonial buildings, the development of a faculty of 48, and the recruitment of a student body of 700. North Carolina Wesleyan College won full accreditation at the earliest possible date from the South Association of Colleges. During his tenure as president, he served as a member of the University Senate of the Methodist Church. Sixteen years of brilliant leadership demonstrated he was a capable educator and builder of great minds.
Dr. Thomas Collins was also a builder of new churches. In the 1950’s, before experts had discussed or theorized about church growth, Dr. Collins had quietly put into practice the principles of church growth. For six years as executive as executive director for Church Extension in the North Carolina Conference, 72 new Methodist churches were established and four million dollars raised.
Much later, when most men would think of retirement after such an agenda, Dr. Collins responded again the call of Methodism to build new churches and to build up the body of Christ. In 1986, he became assistant to the bishop for church extension with a zeal and faith equal to his past illustrious career.
Pastor, educator, evangelist…with one purpose—to build up the body of Christ.
While loyal to Methodism’s great institutions in North Carolina, Dr. Collins never lost his love for his alma mater. Across the years he has directed numerous students to Asbury College, often with financial assistance. Two of his own children attended Asbury.