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A-T Fund Donor Spotlight: Travis Collins

Travis Collins’ family is from Northeast Georgia or, as he calls it, “Bulldog Nation.” That didn’t stop them from growing up huge fans of Georgia Tech athletics — particularly football.

Collins never questioned the family’s love for The White and Gold until after his father, Bob Collins, passed away in 2000.

“You get curious when you can’t talk to him anymore and it’s funny how that works,” said Collins, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1979 and has since founded a scholarship fund benefiting the Georgia Tech Athletic Association.

Collins’ father dropped out of school in the 10th grade, enlisted in the military and was part of a battalion that went to Korea in 1952. Collins believes this is when his family’s Yellow Jackets fandom was born.

“If you know Georgia Tech’s history, 1952 was their 12-0 undefeated championship year led by Bobby Dodd,” Collins said. “I’m sure he became a Georgia Tech fan then. He was about 17, 18 years old on that ship. He told me he bet on Georgia Tech and won a little bit of money off them.”

Collins was born in Athens, and both of his parents grew up in Northeast Georgia. When he was 5, they moved to the Atlanta area after his father landed his dream job working at Georgia Tech, despite not having a high school degree. He worked within the mechanical engineering school.

“He didn’t get a good education, but he was very smart,” Collins said of his dad. “And he valued education. He talked to us a lot about college. He was a tool and die maker, and he was proud of how hard he worked at that trade. He was well-respected.”

Once in Atlanta, Collins’ love for Georgia Tech only grew.

“Georgia Tech was the only college in the world,” he said. “That was the top. Harvard? What’s that? Stanford? Who ever heard of that? Georgia Tech was all we grew up knowing, and the fact that my dad worked there sealed it. I only applied for one college in 11th grade.”

He fondly remembers his father working on The Steam Engine in the Coon Mechanical Engineering Building.

“He fired it up,” Collins said. “The pistons and wheels started turning, and my 7-year-old eyes got so big. I thought, ‘This must be nirvana.’”

Though he and his younger brother, Stuart Collins, were huge Georgia Tech fans — Stuart was a particular die-hard of Jackets football — only he attended Georgia Tech. Collins graduated with a bachelor’s in industrial management and is now the CEO of Atlanta-based Incident IQ, an education service for K-12 students, teachers, and support teams.

“We’ve hired three Georgia Tech baseball players who’ve graduated in the last three years, and we have a former football player on the team,” Collins said.

In 2010, shortly after his younger brother passed away, Collins and his wife of more than 40 years, Rose Collins, honored him and his father by establishing the Bob Collins and Stuart Collins Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, given annually, supports the football program, Collins said.

“Georgia Tech football brings back a lot of happy memories,” Collins said. “There was always a sense that they’d play hard and compete. We, wrongly or rightly, thought we were tougher and smarter, and, in the face of long odds, we were going to try to win our share and maybe a little more.”

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