Respecting tradition whilst updating the college to reflect changing societal expectations, Hugh Collins thoughtfully reshaped many aspects of college life during his 15 years as Master.

His balance of the new and old – the ‘Et Nova’ and the ‘Et Vetera’ of the college’s motto is suggested by his approach in the dining hall. He continued the century-old requirement that gowns be worn but said the traditional grace in English.

At the core of Hugh Collins’s tenure as Master was a deep care for students, who knew him as a personable leader with a genuine care for their wellbeing, as well as a formidable memory for their names. A skilled diplomat, he fostered a collaborative working relationship between staff and students.

The student population itself changed under Hugh Collins as he worked to make Ormond more diverse, founding scholarships and bursaries and reforming selection procedures to widen the range of students selected for college residence. In particular, he worked to increase the numbers of Indigenous, public school and international students in residence.

To ensure everyone could succeed at Ormond he installed greater pastoral care structures and reformed discipline as well as renewing and strengthening the academic programme.

Another key part of the student experience, catering, was revamped under his watch and he even instituted supper. Greater security and a new after-hours staffing system enhanced the support available to students.

The college’s buildings and grounds did not escape his notice: he oversaw renovations of a series of spaces, commissioned a master plan for the grounds and began the process which transformed the library into the Academic Centre that is now the hub of teaching and learning at Ormond.

Hugh Collins’s influence and leadership extended beyond the Ormond gates. As well as contributing to the association of University of Melbourne heads of colleges, he was president of the Association of Heads of Australian University Colleges.

Asked to reflect on his time at Ormond as he came to the end of his 15 years as Master, Hugh Collins paid tribute to his outstanding deputies, Phillippa Connelly, Dr Ann Hone, Professor Mal Smith, Jenny Holmes and Christine Rollinson, as well as the formidable series of talented Chairs of the OCSC that he worked with. He also reflected that

To lead a College is to enjoy the constant challenge of sustaining a community responsive to its members, mindful of its traditions and values, and attuned to society’s changing expectations.

Ormondians who experienced College under his leadership would agree that he achieved this with diplomacy and aplomb.

Share your Ormond story

Every Ormondian has their own unique experience of College life, and their own story to tell. What Ormond moment stands out in your memory? Whether on the sporting field or the stage, in the JCR, Dining Hall or on Picken Lawn, share your favourite story of life at Ormond College.