Morton Collins 1936-2021
Morton Collins, a resident of Princeton, NJ for six decades, died on Tuesday, December 14 at the age of 85 from a long illness. Morton was born in Somers Point, NJ on January 28, 1936 and raised in Linwood, NJ. Her parents were Emily (Swan) Collins and Morton Collins, Sr.
He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware, as well as an MA and PhD from Princeton University, also in Chemical Engineering. Later in his life, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Delaware in recognition of his many years of service and support in the University’s School of Engineering. Morton understood the power of education and how it changed the course of his life. He never forgot the educators who supported him on his way, including his fourth grade teacher. He devoted a great deal of his time and numerous resources to supporting and mentoring young people.
Morton had an insatiable curiosity and passion for adventure. He explored every corner of the world with his beloved wife Donna, but always returned to the east coast coastline he loved as a child. He started his first business there as a young teenager, raking clams and other delicacies to sell to great local restaurants. Orphaned at 11 and single from 16, Morton worked hard to create a strong and loving structure for his family; sharing not only the serious lessons he had learned in life, but also many happy and exciting escapades, and countless silly little moments with his children and grandchildren.
Morton received a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army through the ROTC program in Delaware and in 1963 was called up for active service. He led a special project team at the US Army Picatinny Arsenal and the National Security Agency (NSA), then trained to fly at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. He then flew more than 160 missions aboard the F-4 Phantom II over the South China Sea off the USS Enterprise. Throughout his life he remained an active private pilot of single and multi-engine airplanes, turbojets and even a bright red open-cockpit WACO biplane. He finally accumulated more than 7,000 flight hours.
In 1968 he founded Data Science Ventures (DSV), a pioneering venture capital firm that had offices in Princeton, NJ and Newport Beach, CA. DSV partnerships specializing in the early financing of high-tech companies in the fields of life sciences, electronic materials, communications and software. Former president, director and chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, Morton received the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction in 1989, the New York Venture Forum Award in 1990, and the Delaware Valley Venture Group Award in 1992.
Morton chaired President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and served as technology policy advisor to President George HW Bush. He served on the New Jersey Governor’s Commission on Science and Technology, the New Jersey Governor’s Superconductivity Roundtable, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Research Roundtable. He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In addition, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, a member of the Governing Board of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Princeton University, a member of the Board of direction of the Graduate School. at Princeton University, member of the System Biology Advisory Council of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, and member of the President’s Advisory Council of the University of Delaware.
Morton is survived by his wife Donna Collins of Princeton, NJ and his four children and their spouses: Kristy and David, Melissa and Mike, Quincey and Rob, and Tyler and Stephanie. He was also loved by 13 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Carole Shreve and their daughter Lisa, and his second wife Eva Karacsony.
A memorial service will be held in 2022. Details will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Princeton Area Community Foundation Inc, PO Box 825454, Philadelphia, PA 19182-5454. Please make checks payable to Princeton Area Community Fund with “Collins Fund” in the memo line. Donations can also be made online at: https://pacf.org/morton-and-donna-collins-fund/