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Collin College Foundation Announces 2008 “Living Legends”

Oct. 14, 2008 – Marilyn Brooks and Rutledge Haggard, both of Plano, Mary Nelle Cummins of McKinney and Donald Dillard, whose contributions have impacted Collin County, will be recognized as the Collin College Foundation’s 2008 Living Legends during a ceremony and dinner starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Collin College’s Spring Creek Campus conference center in Plano.

Each recipient at the event – themed “Jewels of our Community, Treasures to Honor” – will be honored for their contributions to Collin County and for exemplifying the college’s core values – Learning, Service and Involvement, Creativity and Innovation, Academic Excellence, Dignity and Respect, and Integrity.

In its sixth year, the event supports the Living Legends Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for deserving Collin College students.

“Our community has extraordinary individuals who touch lives of many people by giving of themselves or getting involved with organizations that help others,” Ron Johnson, Collin College Foundation board chair, said. “The 2008 Living Legend honorees represent several different facets of making a difference."

Marilyn Brooks

Marilyn Brooks’ nomination was highlighted by her time that she has given to the leadership of numerous community organizations including Plano Child Guidance, Heritage Farmstead and Collin County Children's Advocacy-Center. Her impact has been far-reaching, and her legendary gifts to the Plano community and its children live on today. Beyond her community service, Brooks helped formulate Plano Independent School District’s motto – “Teamwork for Excellence” – and serves as one of its foremost models. Her professional roles to inspire students included everything from teacher to associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She also served as a mentor, leader and trainer to other educational professionals in this nationally-renowned school district. As well, she was the inspiration and creator of the integrated curriculum design that is marketed to other educational entities. She provided major contributions to several programs within PISD and demonstrated throughout the district’s fast growth that nothing is impossible if everyone works together.

Rutledge Haggard

The Haggard family arrived in Plano in 1856 and for five generations they have positively impacted Collin County through their strong commitment to giving back to the community in which they live.  Rutledge Haggard has taken those family values and quietly made a difference in the lives of young people and adults alike by giving of his time and resources.  He served on the Plano School Board for 18 years and has been a vital member of the Plano Education Foundation, fostering the vision of the schools and teachers.  Haggard serves on the LegacyTexas Bank Board of Directors and the Dallas/Plano Presbyterian Hospitals Board.  In 1991, he spearheaded the Hendrick Academy of Honor to honor Dr. H. Wayne Hendrick, retired superintendent of Plano ISD.  The Academy assists high-risk, but academically talented children complete their college education.  Haggard is regarded as a positive role model with the highest degree of integrity; admired for his quiet, humble and modest manner; recognized for his ability to inspire trust among others; and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of individuals by making a positive impact on our community.

Mary Nell Cummins

Mary Nelle Cummins has three passions in life: family, church and volunteering. As a teenager she spent many hours at the hospital where her father was the administrator, playing with sick babies and children. She volunteered for her children’s schools, PTA and Scouts. In 1986, she started volunteering at Avenues Counseling Center (formerly McKinney Counsel for Chemical Awareness).  She was on the board for nine years and served as president for two years. Cummins wrote a grant for establishing the New Focus Program and directed a program for “at risk” 5th – 12th grade youth.  She also drove for Meals-on-Wheels for 22 years. In 1999, Cummins discovered her life’s purposein a dream.  After overcoming numerous challenges during the next five years, she finally saw that dream realized when the Children and Community Health Center of McKinney opened its doors in August 2004. Today, the clinic serves hundreds of community residents who might not otherwise receive critically needed healthcare services.

Don Dillard

Representing the Hill and Hunt families and their real estate interests in Collin County has been a labor of love for Don Dillard, who has had a profound impact on the business and social fabric of the community. Dillard provided the leadership needed to accomplish so much that has benefited Collin County, including the Palisades Central Office Park; naming of Telecom Corridor; creation of North Texas Tollway Authority; and the opening of the interchange at Hwy. 121 and President George Bush Turnpike. He was a key partner in the public/private team that envisioned and executed the Galatyn Park Urban Center and he helped arrange the land donations for the Eisemann Center. Dillardhas been an active leader in the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, is a past-president of the Plano Developers Council and is a member of the PlanoEconomic Development Board. He is a member of the Richardson Civic Art Society, Southwest Watercolor Society of Dallas and Art and Design Committee of DART. Dillard also serves on the Texas Motor Speedway Childrens’ Charities Board. It is hard to imagine what Collin County would look like today without the mark of this quietly dedicated champion.

“These four individuals have enriched Collin County in so many ways. Their collective gifts of leadership, enthusiasm and passion for making a difference is evidenced by their stellar contributions,” Collin College President Cary Israel said. “We are honored that they are part of our community, and we thank them for their outstanding service and advocacy.”

Individual tickets to the Living Legends ceremony and event, in which the community is invited to participate, can be purchased for $60 each or $450 for a table of eight.

Additionally, sponsorships are available to support the Living Legends Scholarship Fund through a special contribution as Ruby Patron Sponsors at $10,000, Sapphire Humanitarian sponsors at $5,000 or Emerald Mentor Sponsors at $2,500.

For more information about the Living Legends event or sponsorship, call Mary Frazier,   executive director for Collin College Foundation, at 972.599.3143 or view the Living Legends Web site at

Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.