Susan Margaret Collins (born December 7, 1952) is the junior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Collins and her fellow Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, are regarded as leading moderates within the Republican Party.
One of six children, Susan Collins was born in Caribou, Maine, where her family have operated a lumber business since 1844. Her parents, Donald and Patricia, each served as mayor of Caribou; her father also served in both houses of the Maine Legislature. Her uncle, Samuel W. Collins, Jr., sat on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 1988 to 1994. She attended Caribou High School, where she was president of the student council. During her senior year of high school in 1971, Collins was chosen to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program, through which she visited Washington, D.C. for the first time and engaged in a two-hour conversation with U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME). Collins is the first program delegate elected to the Senate and currently holds the seat once held by Smith.
After graduating from Caribou High School, she continued her education at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Like her father before her, she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa national academic honor society. She graduated from St. Lawrence magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in government in 1975.