For Immediate Release — June 7, 2004


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516


GENESEO, N.Y. — The State University of New York at Geneseo officially named its Alumni Center after Irma Hamer Collins of Pittsford during a ceremony May 27.

The Irma Hamer Collins ’42 Alumni Center at McClellan House honors Collins, a prominent businesswoman, alumni leader and generous college benefactor. Collins recently established a significant endowment fund with the Geneseo Foundation to support alumni programming and alumni center facility operations.

More than 70 people attended a luncheon in Collins’ honor at The Big Tree Inn in Geneseo, which preceded the dedication ceremony at the McClellan House at 26 Main Street in Geneseo.

Collins was a pioneer in the banking industry, serving as assistant vice president and director of women’s financial management at the Security Trust Company in Rochester until she retired in 1976. In 1965, she became the first woman elected to the board of directors of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

"You have been a wonderful role model for women like me in terms of having the strength and self-confidence for making a career an important thing in our lives," Debbie Hill, executive director of alumni and parent relations for the college, told Collins and the crowd during the ceremony.

"It comes as a total surprise — total in any way — that anyone would use my name to name a building on a college campus today," Collins told the audience, which included Collins’ friends and family, as well as representatives from various college organizations and departments.

Collins said it was a "perfect, wonderful, marvelous day" and reminded the audience to help SUNY Geneseo and other colleges and universities.

"Let us be there when our colleges and universities need us," she said. "It’s almost beyond people’s resources to educate two or three young people today. We must help the young people. We must be there when they need us."

The Alumni Center, which houses the Alumni and Parent Relations staff, is located on the second floor of the restored McClellan House, which opened as a college facility in 2001 following a major fund-raising effort. The first floor houses the Lockhart Gallery, which exhibits art by area artists and from the college’s growing art collection.

Collins, who served as president of the Class of 1942, has provided the college with outstanding volunteer service, including serving as a member of the Geneseo Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1984 to 1996. She is one of a select number of alumni to have been inducted into the association’s Society of Old Main, in recognition of her lifelong service. She was named to the SUNY Alumni Honor Roll in 1999 and received the Geneseo Foundation’s Meritorious Service Award in 2002. In addition, through her generosity to the college, she achieved membership in both the MacVittie Society and the Geneseo Circle, a select group of the college’s most generous donors.

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