SUNY Geneseo Unveils Highway Sign in Memory of Savannah Williams

2 government representatives remove black drape from sign

Assemblymember Marjorie Byrnes and Senator Patrick M. Gallivan. (SUNY Geneseo/keith Walters '11)

On May 8, SUNY Geneseo, together with Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) and Assemblymember Marjorie Byrnes (R-C, Caledonia), hosted the unveiling of a highway sign in memory of 18-year-old first-year student Savannah Williams. Williams was killed in a car accident in December 2016 as she left campus to travel home to Norwich, NY, for the holiday season.

Members of Williams’s family who attended the event, included her parents, Mark and Shari, and brother, Alexander. The event was live streamed for family and friends who could not attend the unveiling. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last fall to designate a portion of State Route 63 in the Town of Geneseo as the Savannah Marie Williams Memorial Highway. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the stretch of roadway has undergone improvements in the last year, with a roundabout constructed to reduce congestion and enhance safety at the intersection.

Williams majored in biochemistry and aspired to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help find a cure for cancer. She was also a member of the SUNY Geneseo basketball team and was active in other school organizations. 

“While Ms. Williams was a student at SUNY Geneseo for just a few months, she quickly became an active member of the college community,” Gallivan said. “Designating a portion of the highway adjacent to the campus in her memory is not only appropriate, it serves as a lasting reminder of the positive impact she had on fellow students, teammates, faculty, and staff.”

highway signSenator Gallivan sponsored the highway designation bill in the senate and Assemblymember Byrnes sponsored it in the assembly.

“I’m glad I could help in advancing this legislation in the assembly,” Byrnes said. “I know that renaming this section of highway is very important not only to the family, but to our entire community.”

Senator Gallivan and Assemblymember Byrnes worked closely with SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles in crafting the legislation.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to both the New York State Senate and the Assembly for passing the Savannah Marie Williams Memorial Highway bill,” Battles said. “Savannah was a treasured member of our SUNY Geneseo community. The legislature’s support for designating a portion of the state highway system in her honor represents a lovely tribute, and is deeply meaningful to our college and greater community as I’m sure it is to Savannah’s family and all who knew her.”

The Geneseo women's basketball team has worked to honor their former teammate's legacy by raising funds for the Savannah Marie Williams Memorial Scholarship. To donate to the scholarship fund, contact head coach Alyssa Polosky. 



Kerri Howell
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer