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Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:44am

Theo Collins, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve veteran and 2009 graduate of JCC, will deliver the 2017 commencement address at JCC's Cattaraugus County Campus on May 19 and at the Jamestown Campus on May 20.

The Cattaraugus County Campus ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Olean YMCA/JCC Physical Education Center on Wayne St. in Olean. The commencement program in Jamestown begins at 10 a.m. in the Physical Education Complex.

Collins, who graduated from JCC with an associate’s degree in criminal justice, earned a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Fredonia and a juris doctor degree at Duquesne University School of Law. He is an attorney with Spilman Thomas & Battle in Pittsburgh, focusing on corporate litigation, real estate, commercial loan finance, and business planning.

Collins was also the executive producer of the feature length documentary film, Project 22. The film seeks to raise awareness of the veteran suicide epidemic and to inspire hope in veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

He served as a member of the board of directors of Medicinal Missions during the production and post-production of Project 22. Collins is involved in the young veteran community and veteran non-profit sector.

Collins was a clerk to the Hon. Joseph Gerace in the New York State Supreme Court’s Jamestown and Mayville chambers from 2009 to 2012 and served as a Law Fellow at the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania in 2014. 

Collins will be joined by David Leathers ‘83 in receiving the JCC Distinguished Alumnus Award during the Jamestown Campus ceremony.

Since 1980, the JCC Alumni Association has presented accomplished alumni with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the association’s highest honor. The award honors those who have typified the college’s tradition of excellence and brought credit to the college through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

“We are thrilled to honor Mr. Collins and Mr. Leathers with this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards,” said Cheri Foti, resident of the JCC Alumni Association. “These alumni have had a tremendous impact, both in their career fields and communities.”

Leathers is the general manager at the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. He is the former general manager of Valeo, Inc. in Jamestown. Leathers also worked as a product assurance engineer for the Naval Underwater Systems Center in Newport, RI where he was responsible for production testing, failure analysis, and design-related projects for the MK 48 Torpedo Warhead Program.

Leathers returned to the Jamestown area in 1989 as an employee of Cummins Engine Company, where he held several leadership positions.

After earning his associate’s degree at JCC, Leathers earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Buffalo and a master’s degree at the General Motors Institute.

Leathers is a graduate of the Chautauqua Leadership Network and is a former board member of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, the YMCA, and Holy Family Catholic School. He served for many years as an assistant coach for the Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association Lakers and the Jamestown High School varsity hockey team.

Leathers is co-president of the board of directors of the Jamestown Center City Development Corporation and the Northwest Arena. He and his wife Shelly reside in Jamestown and have a grown son and daughter, Eric and Alyssa.

“These extraordinary individuals embody JCC’s vision of academic excellence, collaborative spirit, innovative leadership, and entrepreneurial mindset,” said JCC alumni relations director Amanda Gesing. “We are proud to present the 2017 awards to Mr. Collins and Mr. Leathers, both extraordinary role models for individuals aspiring to achieve their dreams.”

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