Senate to honor Elmira native Eileen Collins

As part of its annual March recognition of Women’s History Month, the New York State Senate is unveiling an exhibit today in the Legislative Office Building in Albany honoring “Women of Distinction” throughout New York’s history in the arts, science, government, military, labor, education, and social reform.State Senator Tom O’Mara said that the Senate exhibit features a tribute to the career and life of astronaut and Elmira native Eileen M. Collins. The Senate first included Collins in its historical exhibit in 2007. The exhibit can be viewed online through O’Mara’s Senate website (omara.nysenate.gov). “It’s a remarkable career and an inspirational life. Eileen Collins is an American hero, one of our nation’s most distinguished citizens, and we’re extremely proud of her as a native of Elmira and New York State,” said O’Mara.The Senate exhibit pays tribute to a prestigious group of nearly 60 notable New York women from throughout state history, including Collins, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Eleanor Roosevelt. This year’s exhibit includes three new honorees: America’s first trained nurse, Linda Richards of Potsdam, (1841-1930); women’s advocate Mary Wiltsie Fuller of Troy and the Glens Falls area (1862-1943); and the first African-American female doctor in New York and the third in the nation, Susan Smith McKenney Steward (1847-1918) of Brooklyn.Collins, who retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2006, is honored for a long and illustrious career highlighted by her command of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999 — when she became the first female Shuttle Commander — and the “Return to Flight” Discovery mission in 2005. She became the first American woman to pilot a space shuttle, the Discovery, in 1995.Collins is a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.

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