Legislature Passes Bill to Designate Road Near SUNY Geneseo 'Savannah Marie Williams Memorial Highway'

Patrick M. Gallivan

July 02, 2020

SUNY Geneseo photo
Senator Gallivan Sponsors Bill to Honor Student Killed in 2016 Crash

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) and Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R-C, Caledonia) announce the New York State Legislature has passed legislation to designate a portion of state route 63 in the Town of Geneseo as the "Savannah Marie Williams Memorial Highway."  Williams, an 18-year-old freshman at SUNY Geneseo, was killed in a car accident on December 20, 2016 while leaving campus to travel home for the holiday season.

Williams majored in biochemistry and dreamed of working 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," Senator Gallivan said.  "Designating a portion of the highway adjacent to the campus in her memory is not only appropriate, it serves as lasting reminder of the positive impact she had on fellow students, teammate, faculty and staff." 

Senator Gallivan sponsored the highway designation bill in the Senate and Assembly Member Byrnes sponsored it in the Assembly.

“I’m glad I could help in advancing this legislation in the Assembly,” Assembly Member 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 Assembly Member 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 will be to Savannah’s family and all who knew her."

Savannah's family issued the following statement regarding the legislation:

"Words cannot describe the gratitude our family has for those who were instrumental in honoring Savannah with the bill renaming the section of road in Geneseo. From the moment, we stepped on campus for the first time, Savannah and our family knew that Geneseo was a place of wonderful people that were a lot like our Norwich home. This has been proven time and again. Thank you to the entire Geneseo administration, New York State Senate and the Assembly for all they have done for the memory of Savannah. We hope everyone who reads Savannah’s name as they pass through take a moment to reflect on the passions of life that Savannah had and share the kindness she had in her heart. Hakuna Matata."

Savannah is survived by her parents, Mark and Shari, and two older brothers, Alexander and Zachary.  She was born in Hamilton, New York and raised in Norwich, New York.

The legislation will be sent to Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign it into law. 

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