Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 10:55am

JCC alumni Theo Collins ‘09 and David Leathers ‘83 were honored as recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award during the college’s commencement exercises on May 20.

The award, now in its 35th year, is given to those who have typified the JCC tradition of excellence and brought credit to the college through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

“We are thrilled to honor these two individuals with this year's Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Cheri Foti, president of the Alumni Association. “They have had a tremendous impact in their career fields and communities.”

Collins, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was 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.

Collins is an attorney with the Spilman Thomas & Battle law firm in Pittsburgh, PA, focusing on corporate litigation, real estate, commercial loan finance, and business planning.

After graduating from JCC with an A.A.S. degree in criminal justice, Collins earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2012, and completed his juris doctor degree in 2015 at Duquesne University School of Law.

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. 

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

 Leathers is the general manager at the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. After earning an associate’s degree at JCC, Leathers earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University at Buffalo and a master’s degree in manufacturing management at the General Motors Institute in Flint, MI.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Leathers was a product assurance engineer for the Naval Underwater Systems Center in Newport, RI, where he was responsible for all 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. He is also a former general manager of Valeo, Inc.

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 live in Jamestown and have a grown son and daughter, Eric and Alyssa.

 “These two extraordinary individuals embody JCC’s vision of academic excellence, a collaborative spirit, innovative leadership, and an entrepreneurial mindset,” said JCC alumni relations director Amanda Gesing. “They are extraordinary role models for individuals aspiring to achieve their dreams.”

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