In 2004, 447 individuals volunteered 4,410 hours of service to the Geneva Historical Society. It has become an annual custom of the Society to choose an outstanding volunteer to recognize the contribution of volunteers. This year the Volunteer Committee designated Jane Donegan as Volunteer of the Year.
Donegan volunteers behind the scenes in the Society archives. One day a week for the last five years she has been working the papers of Warren Hunting Smith. A scholar and grandnephew of William Smith, Warren Hunting Smith wrote a history of the colleges and was a benefactor of the library named for him. One of his legacies to the Geneva Historical Society was the gift of 30 boxes of his personal papers and correspondence. Donegan has steadily worked to organize and document these papers and is three quarters finished.
Work on such an arduous task requires a person who is truly dedicated to the Geneva Historical Society and the preservation of historical material. Donegan's friendship with Warren Smith and her love of history is the reason that she has committed countless hours toward the completion of this project.
Long-time members of the Society, Donegan and her husband, Robert Huff, regularly participate in Society activities. They have opened their home at 483 South Main Street for the Society's Tour of Homes and have worked on a number of Society house tours and events. Jane has also served on the board of trustees of the Geneva Free Library and is a past president of that board.
Prior to retiring, Donegan taught for 30 years at Onondaga Community College where she is a professor emerita. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Syracuse University's Maxwell School.
The Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented at the Society's Annual Dinner, Wednesday, June 8, at Club 86 on Avenue E. The program for this year’s dinner is “Stickley Furniture and the Arts and Craft Movement” presented by Michael Danial, corporate historian at Stickley. The evening will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. A short business meeting will also be held to highlight last year’s activities, elect new officers and trustees, and to recognize the Volunteer of the Year.
The dinner is open to the public, but reservations are required. Tickets are $22-$29 per person, depending on meal choice. For more information or reservations call the Society office at 789-5151 by Friday, June 3.