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Helen Tinch Williams receives Outstanding Achievement Award at Homecoming
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Helen Tinch Williams receives Outstanding Achievement Award at Homecoming

Left to right: Fred Tinch (Helen's brother), Vanessa Williams (Helen's daughter), Fredonia President Virginia Horvath, Helen Tinch Williams, and Chris Williams (Helen's son).

Helen Tinch Williams received the Fredonia Alumni Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award on Friday night during the Homecoming Excellence Gala.

Retired after 37 years in the Ossining, N.Y., public schools as a vocal music educator and as an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College School of Education in Purchase, N.Y., Mrs. Williams received her Music Education degree from Fredonia and a master’s degree from Manhattanville College, with additional studies at New York University.

While at Fredonia, Mrs. Williams participated in the first decade of Hillman Opera productions. She was cast in the lead role in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” as a freshman, and took a leadership role in many student groups during her undergraduate years, serving as president of the College Choir, Festival Chorus, and Words and Music, and as vice president of the Junior Class.

She is a charter member of The Links Incorporated Greater Hudson Valley Chapter, African American Advisory Board of Historic Hudson Valley, Hope’s Door Advisory Board, American Women of African Heritage and a former consultant to Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers. She is also recognized for her commitment as a mentor for college students, a caretaker of seniors and an advocate for an inmate at the Bedford Women’s Correctional Facility.

Among her awards are the 2001 March of Dimes Mother of the Year, 2006 Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow, 2010 Hillman Memorial Music Association Jessie Hillman Award for Excellence, 2011 Dorothy Height Distinguished Black Family Award from the National Council of Negro Women, 2012 Dress for Success Toast to Our Mothers and the True Reflection Award from Family Services of Westchester.

In keeping with her dedication to education, Mrs. Williams has established the Dr. Richard Sheil Memorial Music Scholarship fund with the Fredonia College Foundation. She and her late husband and Fredonia alumnus, Milton A. Williams Jr., are the parents of two children, Vanessa and Christopher, and four grandchildren. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Mrs. Williams resides in Westchester County. A memoir co-authored with Vanessa, “You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and each Other),” became a New York Times bestselling book.

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