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“Once In A Century,” Alumna Left Her Mark on SUNY Plattsburgh

Virginia “Jinny” Lee Sturrock Damianos ’50 may have passed away In November 2009, but if she were here today, she would likely tell you that SUNY Plattsburgh had an enormous impact on her life. After all, this is where she studied nursing and where the late Dr. Edward Redcay introduced her to the late Dr. Xenophon “Jim” Damianos ’51. The two were married for 52 years and had six children.
“SUNY Plattsburgh has lost a true Cardinal,” said College President John Ettllng. “For nearly 60 years, Jinny was one of our most loyal and dedicated alumni .”
After graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh, Damianos served as a registered nurse at Albany (N.Y.) and as a school-nurse teacher at General Douglas MacArthur High School In Levittown, N.Y.
“Mom embodied the spirit of nursing, ” remarked daughter, Elektra Gaebelein.
She also embodied the spirit of Plattsburgh, giving back to her alma mater time and time again, said Anne Whitmore Hansen, vice president for Institutional advancement and executive director of the College Foundation.
Damianos was a charter member of the SUNY Plattsburgh Heritage Society, a longtime donor to the foundation and was a member of the Alumni Association board, serving as Its vice president from 1983 to 1988.
Over the years, Damianos and her husband opened their home to support SUNY Plattsburgh’s student recruitment, alumni and development activities. A scholarship endowment fund bearing their names was created to provide scholarships for nursing students who demonstrate academic excellence and financtal need.
“Jinny and Jim have left a tremendous legacy,” said Hansen. “Through their generous financtal support, as well as their steadfast loyalty. they have had an impact on generations of our graduates. Thanks to the endowed scholarship, their impact will continue forever.”
“Not surprisingly, her outstanding dedication and commitment to SUNY Plattsburgh have earned her numerous recognitions over the years,” said Gaebeleln. In 1986, Damianos received the “Once In a Century Alumni
Award.”  In 1995, Jinny and Jim received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Dr. Xenophon and Virginia Sturrock Damianos Nursing Skills Laboratory was dedicated in their honor In October 1995.
Her dedication was noticeable even In death, said Dr. Zoanne Schnell, professor of nursing and nutrition.
“One of the things that especially touched me was that Jinny was laid to rest with two of her favorite things: her Plattsburgh nursing pin and a pin of a red cardinal,” she said.
Originally published in Plattsburgh Magazine in Winter, 2010