Scholarship Solidifies Late Scientist’s Laker Legacy
The friendship between Colleen A. McHorney ’78 and Brett Connolly ’76 began in 1975 as students at SUNY Oswego.
“Several things attracted me to Colleen when we first met in 1975,” Brett recalled. “First was her smile. She was so quick to smile and was very easy going. Though we never dated one-on-one, we often spent time together with our group of friends.”
After graduation, their career paths crisscrossed each other for decades, and occasional cards and letters became less frequent as years passed.
Their paths reconnected in 2004 when they both found themselves working at the same pharmaceutical company outside of Philadelphia.
“Somehow fate stepped in and we were back together,” Brett said. “We began dating, and it seemed just like old times, as we each recalled our college days together and shared details of our professional and personal lives since leaving Oswego.”
They were married in 2006, and enjoyed 15 years of wedded bliss.
“It was truly a wonderful blessing,” he said. “Colleen was planning to retire in August 2021, but sadly she never made it.”
Colleen was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in December 2020. “She died in my arms soon after in late January 2021,” he said.
Before she died, she told Brett that she wanted to establish a scholarship at SUNY Oswego for students who demonstrated an interest and acumen in the study of science or social sciences and who are in need of financial assistance. She felt a strong connection to the university, where she met Brett and where her older brother, George McHorney ’73, also attended.
“We both thoroughly enjoyed our Oswego experience, where we each found our passion in the sciences,” he said.
Colleen, who earned a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University and a second master’s and Ph.D. from Brown University, was an internationally recognized thought leader in the fields of health outcomes assessment and medication adherence, and she conceptualized and validated the Adherence Estimator®, a simple research tool that is widely used by clinicians to identify patients who may be at risk for medication non-adherence. She most recently served as a senior research leader at Evidera, a leading provider of evidence-based solutions for the healthcare industry.
Before moving into the pharmaceutical industry, she held tenured faculty positions with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Kentucky and Indiana University. A quick search of Google Scholar reveals that her work has been cited more than 30,440 times and that number continues to grow.
By establishing the scholarship, Brett said he’s fulfilling Colleen’s final wishes and creating a lasting legacy at a place that brought them together and that they loved very much.
To support the Dr. Colleen A. McHorney ’78 Memorial Scholarship, please visit alumni.oswego.edu/givenow or call 315-312-3003.