ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Senator Jeremy Cooney presented the New York State Liberty Medal to Hollis Budd, the retired inaugural executive director of the Farash Charitable Foundation.

The Farash Charitable Foundation is described as one of the largest philanthropic organizations in upstate New York.

Budd had previously spent 31 years at the University of Rochester — serving as its first female vice president — and retired as the associate dean of the Simon Business School.

“She is a woman who plants seeds that grow strong people and I am so grateful that she has intentionally and so purposefully invested in individuals like myself,” said Executive Director of Connected Communities Inc. LaShunda Leslie-Smith.

State officials said the Liberty Medal is the highest honor bestowed by a senator, with criteria for receiving the medal including taking heroic and extraordinary actions for the service of others