Martha A. Veasey, 79, Canisius College administrator who fostered diversity

July 10, 1938 – Jan. 1, 2018

Martha A. Veasey, of Buffalo, a retired Canisius College administrator, died Jan. 1 after a lengthy illness. She was 79.

Born in Johnstown, Pa., one of eight children, the former Martha Hemphill came to Buffalo with her family. After a short marriage, she graduated from Sisters Hospital School of Nursing and was a nurse at Buffalo General Hospital for 21 years, becoming unit manager of the operating room.

She went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Canisius College in 1982, then became a counselor in the college’s COPE (Canisius’ Opportunity Programs for Education) office. She advanced through the counseling, COPE and community relations departments and earned a master’s degree in counselor education in 1989.

She became director of community relations at Canisius in 1992 and later served as director of disability support services.

Ms. Veasey was active in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities-Conference on Diversity and Equity, which led to the creation of the ALANA (African American, Latino/a American, Asian American and Native American) Student Center at Canisius and diversity initiatives at other colleges.

At Canisius, she also was involved with Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Afro-American Society, the Encore Club and the Modern Music Society. She retired in 2007.

She received the Martin Luther King College Award in 1992 and was inducted into the Di Gamma Honor Society in 1993.

She also was active in community organizations, including the Hamlin Park Community and Taxpayers Association, the Hughes Avenue and Blaine Avenue block clubs, the Education Task Force Consortium and the Martin Luther King Project of Western New York. She hosted many discussions on her porch.

Survivors include a daughter, Deborah Larkin; a brother, David J. Hemphill; two sisters, Shirley Chatman and Bernice Bell; a special friend, William Bailey; four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

Services were held Friday, Jan. 12 in T. L. Pickens Mortuary Services, 66 E. Utica St.