Launching Tomorrow's Minds

SUNY Corning Community College has a long tradition of launching some of tomorrow’s greatest minds. Eileen Collins ’76 went on to become a United States Air Force pilot and a NASA astronaut, logging more than 6,500 hours in 30 different types of aircrafts and making four trips into space.

Melissa A. (Dewey) Brumback was honored an award in the name of Eileen Collins, the Eileen M. Collins ’76 Professional Achievement Award, to honor her impressive professional achievements as a 2017 pioneering female alumna. 

Melissa is a 1992 graduate of SUNY CCC, a 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a 1998 graduate of UNC School of Law. She currently serves as a construction attorney and partner in the Raleigh firm of Ragsdale Liggett, with more than 19 years of experience representing architects, engineers, and other business owners in courtrooms across the state of North Carolina.  

Melissa is licensed in all State and Federal courts in North Carolina, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She has received a Martindale Hubbell rating of “AV” (the highest category) and been named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. Additionally, Melissa was named a “Legal Elite” in Construction Law by Business North Carolina Magazine, and has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in Construction Law for the past four years (an award given to less than 5% of lawyers in North Carolina). She has maintained a nationally acclaimed blog for Architects & Engineers for almost eight years and regularly speaks to industry groups nationwide on lawsuits, contracts, and risk avoidance.  

She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Stephen, and daughter, Lily.