These personal stories illustrate the impact of a Binghamton University degree on the lives of our students, their families and their communities.
Read their stories. Submit yours.
2010 Spring Graduate
I remember fall 2006, the year I entered Binghamton University. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I had a plan to be more active, to attend to more extra-curricular activities than I had in high school and to be more open with people. I also recall my academic worries: Would I be able to succeed in Binghamton? Would I be able to handle the course work?
Aside from those thoughts, I was also worried about roommate living situations. Luckily, the roommates I had were all pretty okay.
Binghamton taught me very important lessons, but the one that stands out the most would have to be this: If you want to make something happen, you need to push yourself. You need to do it on your own and not rely on the help of others.
Overall, my Binghamton experience was a well-rounded one. I met new friends and faculty, worked for the University and was an e-board position leader. I will certainly miss Binghamton.
Susan Williams Phelps
Title: Secondary Teacher
My family's connection to Binghamton University spans three generations. My dad, Glenn Williams, earned a BA in Psychology in 1959; my mom, Carole Breese Williams, earned a BS in Applied Social Science in 1986; I received a BS in 1980 and an MAT in 1991. My son, Nathanial Phelps earned a BA in History in 2004; my son, Joshua Phelps, earned a BA in Biology in 2008 and my third son, Aaron Phelps, will graduate with a BA in English in 2011. We are very proud of the University and are honored to be affiliated with it!
Industry: Health Services
Binghamton University afforded me the opportunity to excel in a strong pre-health curriculum and consequently be accepted at every one of the dental programs to which I applied. Once in dental school, while other students struggled with the basic medical sciences, I found much of this to be simply a review with some greater detail, given the strong undergraduate foundation I had received in cell and molecular biology, for example (thank you, Dr. Posner). I am now a specialist in private practice and, as a small-business owner in the growing healthcare field, I currently employ up to 10 New Yorkers in my office. Invest in Binghamton University and allow other small business to drive our local economies -- I do.
When I came to Binghamton I was worried that I wouldn't be happy. I went to a high school in Pennsylvania and was the only one from my school to enroll at Binghamton. I came in not knowing anyone and was incredibly worried about being able to break through.
Then I got involved in my residence hall and in my residential community, and my fear was gone. Getting involved was the best thing that I ever did in college, and at Binghamton, there were endless opportunities. I chose the path of running for student government positions, eventually being elected vice president for academic affairs and ultimately, president of the Student Association.
These positions enabled me to learn more about the political process, and about myself. I learned what it takes to be a successful leader, and how to pick yourself up after doing something wrong. I made my share of mistakes as a student leader, but at Binghamton, that's not a bad thing. At Binghamton the faculty, staff and administration help you along the way, ensure that you realize on your own how something could be better and then provide the available resources to make it so.
It was an honor and a privilege to serve as Student Association president, and I will always be grateful to Binghamton University for providing the opportunities that made my four years there the greatest four years of my life.
When I think back on my time at Binghamton, I remember myself as a young and uncertain girl entering the establishment and a strong, confident woman when I left. Through both academic and social aspects of Binghamton, I gained the strength to explore my options and follow my passion! While I currently hold a job that isn't in my desired field, I am on the road to beginning my master’s in public health - an area that will help many people in different ways. I credit Binghamton for giving me the courage to follow my dreams, and to strive for nothing less than success and accomplishment!
Dawn Lombard Lahti
Industry: Health Care
I agree with Gerard Manley Hopkins who said that denying one's University is like unbuttoning the buttons of one's being. I studied at Harpur for liberal arts with a language major, but one could not avoid there the most general exposure to, and love for, learning for its own sake. This has followed me through 10 years of public school teaching, retraining, and then 30 years of bedside nursing.
Judge Marcia J. Sikowitz
My working-class parents could not afford to send me to college. I took out NYSHEC loans, received scholarship money from Harpur College and worked all through school. At Binghamton's Harpur College I was exposed to new academic areas of study that challenged and excited me about learning. My professors were wonderful teachers who were available and approachable to the students. I grew up at Harpur College and made life-long friends there.
Professor Harvey Goldstein
Industry: Higher Education
I began at Harpur College in 1957. I left in 1959 to serve in the U.S. Army and returned and graduated in 1965. My education at Binghamton allowed me to obtain a full scholarship and a National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Fellowship for my PhD at New York University. I was dean of continuing education at Ricker College, and a faculty member at the University of Maine, and Greenfield College. Since my retirement to Punta Gorda, I have remained active. I serve on the executive committee of the Charlotte County Republican Party. I am president of my property owners’ association and am active in several boating organizations.
My education at Binghamton University was a defining time in my life. I received an outstanding education there. As an aside, both my children received their undergraduate degrees from SUNY. My daughter is a professor in Connecticut, and my son is COO of technology for Bank of America.
I have always told my students what a great school Binghamton is, and encouraged them to pursue their graduate studies there.
Title: Challah for Hunger Co-Coordinator
As co-coordinator, I have aided the growth of a chapter of Challah for Hunger, a national non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for hunger and disaster relief through the production and sale of challah bread. It is through my involvement in this organization that I have seen the Binghamton University campus come together to make a difference locally and abroad. Members of student organizations like NYPIRG and Hillel, University administrators and Sodexo employees, have volunteered to make challah bread, purchased the delicious product and supported the organization which will continue to make bi-annual donations to Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (C.H.O.W) and American Jewish World Services Darfur Relief and Advocacy Fund in an effort to end hunger and aid in disaster relief.
Paul J. Contino
Industry: Higher Education
Title: Professor of Great Books, Pepperdine University
I arrived at Binghamton in fall 1976. From the beginning of my time there until the day of graduation, Pat Wrobel and Jim Sullivan (and their children, Jen and Chris) made Seneca Hall a home away from home. It was an honor to serve as one of their Resident Assistants. I learned much from them, and am grateful that they remain friends.
I learned much in the classroom, too. In my first semester, in an “integrated semester” class on “Liberation” taught by Edward Weisband, I learned that the intellectual life and the life of the spirit can be mutually enriching. I still remember the timbre of Edward’s voice when he articulated certain ideas, and the way he led small group discussions. Even now, after 20 years as a professor, I return to the ideas he opened up for us. He was a formative influence.
And my English professors – Paul Ramsey, Mario Di Cesare, Martin Bidney, Bernie Rosenthal, William Spanos come immediately to mind -- were all wonderful, and modeled the attentive care with which I try to approach my own teaching of literature.
I am also grateful that the Newman House, under Father Bob’s kind pastoral guidance, provided so many students with a place for spiritual sustenance and community. I hope that it continues to do so -- and that Binghamton University continues to thrive.
Thank you Binghamton!
Industry: Aerospace/Human Resources
Title: HR Business Partner/Specialist
Having to live on my own at age 16, college was a critical gateway to my rags-to-riches fairy tale. My desire to go was only matched by the challenges of attending. Binghamton University not only afforded me that opportunity, but also provided an experience richer than I could have ever imagined. From my challenging School of Management curriculum to participating in Division I sports, the Binghamton Crosbys (an a cappella group), Alpha Kappa Psi (a professional business fraternity), the Crew team and much more, Binghamton became a formative force in my life that has propelled me to new heights.
Binghamton University Professor
Industry: Higher Education
Title: Professor/English Department/Creative Writing
Binghamton has been part of my life for 30 years. I am so proud and grateful to be a part of this amazing extended family and to teach generations of extraordinary students.
I was the first member of my family to go to college. Binghamton turned out to be the perfect fit. Harpur College of Arts and Sciences was exceptionally challenging, opening my eyes and mind to the world that existed outside western New York. Plus, the school was quite affordable for my financially-strapped parents.
Industry: Higher Education
Title: Director of Graduate Online and Non Traditional Programs
When I think of my time at Binghamton, I think of the many unique learning opportunities and experiences that I was afforded. Being a member of the Crosbys (a cappella group), I was placed in the fortunate role of being an ambassador for the University everywhere that we traveled. Binghamton has given me lifelong friends, a solid academic base and countless fond memories. Thank you Binghamton University!
Industry: Health Care
I was the first college graduate in my family. As such, I was not given solid support from family members when I insisted on attending college. The social and intellectual climate at Binghamton University encouraged me to "raise the bar" on my study habits and thoughts about my future. I spent my junior year studying abroad in Madrid. The years spent at Binghamton University intellectually transformed me and led me on a path to higher studies.
Parent of Binghamton University Student
Binghamton is teaching my son many life lessons that he could not have learned without a higher level of education. First and foremost, living with a diverse population that the school provides has been such a great asset to my son. He is getting to know students from other nations with different economies. The many intelligent, high-achieving students at Binghamton challenge him to want to achieve the same or better in his own education. He has raised the bar for himself because Binghamton has made him raise the bar to keep up with the school’s requirements.
Aunt of Binghamton University Alumni
Industry: Human Services
My three nephews are all graduates of Binghamton University. It would be great to have a law school at Binghamton. My second nephew is graduating law at a SUNY school. The commute for the family is difficult, however, as we live on Long Island and in Pennsylvania.
Here's hoping that Binghamton University law becomes a reality.
Title: Program Director
Higher education is my sole vehicle to a better life. I am a sophomore at Binghamton University studying mathematics and visual design. I am an employee of the city of Binghamton, director of a local youth community center, the editor of The Free Press newspaper, and a member of the national honor society Phi Eta Sigma. All of the activities I am involved with are directly related to opportunities offered to me as an undergraduate at the University.
Industry: Higher Education
Title: Assistant Professor of History, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Binghamton University creates an excellent academic environment for critical and independent thinking, multi-culturalism and progressive social engagements.
Title: Library Director
I attended Binghamton University and received my degree in history. The variety of courses and the intensity of the quality of the scholarship helped prepare me to further my education with a master’s [degree] and advanced certificate. I met my husband at Binghamton - he attended as an undergraduate and received a master’s in computer science. We were so impressed with our education, my sister also attended and then two of my sons graduated from Binghamton with their undergraduate degrees. Both of my daughters-in-law are also Binghamton graduates. My sons are gainfully employed in fields that are related to their degrees. I cannot say enough about the affordable education that was available through Binghamton University and how much it means to my family.