Gift supports academic programming, faculty development and student scholarships.
A $1 million gift from Charles M. Kim ’98 and his wife, Jean Su Maeng-Kim, is boosting Binghamton University’s business curriculum and giving students a competitive edge in the job market. The gift supports academic programming and faculty development, as well as student scholarships — vital resources Charles Kim says the School of Management and the University need to achieve their strategic goals. “This is a critical time in Binghamton’s continued ascent to becoming one of the nation’s best and most competitive universities,” he says.Read More/Hide Text
With support from the gift, the School of Management has been able to offer students a course that incorporates financial spreadsheet modeling, as well as purchase software that students use to participate in mock job interviews. Additional software gives students assessments that assist with career development.
“The skills set the students apart from other students who are applying for jobs,” says Dina Layish, a visiting assistant professor who teaches the finance course that includes spreadsheet modeling. “Students who can talk smartly about Excel, put together a macro or use Excel to automate something — employers see that as a valuable skill.”
School of Management Dean Upinder Dhillon says the training, first offered to Binghamton students several years ago, helps them become “subject-matter experts” and enhances the University’s reputation for having a premier business school.
“Not every university focuses on this. The top-tier schools are just starting to put together courses like this,” Dhillon says. “If you’re not on the cutting edge, it’s hard to attract outstanding students. Then, the challenge is, once you recruit outstanding students, how do you challenge them above and beyond what a regular school would do? We’re extremely grateful to Charles and Jean Su for their outstanding gift. It’s helping to transform the school.”
Kim says he hopes his gift will “wake up fellow Binghamton alums to the great strides our alma mater has taken in recent years, as well as the challenges it faces in the years to come.”
“We give because we know that our contribution, whether it be big or small, will be used for the most vital and important projects at the University,” he says. “Binghamton has put together the pieces to be one of the best universities in the nation. They just need to be supplied the tools to continue to build upon them.”
“If you had $10,000, how would you use it to
change the world?”
David Campbell’s philanthropy classes, students gain real-world public-service experience vetting local nonprofit organizations and deciding which will receive thousands of dollars in grant funding. It’s a task they take very seriously, says Campbell, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Administration.Read More/Hide Text
Campbell established the Philanthropy Incubator years ago to teach undergraduate and graduate students about the role nonprofit organizations play in building vibrant communities. The incubator also serves to encourage philanthropy and prepare students for engaged citizenship and public service as they decide how to distribute the grant funding to area nonprofits.
“If you had $10,000, how would you use it to change the world?” Campbell asks the students. “The fact that they have real money to distribute changes the gravity of the situation. They feel accountable. They know they can make a difference.”
Students in the incubator’s Philanthropy and Civil Society course this past spring decided youth development, health and wellness, and education were the areas they wanted to focus on, Campbell says. After careful consideration, they awarded $5,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, $4,000 to the UHS Foundation’s school-based health clinics and $1,000 to the Oasis After School Program.
“The class in and of itself is fascinating, but I was totally impressed with how thoughtful the students were in their review and investigation of each request,” UHS Foundation Executive Director Betsy Pietriyk says in a thank-you letter to Campbell. “They put a lot of head and heart into making their grant decisions. The money will contribute greatly to the program’s capacity to accomplish its mission.”
In total, Southern Tier nonprofit organizations have received more than $57,000 from the incubator since 2009, the first year it provided funding.
The Learning by Giving Foundation funded this year’s round of giving. The incubator also has received support from student and alumni fundraising, as well as from other foundations and charitable gift funds.
The Binghamton University Foundation has been a strong partner, identifying alumni to talk to the students about their own philanthropic activities and motivations for giving, Campbell notes.
For Lauren Colantonio ’13, the philanthropy course this past spring took her career plans in a new direction.
“I saw firsthand how charitable giving can change lives,” says Colantonio, who’s double-majoring in political science and Italian and minoring in French.
She now wants to pursue work in corporate philanthropy. She had intended on working in government at an embassy or consulate, assisting Americans who need help in other countries.
“I took this class and I really fell in love with the giving process and grant making. Now, I’m thinking about getting an MPA,” says Colantonio, of Stony Point, N.Y. “I’ve never gotten this feeling from anything I’ve ever done before.”
Kristen Voorhees ’13, a political science major, says she’s always been interested in the nonprofit sector as a career path. The course only reinforced her passion for work in this field.
“It’s one thing to learn about philanthropy from lecture slides,” says Voorhees, of Westchester County, N.Y. “It’s a completely different experience to use real money to make real change happen in the community around you.”