Interim President C. Peter Magrath, left, speaks with Vincent Pasquale, assistant dean of the School of Management, during a "reconnect" reception held Sept. 22 in the Anderson Center Reception Room.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
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Countless years of Binghamton University’s history were represented in the Anderson Center Reception Room on Sept. 22, when dozens of faculty and staff “reconnected” with Interim President C. Peter Magrath.
The original connection took place between 1972 and 1974 – all those invited to the reception were employed on campus during Magrath’s first tenure as president. The current connection – they’re still here, actively working, teaching and researching.
Though some faces weren’t immediately familiar on this second campus go-round, name tags helped, and conversation flowed as Magrath circulated around the room.
Ross Geoghegan, professor of mathematical sciences, had only met Magrath officially once in the 1970s, but the two spoke about his being part of the “generation that turned [Binghamton] from a teaching to a research institution.”
Sodexo employees Bob Zaber and Barb Gilmore made it a point to attend and meet Magrath, as did Stephen Lisman, professor of psychology, who actually brought his original appointment letter with him to show off. Lisman had negotiated a good deal when he was hired – $13,200 – but he jokingly asked “Is it worth anything now?”
A rumor was put to rest as well, when Magrath confirmed for Michael Conlon, Bartle associate professor of English, a story about Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel Without A Cause. When Magrath was president, Ray worked at the University and, according to Conlon, was always seen wearing “dungarees, boots, a t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve, and maybe a leather jacket.”
Ray needed money for a project and, breaking from his habit, he appeared in Magrath’s office to ask for money – wearing a jacket and a tie, and – as Conlon had heard – no shirt. “He didn’t get any money,” said Magrath.
“We may be somewhat older,” Magrath told those present, “but that’s just a physical thing. You’re all still very active at the University and I think you’re young. The University was young then and is still young in its vitality. It was exciting then, and it’s even more exciting today.”