Stenger honored to have Obama visit



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JONATHAN COHEN
President Harvey Stenger tells local media that while President Obama's visit is unexpected, it isn't a surprise, given the quality of Binghamton University and its students.

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said the fact that President Barack Obama is visiting Binghamton is unexpected, but not a surprise.

“We are a quality, high-value institution with achievement-oriented students and successful graduates, so when people ask me am I surprised the President of the United States wants to visit our campus? The answer is no! Was this entire visit unexpected? The answer is yes!”

Stenger told reporters outside the University’s Couper Administration Building last week that he is excited about Friday’s visit by the President of the United States. He said many details are still being worked out, but the University is thrilled to play host.

The president is delivering speeches at Buffalo and Syracuse before coming to Binghamton, where he will address the audience in a town hall-style format. From Binghamton he will travel to Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa.

“We are more than proud that our president is choosing to make our campus one of the stops on his tour through the region,” Stenger said. “He is talking about the importance of higher education and what better place to talk about accessibility, affordability, quality and successful outcomes than Binghamton University?”

Stenger said many of the University’s students are the first in their families to attend college and he is honored President Obama is drawing attention to how public institutions such as Binghamton University help make higher education more affordable for the middle class.

If given the opportunity, Stenger said will share with President Obama the University’s many academic and research achievements, but he also hopes to stress the other attributes: the University’s engagement with the surrounding communities; the economic impact the University brings to our region; the outreach and volunteerism that emanates from this campus by students, staff and faculty; as well as the industrial partnerships and internships the school has nurtured with the private sector.

The University is not only welcoming President Obama, it also is welcoming incoming freshmen on Thursday and upperclassmen the next day — the same day as Obama’s visit. The logistics are challenging but everyone on campus is pitching in to make ensure everything goes smoothly.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but right now we’re focusing on the fact that this is probably one of the most exciting things to happen on our campus and we look forward to the attention and interest this visit generates in the local, regional and national media,” said Stenger. “We’re putting Binghamton University on the map and on the front page of a lot of newspapers!” –Darcy Fauci