Photo of Binghamton University President

Summer 2016

For some, a degree is only part of the story

As we head toward the end of summer, I’m still reflecting on the exceptional way Binghamton University kicked off the warmest months of the year — by celebrating Commencement and the conferral of more than 3,400 degrees for our bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates. 

We held eight different ceremonies and awarded honorary degrees to Hollywood director/screenwriter Marc Lawrence ’81 and educator John Bartle, grandson of Binghamton University’s first president. And yes, I had the privilege of shaking each graduate’s hand; it was definitely a highlight of my year.

When I learn more about our graduates, I am in awe. Each year we tell the stories of some of those grads at, and they are astonishing.

I think of Jacob Banik, a widower with two young daughters who worked full time while taking night classes in our Graduate School of Education; or Muhammed Wesley, who dropped out of high school but found his way back to education, first earning a degree in history to improve his writing and reading skills before following his true passion to become a nurse; or Amanda Baker, a Student Association vice president who double-majored in math and history and will attend graduate school in the fall — though she lost her sight at the age of 5. 

The accomplishments of these and all of our graduates are as varied and inspiring as the roads they have taken to earn their degrees. Join me in congratulating them and in celebrating the people and stories featured in this magazine.

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Harvey G. Stenger

Photo: Jonathan Cohen