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Binghamton University Newsroom
May 22, 2003  Volume 24, No. 31
Events Center director named
Eric Backlund, director of telecommunications, has been appointed operations manager for the Binghamton University Events Center, effective May 22.

In his new position, Backlund will be responsible for the planning, administration and operational management of the Events Center, including its physical plant facilities and equipment, concessions, finances and personnel, and scheduling of events. He will report directly to the associate vice president for auxiliary services and indirectly to the director of athletics.

Backlund came to Binghamton in 1994 as director of telecommunications. Prior to that, he had served in that same role at St. Lawrence University in Canton, where he had also been a property manager and financial analyst and an admissions counselor.

Backlund earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from Regis University in Denver, Colo.

First class of BU Scholars graduates
The Binghamton University Scholars Program graduated its first class of scholars this spring, three years after the program was launched. The students were recognized last week for their capstone projects at a special reception attended by President Lois B. DeFleur. Recognized for their work were:

Aarti Gupta, chemistry, who will attend medical school. Thesis: Synthesis of C-linked Threonine AFGP. Faculty director: Rob Ben

Ryan McCormick, English, who will pursue a PhD in English literature at the University of Notre Dame. Thesis: Becoming-Miraculous: Entropy and Anarchy in Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. Faculty director: Susan Strehle

Michael O’Connell, political science, who will pursue graduate studies in political science at Binghamton University. Thesis: While Federalism Slept: How Federal Grants have Eroded State and Local Autonomy and Why They Should be Eliminated. Faculty director: David Cingranelli

Stefanie Sokoloff, anthropology, who plans to become a physician’s assistant. General Education Honors Project: University Health Services: Student Information Needs Assessment. Faculty director: Rachelle Moore

Bella Tsvaygenbaum, biological sciences, who will attend medical school. General Education Honors Project: University Health Services: Student Information Needs Assessment. Faculty director: Rachelle Moore

External Affairs helps BU make its case
From fundraising and friend-raising to government and media relations, the Division of External Affairs works on many levels to make the case for Binghamton University, Thomas Kelly, vice president for external affairs, told University Council last week.

In a presentation titled “Advocating for Binghamton: Stating the Case and Generating Support,” Kelly described some of the numerous activities undertaken by the division in the past year to support the University.

Despite the largest national downturn in college fundraising in 40 years, Binghamton continues to have success. The University has raised $4.5 million toward its annual goal of $6 million and is pursuing two special fundraising initiatives for the Events Center and the Anderson Center.

Binghamton completed its first-ever comprehensive gifts campaign last year — a year early and 20 percent over goal. The University raised $43.7 million from 32,000 donors.

Kelly said the University is working hard to cultivate relationships with alumni, especially those who are in a position to make larger gifts. Through events like BU Advocacy Day and visits, the University is also working to strengthen its ties with state and national legislators.

The University is reaching out to the community as well through such initiatives as the “BU Connects” website on community services, support for the return of the Empire State Games, and through the economic development efforts of the Small Business Development Center and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

Seniors receive Latina/Latino awards
Two seniors, Mercedes M. Maldonado of Harpur College and Griselda Rodriguez of the School and Education and Human Development, finished their undergraduate college careers with 2003 Latina/Latino Achievement Awards.

Maldonado, a double major in English and philosophy, politics and law, earned a grade-point average above 3.0; appeared on the Harpur dean’s list and received Educational Opportunity Program academic achievement certificates. She was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Organization and the Save EOP Organization, and served as a tutor/mentor for the Broome County Urban League and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. As a resident assistant in College-in-the-Woods, she was instrumental in offering topical programs such as “The Importance of Student Activism for Urban Students,” particularly during Black History Month. She is the recipient of a National Hispanic Scholarship Fund award and expects to attend law school.

Rodriguez, a human development major, also achieved a GPA above 3.0, was listed several times on the SEHD dean’s list and received EOP academic achievement certificates. Her extracurricular involvements included Black Dance Repertoire, REACH, Phi Theta Chi and the Students of Color Support Center. She was selected for membership in the McNair Scholars Program and participated in the recent affirmative action forum. She has served as a peer counselor in EOP’s summer Binghamton Enrichment Program and as staff member at the Campos-Robeson Tutorial Center. She expects to pursue a graduate degree.

Honorable mention was awarded to Biany Perez, a human development major in SEHD with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean area studies.

Art history student wins travel award
Kenneth Havenstein, a PhD candidate in art history, is the recipient of the first Bernardo Travel Award, presented by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The award, funded by Aldo S. Bernardo, professor emeritus of romance languages, and his wife, Reta, awards up to $250, one award for an undergraduate and one for a graduate student, for travel to Italy or other European countries for educational and/or research purposes related to the fields of medieval and Renaissance studies. Havenstein received the award in support of his research on the 14th-century image of “Good Government” in the City Hall of Siena.

Center for Quality offers workshops
The Center for Quality announces its Summer 2003 Workplace Renovations workshops: “Laying the Foundation — The Benefits of Teams,” 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, June 5, PSPC-C; “Creating and Using a ‘Blueprint’ — A Planning Strategy,” 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, June 10, PSPC-E/F; “Basic Tools for Continuous Improvement,” 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, June 12, PSPC-E/F; “Power Tools — Advanced Tools for Continuous Improvement,” 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, June 17, PSPC-C; “The ‘Roofing’ Party — Icebreakers and Training Games,” 1-3 p.m. Thursday, June 19, PSPC-C.

Reservations are required. To register, call the Center for Quality, 777-6588, or e-mail

PDR plans summer workshops
The School of Education and Human Development’s Division of Professional Development and Research will sponsor the following workshops in May and June.

“Legal Issues for Managing Not-for-Profit Organizations” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, May 29, in PSPC-C. Instructors: John Grall, Albert Kukol and Heather Cornell of Levene Gouldin & Thompson. Cost is $130.

“Essential External Organizational Communications,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, in PSPC-C. Instructor Karel Kurst-Swanger, assistant professor in the Department of Public Justice at SUNY Oswego. Cost is $135.

“Writing Winning Grant Proposals,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays, June 10 and 17, in AA-G04. Instructor Allison Alden, PDR Division. Cost is $270.

“Interpersonal Communications within Organizations,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, June 12, in PSPC-C. Instructor Karel Kurst-Swanger. Cost is $135.

PDR, in conjunction with the Research Institute for Assistive and Training Technologies /National Association of State Directors of Special Education, will also offer two certificate courses. A course for the basic competency certificate in Assistive Technology Services for Aging Adults with Developmental Disabilities will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 23-27. A course for the competency certificate in Basic Assistive Technology Services is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, July 9-11, and Wednesday-Friday, July 16-18. For more on any of these workshops, contact 777-4447 or


"BODY FLOW” CLASS : Campus Recreational Services/Wellness Services will offer Body Flow Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m. from May 22-June 26, in East Gym-5. Body Flow is a combination of yoga, tai chi, Pilates and traditional fitness moves. Cost is $36. Register in the Membership Services Office, 139 East Gym, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more, call 777-3125.

MEMORIAL DAY CLOSING : The East Gym will be closed Saturday, May 24-Monday, May 26 for the Memorial Day weekend. Summer hours begin Tuesday, May 27. The building will be open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. FitSpace will be open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The pool will be open for lap swim 7-9 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Rec swim will be open 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. A schedule of hours is available at

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE : The Parking Garage is closed for renovations through the third week in August. Also, the main entrance doors to Science I are being replaced, beginning with the Lecture Hall main entrance vestibule (122D) and the Chenango Room vestibule (122A) the following week. Exits will be usable. Additional doors will be replaced in June. For more, call Pearse Murray at 777-2598 or In addition, work associated with the Mountainview College project, near Lake Lieberman, will improve the storm water management system. Noise associated with the work will affect Delaware and Chenango halls in Newing College. For more, call Hily Delancy at 777-5481 or hdelancy@ For more information on construction projects, visit

INSIDEBU SUMMER SCHEDULE : InsideBU will be published monthly during the summer on June 19 and July 24. Weekly publication will resume on August 28. The deadline for submission of materials is the Friday before publication.

Correction : In last week’s issue of Inside BU, Zhongfei Zhang’s name was spelled incorrectly in the article “Inventive Binghamton faculty recognized.” In addition, Zhang and Bahgat Sammakia, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center, were nominated for Promising Inventor Awards.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08