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Tragedy helped shape student’s life as a leader

An active student leader, Justin Hoch will not leave Binghamton following graduation and will stay to work with community development projects. Hoch will receive his BS in psychology and management with concentration in finance during Commencement .
School of Management

Name: Justin Hoch
Degree: BS in psychology and management with concentration in finance
Plans: Remain in Binghamton area and look for funding to work with community development projects.

Justin Hoch is a busy guy – a student athlete, a community volunteer, active in student organizations – he’s not one to say no. “There are so many good opportunities to do stuff that it’s hard to turn anything down,” he said. “It’s born out of wanting to be involved.”

Hoch’s love of being involved didn’t come easily. In fact, his desire to contribute stems in part from a major life event when, at age 17, Hoch lost his popular, athletic younger brother in a jet-ski accident.

“I’ve always been hesitant to bring it up for fear that people might treat me differently or feel sorry for me,” he said. But, his brother’s death also strengthened him in ways he couldn’t predict. “When he died, I came out from under a rock,” he said. “It’s almost like I inherited some of his qualities.

“There’s no easy way to go through something like that though,” he said. “You just do it.”

A sampling of the activities that have added to Hoch’s Binghamton experience include a summer trip to Nicaragua as part of a Habitat for Humanity crew; selection as one of four undergraduates to attend the COOL Idealist National Student Conference; serving as captain and team leader for the University’s wrestling team; coordinating community service projects and interning with the Center City Coordination (C-3) Project in downtown Binghamton; helping to shape Peer: PRIDE, the University’s NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, into a stronger organization; serving as a resident assistant for two years; and tutoring for the Upward Bound program.

Yet, Hoch still finds himself wanting to make a difference and plans to stay in the Binghamton area following graduation. “I’m looking for funding to work with community development projects like C-3 and I’ll be doing some grant writing with TRIO Project Director Dan McCormack,” he said.

But his after-college life will also include one activity that he hasn’t really pursued since high school — Hoch hopes to refine his acting skills. “I really liked acting in high school, but I needed a back-up plan,” Hoch said. “College became my back-up plan, and now that I’m graduating I really want to act, but I’ve developed a pretty good back-up plan and I’m not ready to give it up yet.”

Nancy Paul, director of the Career Development Center, first met Hoch last August when she invited him to serve on a nonprofit team to focus on career options in nonprofit and government agencies. She said he articulated his perspectives well and played a significant role in planning Tap Your Passion week events. “Justin is an exemplary student, athlete, leader and citizen,” she said. “He has embraced his University experience to the fullest and has made an impact on other students, faculty, staff and the community.”

Hoch’s list of achievements is nearly as long as his list of activities. He has been selected to speak at the School of Management recognition ceremony on May 15, and will also serve as the student speaker for the professional schools’ Commencement on May 16. In addition, Hoch was honored this year with the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the Binghamton University Foundation Award for Volunteer Service. He is a member of Psi Chi, the psychology national honor society; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; and is a United States Achievement Academy All-American Collegiate Scholar. He is also the inaugural recipient of the Paul Battaglia Memorial Award and was a finalist for the University’s Exemplary Student Award in 2002.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08