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Commencement 2006
3,633 receive degrees in three ceremonies

By : Rachel Coker

Binghamton University's campus thrummed with pride and jubilation Saturday and Sunday as 3,633 students received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees during the 56th commencement.

Members of the largest graduating class in Binghamton's history celebrated their achievements with friends and relatives in three large ceremonies at the Events Center as well as in smaller recognition ceremonies at sites across campus.

Students, wearing shoes ranging from precariously high heels to brightly colored rain boots, splashed their way from the West Gym to the Events Center. Bad weather couldn't dampen their spirits, though; many had decorated their mortarboards with messages to their parents as well as rhinestones, flowers, tiaras and even stuffed animals.

'You will face many opportunities as well as challenges, and all of these involve risk taking,' University President Lois B. DeFleur told the graduates.

She emphasized that she wasn't talking about risks like those seen on Fear Factor, but rather moments in life that would require courage and determination. 'Don't be afraid to make decisions that may seem out of the ordinary,' DeFleur said.

Like DeFleur, Joseph Bress '66, president of the Alumni Association, addressed all three ceremonies. He offered the graduates his congratulations but also conveyed the high expectations alumni have for them. 'No matter where you go now, you will be defined in part as alumni of Binghamton,' he said, 'and, in part, Binghamton University will be defined by you.'

The University conferred three honorary degrees Saturday and Sunday. Graduates also heard from one of their peers at each of the ceremonies.

Erwin Goldberg '51, an eminent reproductive biologist who teaches at Northwestern University, received a doctor of science degree during Saturday's Graduate Ceremony. In introducing him, Provost Mary Ann Swain noted that he was named 'Outstanding Man' in his class, the first to graduate from Harpur College.

Goldberg told the graduates that personal inte

Binghamton University students celebrate after receiving their bachelor's degrees Sunday at the Events Center.
ractions with colleagues and students have been the most rewarding part of his life. He spoke with enthusiasm about his career as a scientist.

'I never grow tired of reading journals, designing experiments, writing grants — well, maybe not that so much,' he said. 'The academic life, meeting students, interacting with all these bright young minds like those I speak to today is a real joy.'

Economics doctoral student Christopher Parmeter, who has accepted a teaching position at Virginia Tech, addressed the 820 graduates.

Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, was given a doctor of humane letters degree during the Professional Schools Ceremony on Sunday. Her speech recounted her trip to a Simon and Garfunkel concert and the deep disappointment she felt as she realized the failings of her generation.

'I not only hope you will do better than we did, I know you will,' she told the graduates. 'I'm counting on it. Over to you, and congratulations.'

Jordan Peck, recipient of bachelor's degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, spoke to the 995 graduates of the Watson and Decker schools as well as the School of Management and the School of Education and Human Development.

Evelyn Glennie, a deaf percussionist from Scotland who has performed twice on campus, received a doctor of music degree during Sunday's Harpur College Ceremony.

She told the graduates in a charming brogue that she committed herself to making a difference at the tender age of 12, and noted that this 'mantra' has required her to expect a lot of herself and others.

'As you lie in your beds at night, ask yourself, 'Who or what has inspired me today, and who have I been able to inspire?' Remember that each of our individual life paths cannot be retraced because each of us is an original being,' Glennie said.

Jeffrey Teitelbaum, recipient of a bachelor's degree in psychology, addressed the 1,818 Harpur graduates. Both of his parents are University alumni.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08