INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Excellence Awards 2007
The following people will be honored Oct. 24 at the annual Excellence Awards Dinner
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
This award recognizes superior teaching in full-time instructors at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level.
C. Beth Burch has taught in the School of Education since 1994, earning a reputation as an outstanding and versatile professor who performs superbly in the classroom and is known for her student-centered focus. Burch, who oversees the MAT and MSEd programs in English, previously served as director of the Division of Education. Burch is known for the rigor of her teaching and assessments, her flexibility in including student input in course design, her high expectations for herself and her students and the thoroughness with which she integrates technology into her teaching. Former students praise her depth of knowledge, passion for teaching and care and compassion. She develops future teachers in a manner that provides them with both subject matter knowledge and pedagogy. She has written or co-authored seven books; seven chapters, anthologies or collections; 11 essays; and several refereed articles. She has also directed or co-directed 10 grant-funded projects in support of teachers’ professional development. She commits an extraordinary amount of time to helping students, having mentored or advised about 170 master’s candidates in English education during the past 12 years. Burch serves her department and the University, is active in the National Council of Teachers of English and presents at conferences throughout the country. She holds a doctorate in English from Purdue University.
George D. Catalano, professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering, earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia before joining Binghamton’s faculty. In 2005, he also became director of the Binghamton University Scholars Program. He encourages students to think critically about important issues and can distill complex topics into information that a diverse group of students can understand. He motivates students to learn about the world and to find ways to improve it, offering them unique perspectives and innovative approaches to problem solving. Students say he is generous with his time. The author of two books and dozens of journal articles, Catalano organizes a popular annual conference that addresses issues of ethics, justice and engineering. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Institute for Student-Centered Learning and conducts workshops on problem solving that enable other faculty to improve their teaching. He was instrumental in establishing an active chapter of Engineering Without Borders on campus. He also served as the faculty adviser to a team of students who designed, built and raced the Watson School’s first Formula SAE mini-Indy racecar. The team took “Best First-Year Team” honors.
Shelley D. Dionne, associate professor in the School of Management, teaches courses ranging from large undergraduate classes to small classes in the Executive MBA Program. She believes in focusing on the individual and is known for her ability to affect students’ lives through her teaching. Dionne creates opportunities for students to better understand themselves and others. Through the volunteer-based community projects that are part of her team-leadership classes, more than 750 hours of community service have been provided to Greater Binghamton. Dionne received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Binghamton. She has written or co-written 17 journal articles, co-authored one book and two technical reports and presented at more than a dozen conferences. She serves as a reviewer for several journals and organizations and sits on the editorial board of the Leadership Quarterly. She has been director of the Southern Tier Leadership Academy for the past three years and is a faculty fellow of the Center for Leadership Studies. Dionne has chaired the School of Management’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and served as a member of the University’s Experiential Education Committee. She advises students in the Professional MBA Program and in the student chapters of Beta Gamma Sigma and the Society of Human Resource Management.
Mark L. Fowler joined Binghamton in 1999, following a successful career in industry. An associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, he has earned a reputation as an enthusiastic teacher who cares deeply about his students. Peers comment on the thoroughness of his course materials and his ability to combine learning techniques to illustrate difficult topics. Students remark on how skillfully Fowler moves his lectures from broad concepts to details in a way they can easily follow. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Binghamton and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn State University. Since coming to Binghamton, Fowler has garnered considerable research funding and published eight papers in refereed journals, a book chapter and 30 conference papers. He holds six patents and is a frequently sought-after presenter. He is a member of a number of professional organizations, serving on committees and as a proposal reviewer. His exemplary service commitment extends to the Watson School and the University, where his work chairing the Electrical and Computer Engineering Undergraduate Studies Committee and developing a new online course for the electrical engineering program are of note.
Wendy L. Martinek, associate professor of political science, believes in presenting material to students that provokes thought and discussion, often challenging them to grapple with difficult issues of constitutional law. She has guided the intellectual development, research skills and teaching prowess of a host of graduate students. She has taught numerous undergraduates how to think about law and the courts and, most important, to be thoughtful about and engaged by our legal system. Students seek her out as an instructor and mentor, and appreciate her accessibility and interest in them. Martinek directs the department’s Honors Program, co-founded the Women in Political Science Group, was nominated for the Graduate School Faculty Excellence Award for graduate mentoring and directed a dissertation that won a national award. She has had nine peer-reviewed publications since 2002, and has a book, Judging on a Collegial Court, forthcoming. She has also had a book chapter published, with another soon to come, and has completed a number of book reviews. She has presented papers or served as a chair or panelist at more than 30 conferences, and remains active in service to the University and her discipline. She earned a doctorate from Michigan State University.
Florenz Plassmann, an associate professor of economics, joined Binghamton’s faculty in 1999 after earning a doctorate at Virginia Tech. He is described as a superlative teacher, committed to teaching students that the “why” is often more important than the “how.” Plassmann believes students benefit most from understanding the origins, purposes and limitations behind techniques because this permits them to modify these tools and apply them on their own. Though his graduate and undergraduate courses are demanding, students appreciate his passion for the material and his open mind. He devotes a great deal of time to students outside the classroom, assisting them with coursework as well as serving as an adviser and mentor. Students often credit him with inspiring them to choose a career in economics. His committee service at the department and University levels affects curriculum. Among the many examples of this are the weekly departmental seminars he organizes. These seminars, designed for scholars to present their new research, are attended by the majority of the economics faculty and doctoral candidates in the department. As a result of his research, he has published or has forthcoming more than a dozen refereed articles in several academic journals. He is a referee for five journals and four publishers.
Benita L. Roth, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies, received a doctorate in sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles. She joined the Binghamton faculty in 1998. Known for her extensive preparation, she fosters a classroom environment where students are at ease asking questions and expressing their views. Colleagues have remarked about her dedication, diligence and the sheer passion of her teaching, noting that her courses are grounded in a deep knowledge of relevant scholarship. Students admire and enjoy her teaching style, and characterize her as energetic, knowledgeable, honest, humorous and accessible. Her contribution to the field of sociology is stellar. In 2006, her book, Separate Roads to Feminism, was honored with the Distinguished Book Award of the American Sociological Association. Roth is the leading theorist on the interaction of feminism and race, as well as her department’s most important methodologist on the correct and ethical use of oral interviewing. She often lends her expertise and teaching skills to others, collaborating with the Department of History. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reviews. She is a sought-after speaker at seminars, conferences and workshops. She also participates in a number of professional organizations.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
Douglas H. Summerville, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has served the Watson School and the University in an exceptional manner since joining Binghamton in 1999. He took a leadership position in the development of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering into an accredited program, and in 2006 was named director of the Computer Engineering Program. He has served on eight departmental committees, four of which he chaired, including the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Colleagues note that his administrative activities and leadership skills are not his only strengths; his commitment to education and learning is also impressive. He goes beyond the basics of teaching and works to help all students learn and to have fun while doing so. He is a co-principal investigator of several funded research projects in the area of hardware-based approaches to computer network security, and has produced more than 30 publications. He is generous with his time, participating in student recruitment, mentoring current students and serving on committees at all levels of the University. He helps coordinate a state-level workshop related to cyber security and two international workshops in his research area, and serves as a paper and proposal reviewer. Summerville earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Binghamton.
Al Vos, associate professor in the Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric, received his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. He joined Harpur College in 1970, and since that time has placed a priority on helping students, in and out of the classroom. For 13 years, he served as director of the English Department’s undergraduate program. During that time he advised more than 700 students, more than the rest of the faculty combined. A dedicated faculty master in Hinman College since 1998, Vos has enriched our unique residential college system in a variety of ways. On the long list of his service commitments to Binghamton, his involvement with the Faculty Senate also stands out. In addition to serving one term as chair and one as secretary, he served four terms on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and four terms as chair of the Faculty Senate Educational Policy and Priorities Committee. He has also been a leader in faculty development and the creation of projects to improve undergraduate teaching. He works with the Center for Learning and Teaching and the Institute for Student-Centered Learning. Vos, campus organizer and coordinator of the Books for Africa campaign, also contributes time and expertise to other community initiatives.
Lisa Yun received her doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and joined Binghamton’s faculty in 1999, moving from assistant professor to associate professor of English, General Literature and Rhetoric. She has served Harpur College in a number of ways, including participation on several college committees. She also took on the duties of graduate placement director, working closely with more than a dozen graduate students to prepare them for the job application and interview process. Yun played a key role in the development of the University’s Asian and Asian American Studies Program, helping craft the program’s mission statement. As its first associate director, she helped the program grow from a certificate program into a full-fledged major as well as to secure a generous grant. She serves on or chairs several committees relating to Asian and Asian American Studies, all while remaining committed to her students. Yun created the Community Internship Program, which places students in a range of organizations, agencies and offices in New York City that relate in some way to Asian communities or Asian cultures. Additionally, her scholarship has made her a popular invited lecturer around the nation.
University Award for Excellence in International Education
This award recognizes Binghamton faculty and staff for outstanding efforts in support of the University’s long-standing commitment to internationalization.
Floyd R. Herzog holds a doctorate from Ohio University in comparative arts, encompassing theater, music, painting, architecture and literature. As director/producer of the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts, he has advanced the University’s focus on international education and cross-cultural experiences with his outstanding stage presentations that are often accompanied by supporting events. He carefully considers each production for its place in furthering the University’s commitment to international education. He explores every avenue for broadening the international component of every presentation, often working with academic departments, the University Art Museum, other offices and outside entities. Under Herzog’s leadership, the Anderson Center has been at the forefront of introducing experiences from cultures such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Greece, the Philippines, Malaysia and many African nations. He is developing opportunities for the Anderson Center to expand the University’s ongoing ties with the Republic of Turkey through artistic and cultural events. He has served as a leader in placing the University among the few institutions of higher education that are celebrated for leadership in international education.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
This award recognizes faculty who consistently engage in and have established a solid record of scholarship and creative productivity in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
Patricia M. Di Lorenzo, professor of psychology, is an internationally recognized leader in taste research and the recipient of numerous grants, including projects that have received substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health. Her work has had a major impact on the field and is likely to change the way physiologists and psychologists think about the coding of taste. For several decades, her work has been distinguished by its quantitative rigor. While other investigators were measuring single neural responses to taste stimuli, she stressed the importance of more technically demanding experiments in which the statistics of the responses were measured. The methods she championed are now recognized as critical in understanding the sensory experience of taste. Di Lorenzo is known for her clarity of presentation in and out of the classroom. She has been an invited lecturer at more than a dozen national and international meetings. She has presented 70 abstracts and papers. She serves as professor and director of the undergraduate program in psychobiology and was formerly director of the graduate program in behavioral neuroscience. A member of and reviewer for many professional organizations, she holds a doctorate in biopsychology from the University of Rochester.
Jessica Fridrich, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is a leading scholar in the areas of information security, steganography, steganalysis, digital watermarking and forensics of digital media. Her research has been generously funded by federal agencies, and her achievements are frequently incorporated in military and law enforcement systems. In the last decade, she has been awarded 18 research grants, and her work has led to seven patents and generated 83 research papers. Her work has brought greater visibility and a number of gifted students to Binghamton. She believes sharing knowledge and bringing up the next generation of talented engineers is as important as discovering new knowledge, and she works hard to instill in her students an awareness of the effect their work may have on society. Fridrich is devoted to serving her professional community. Among her many commitments are serving as a frequent participant and coordinator of several technical conferences, reviewer for numerous journals and associate editor and co-founder of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Information Forensics and Security. She earned a doctorate in systems science at Binghamton.
M. Stanley Whittingham, professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering, received a doctorate in solid state chemistry from Oxford University. He spent two decades in industry, distinguishing himself as a researcher, manager and scientist before joining the Binghamton faculty in 1988. Whittingham, founding director of the University’s Institute for Materials Research, is known nationally and internationally as a prolific scientist. He holds 16 patents, has authored nearly 200 publications and has served as an invited speaker on hundreds of occasions. Since his arrival at the University, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy have continuously and generously supported his research. For the last five years, he has continued his award-winning work in the development of materials for batteries, while helping to establish a Materials Science Program in chemistry, physics and geology. The creative and multidisciplinary nature of his work has provided opportunities for study and growth to a large number of scholars. Whittingham has served the scientific community through his appointment to leadership positions with several professional societies. He has also served on the editorial boards of a number of materials chemistry journals.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service
This award recognizes those with extraordinary professional achievement who have repeatedly sought improvement of themselves, their campuses and ultimately, the State University of New York, and in doing so, have transcended the normal definitions of excellence.
Larry Cass has been with Binghamton University for almost 30 years, working in the areas of financial aid and student accounts. As director of student accounts, he is responsible for all billing, receipting and collection of University revenue, as well as the processing and disbursement of student financial aid. His work encompasses strict adherence to federal and state regulations regarding residency and financial aid, and he performs those tasks with the utmost attention to detail. He has applied his technical skills to improve operations in his department, and has also demonstrated an ability to foster interdepartmental projects. Having spent his entire professional career at Binghamton, where he received his master’s degree in history, Cass has touched the lives of countless scholars. Were it not for his help in completing applications for financial aid, many applicants may not have become matriculated students. He was also instrumental in developing procedures for the University’s Educational Opportunity Program. Through involvement on committees, he has fostered and maintained an outstanding working relationship with students, campus departments and administrators, banking partners, the State University of New York Central Administration and the New York State Higher Education Corporation.
Sharon Santobuono, associate director of student services, serves as a guide, friend and mentor to students in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. Whether she is helping students choose courses, answering career and graduate school questions, explaining policies and procedures, maintaining a liaison relationship with other campus offices or helping students access campus resources, she exhibits outstanding concern for students. She often works beyond routine office hours. Her sense of humor and rapport with others make her popular among students, faculty and staff. Faculty members remark about the extraordinary advising she provides, working in creative ways to find solutions to problems and advising students about their best academic paths. A member on many University and school committees, Santobuono has the ability to bring together competing interests and foster conversations that lead to sound decisions for students and staff alike. She is a subtle negotiator and a creative thinker who offers practical and efficient solutions to challenging issues. The recipient of several University awards over the past decade, she earned a bachelor of science degree in applied science and a master of arts degree in social science from Binghamton.
Heather C. Struck holds a juris doctor from George Washington University School of Law. A member of the bar in Virginia, Delaware and New York, her previous professional experience includes positions as staff attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Struck, who came to Binghamton in 1995 as a pre-law adviser in the Academic Advising Office of Harpur College, is now director of pre-law services. Her experience contributes significantly to the effectiveness of the advising office. As a result of her efforts, Binghamton has developed a reputation as an effective jumping-off point for law school. Students who pass through her office appreciate her commitment, insights, attention to detail and caring manner. Among her many professional activities are conducting pre-law orientations, coordinating the annual Binghamton University Law Fair and Law Admissions Panel, writing letters for law applicants, advising the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity and the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and collaborating with Harpur Law Council alumni. She is a member of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors, the Law School Admission Council and the Pre-Law Advisors National Council.
University Award for Excellence in Classified Service
This award recognizes superb performance in fulfilling the job description for the position held, supported by evidence of excellent work and high degrees of reliability, resourcefulness and initiative.
Heather Crandall earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Cazenovia College before joining Binghamton in 2001 as secretary for the Liberty Partnership and GEAR UP programs. These two community outreach programs in the School of Education work to help youths succeed in school and life. In her role as secretary, she coordinates programmatic support for three principal investigators, two program directors and eight University outreach staff members stationed in local school districts. She serves as an on-campus base of operations for program staff and volunteers, and has worked to create a disciplined environment where the challenges associated with meeting deadlines and balancing heavy workloads are met. She is detail oriented and known for her creative problem solving. Her communication and coordination skills are outstanding, and whether she is working with program volunteers, staff, program partners or departments on campus and off, people respond well to her warmth, enthusiasm and efficiency. Her colleagues commend her dedication and willingness to do more than expected and point out that she has been instrumental in bringing additional resources to the programs by working to solicit donations of clothing, school supplies and funding from corporate and nonprofit organizations in the region.
Sandra T. Glemby has served the Department of Political Science for nine years, providing outstanding support as secretary to the department chair as well as graduate secretary. Her commitment to not only fulfilling, but also going above and beyond her specified duties is well known among faculty and graduate students. She plays a significant role in graduate recruitment by responding to the multitude of program inquiries and managing all the department’s application materials. She assists the director in coordinating graduate student funding allocations and assignments, graduate student office space and in providing support for graduate students. Students hold her in high regard, depend on her and appreciate her hard work and guidance. As secretary to the department chair, she handles all budgetary and personnel matters and correspondence. She accomplishes all tasks with extraordinary skill and good humor, and her work is always of outstanding quality. A graduate of Broome Community College with an associate’s degree in business administration, Glemby joined the University in 1989.
Binghamton University Council/Foundation Awards
These awards recognize extraordinary commitment to the campus community. Faculty/staff and student recipients are selected for their contributions to the strength and vitality of the University.
Donald D. Blake received his doctorate from Binghamton and has been at the forefront of advancing the University’s mission for 33 years. He joined Binghamton in 1974 as a senior adviser. Since then he has been director of academic advising, interim chair of the Cinema Department and assistant dean for new student programs. He is associate dean for academic affairs in Harpur College; an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric; and director of the SUNY Upstate Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program funded by the National Institutes of Health. He possesses a broad academic perspective and a deep knowledge of Harpur College and Binghamton University, and his service to the University is extraordinary. As chair of Harpur College’s Curriculum and Educational Planning and Policies committees, he has initiated or directed most of the college’s curricular changes during the past 15 years. Additionally, he has served on or chaired hundreds of committees, task forces and teams, many of which dealt with difficult or controversial subjects such as academic integrity, academic standards, academic honesty and educational requirements. He has been a tireless advocate of developing support systems for student information and was the driving force on campus for the installation of a student advising system that ultimately became the Degree Audit Reporting System. Blake is universally respected and admired.
Steven P. Scalet, associate professor of philosophy and economics, received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arizona and joined Binghamton’s faculty in 1999. He has been a strong supporter of the Philosophy, Politics and Law (PPL) Program and is responsible in many ways for its success. He serves as director of the program and also designed and implemented a five-year combined bachelor’s-master’s program in PPL. He was critical to the establishment of the PPL Institute, working closely with Owen Pell, a graduate of the PPL program who provided funding for this initiative. This institute includes a visiting scholars program that brings world-renowned philosophers to campus. Scalet has contributed countless hours as a faculty fellow in Hinman College and College-in-the-Woods and served as the faculty adviser for The Binghamton Prospect student-run newspaper. His service to Binghamton includes participation on University-wide and department committees. He has numerous influential publications and was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004. Since 1999, he has served on the Institutional Review Board of Lourdes Hospital. He also serves on the hospital’s Ethics Committee. His commitment to others extends to his work for Meals on Wheels of Binghamton, for which he delivers food, warmth and friendship to some of the neediest members of our community.
Alumni Association Awards
The Edward Weisband Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service
The award recognizes a graduate whose life, work, career and contributions exemplify the highest standards of public service and deepest dedication to public affairs and sustenance of the common good at home and abroad.
Minnie Battle Mayes ’75 received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Binghamton and a master’s degree in international administration from the School for International Training. In 1972-73, Binghamton created its first African Studies Committee; it consisted of faculty and administrators and was led by Edward Weisband. Assigned to serve as a student representative on the committee, Battle Mayes received a scholarship to attend a summer seminar in African studies due to her work on the committee. After the six-week seminar at the University of Liberia and the University of Ife in Nigeria, she went on to pursue a career in international human assistance. Her service has included community development work with CARE in Cameroon, work in Vietnamese refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore and now a position in international education with a focus on study abroad and global understanding. As interim director of the Office of International Programs for the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a program she created in 1999, she works to enhance international educational experiences and awareness for students and faculty. She also serves as an interpreter for the U.S. Information Agency, assigned to escort foreign visitors traveling under the educational and cultural exchange program for the U.S. Department of State or accompanying American performing artists abroad.
Glenn G. Bartle
The Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes and honors a graduate who has distinguished himself or herself since graduating from the University and serves as a memorial to Glenn G. Bartle, first president of Harpur College. The award honors alumni who have served the University through the Alumni Association and the Foundation while also serving their communities, their careers and their country.
Owen C. Pell ’80 received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Binghamton and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia. A partner with the law firm of White & Case in New York City, his areas of practice include complex litigation involving commercial, securities and bankruptcy issues; foreign sovereigns and their state-owned entities; and issues of public international law. Among his achievements are the formulation of a proposal to create a clearinghouse and dispute resolution entity to address claims related to art looted during the Holocaust, which the European Parliament adopted in 2004. On behalf of Binghamton University, he has twice served as a panelist discussing looted Holocaust art, and has traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak to a Binghamton alumni group before the screening of the acclaimed documentary The Rape of Europa featuring Professor Emeritus Kenneth Lindsay. He frequently returns to the University as a guest lecturer in politics, philosophy and law (PPL) and political science classes. He has served as an adjudicator for the PPL Honors Program Conference, hosted a law alumni reception and opened his home for a dialogue evening. He serves as a member of Binghamton’s Lead Gift Solicitation Team and consistently supports Binghamton’s academic mission. Most recently, he and his wife, Pearl, established the Pell Honors Program for undergraduate honors in philosophy and PPL.
Alumni Admissions Volunteer Recognition Award
The Admissions Volunteer Recognition Award recognizes a graduate who has served Binghamton University as an outstanding volunteer in an admissions capacity.
Gary Finkel ’79 earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Binghamton and has been a certified public accountant since 1981. He is a founding principal in Alliant Technologies, a leading information technology engineering and convergence company, where he has been chief financial officer since 1999. Before joining Alliant, he was chief financial officer of CyberShop.com, a Nasdaq-traded online retailer, and AlphaNet Solutions, a Nasdaq-traded information technology company based in New Jersey. He managed the financial and administrative areas of these companies, including directing successful initial public offerings for both. Additionally, he held financial management positions for Continental Health Affiliates, SONY Corporation and Price Waterhouse. He has assisted Binghamton’s Alumni Relations Office with programs in northern and central New Jersey. Finkel has a strong family connection to the University. His wife, Mindy, is a Binghamton alumna and his daughter, Dani, is studying accounting in the School of Management.
Kathleen Mazza ’83 earned a bachelor of science degree from the Decker School of Nursing. A registered nurse with additional certification in infusion nursing, she is director of Home Infusion Services for St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan. This organization delivers skilled nursing and rehabilitative services to those requiring home care in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. In addition, she teaches intravenous therapy courses and is a clinical instructor for the Registered Nurse Refresher Program at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. A strong Binghamton supporter, she has helped the University’s Admissions Office with numerous programs over the years. She served as a speaker at accepted student receptions in 2006 and 2007, and this year alone she assisted with no fewer than five admissions-related programs. She is an eloquent and thoughtful presenter who never fails to speak highly of Binghamton. Parents and prospective students find her articulate, forthright and easy to approach. Her son, Christopher, is a sophomore in the Watson School.
Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a person whose life and significant achievements serve as examples of the University’s aspirations for its students.
Mary Jane Harris embarked on a period of concentrated study in Italian art at New York University’s Institute of Fine Art in the 1960s, and then traveled to several exhibits in the United States and Europe. Equipped with vast knowledge, she began an extensive private collection of Italian Baroque Renaissance drawings and paintings. The Piero Corsini Gallery recognized her expertise and hired her. Along with her late husband, Morton, she has made significant contributions to the University since 1973. The Harris’ valuable gifts of a 16th-century polychromed woodcarving, nine 18th-century French watercolors, a 17th-century drawing by Genari and a 14th-century Spanish Romanesque woodcarving have enriched the University Art Museum’s permanent collection. Among the paintings she has bequested to the Art Museum are Gregorio Lazzerini’s Judith and Holofernes, the Giovanni Francesco Barbieri drawings Study for the Assumption of the Virgin and Angel and a pair of paintings by Baroque master Mauro Gandolfi. Other gifts helped the Art Museum acquire an outstanding selection of prints and publish a full-color catalog about the “Century of Silence” exhibit. Her gifts will have a impact on generations of students and visitors.