Alumni Connect - April 2018

Outstanding achievement recognized at Alumni Association awards ceremony

By Steve Seepersaud

Christopher Ullman '86 arrived at Manhattan's Edison Ballroom just as his name was being called to receive a Medal of Distinguished Service from the Alumni Association. While the timing seemed almost perfect, that's not the way he would've planned it. A Nor'easter hampered travel from his home in Washington.

As if the grand entrance wasn't enough, the international whistling champion gave an impromptu performance with Broadway composer and producer Neil Berg '86 accompanying on piano (See video). On a night that was meant to celebrate the Binghamton spirit, that may have been the most striking example of making the most of circumstances and demonstrating excellence.

The Alumni Association recognized Ullman and 13 other Binghamton University graduates March 22 at its annual Special Recognition Awards Ceremony, held in New York for the second consecutive year. As it did in 2017, the event also included performances by alumni and friends in musical theater.

Steven Klein '77, a neuroradiologist at Hudson Valley Radiology Associates in Rockland County, N.Y., received the Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumnus/a Award for his excellence in the medical field, assistance to Harpur College pre-med students and engagement with the Binghamton University Parents Council.

"If my son [Daniel Klein 15, MS '16] chose not to go to Binghamton, I wouldn't be as involved as I am today," Klein said. "He was so welcomed by the University that my wife [Joanne (Edell) Klein '80] and I felt an obligation to give back to the University." (See a video of Klein's award presentation and remarks.)

Elaine Weyuker '66, an acclaimed engineer and computer scientist who is a member of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Engineering, received the Alumni Achievement Award. She is a university distinguished professor at the University of Central Florida and a visiting professor at Malardalen University in Sweden.

"I've won a whole bunch of national and international awards, some of which are very prestigious, but this is the most important one I've won," Weyuker said. "That's because [Binghamton] is where I began. And, I believe that were it not for my education at Binghamton, my life trajectory would have been very different." (See a video of Weyuker's award presentation and remarks.)

Adam Fox '92, assistant professor of surgery and section chief of trauma at Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School, is the recipient of the Edward Weisband Distinguished Alumnus/a Award for Public Service or Contribution to Public Affairs. He was instrumental to bringing "Stop the Bleed" to Binghamton University; it's a nationwide campaign that trains people to control bleeding in injured patients while they wait for medical care to arrive. In an emotional acceptance speech, Fox said he continues to be inspired by fellow trauma doctor Army Maj. John Pryor '88, who died Christmas Day in 2009 when a mortar round struck near his living quarters in Iraq.

"From taking care of trauma patients, to educating the next generation of clinicians to traveling around the world to educate or operate, or ultimately, my involvement with Binghamton, I've been so deeply satisfied that I've never once thought about being granted an award," Fox said. (see a video of Fox's award presentation and remarks)

Natalie Elisha '09, founder and CEO of the estate planning business Family Gold, received the Lois B. DeFleur Distinguished Young Alumnus/a Award. She became an attorney at age 23 and owned her own million-dollar law firm before turning 26. She's an active mentor to current Binghamton students.

"I'm so honored and so humbled, and I believe this recognition is because I go back and make sure that Binghamton students are successful, empowered and inspired to really be changemakers in the world," she said. (See a video of Elisha's award presentation and remarks.)

The Alumni Association presented Medals of Distinguished Service to the following people, recognizing their volunteer service to the University.

  • Charles N. Aswad '53 (School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences)
  • Marc S. Bekerman '89 (Undergraduate Admissions)
  • Andrew Bonzani '86 (Harpur College)
  • Richard C. David, MPA '02 (College of Community and Public Affairs)
  • Cathleen M. Ellsworth '86 (Athletics)
  • Sheldon D. Fields '91, MS '95 (Educational Opportunity Program)
  • Tonya O. Parris '92 (Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science)
  • Christopher W. Ullman '86 (Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development)
  • Stephen J. Wolf '86 (School of Management)
  • Nancy J. Wolf '90, MS '93 (Decker School of Nursing)

Berg and Pat McGuinness '85 produced the musical entertainment and led the alumni ensemble (See the opening number, a Binghamton take on Hamilton.); Robin O'Leary '88 was choreographer. Vocalists Lisa Bryce, MM '03 (See video), Berg's wife Rita Harvey (See video), and Kevin Reed (See video) gave solo performances. Rosemarie Castellano '95 accompanied on violin.

Check out the Binghamton University blog to learn more about our award recipients, and see photos from the event at our Shutterfly site.


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