Lifelong Learning: TIER Talks


This speaker series leverages Binghamton's greatest assets — our alumni and faculty — to give you thought-provoking perspectives on topics that are front of mind in today's world.


On Thursday, May 16, two Binghamton alumni will present the topic "Red, White, Blue and Gray: Opportunities and Challenges of an Aging America."

We're living longer. It's a good thing! Though many people associate aging with a deteriorating quality of life, it doesn't have to be that way. In this online TIER Talks event, a gerontological researcher and a wealth management attorney will discuss how getting older can be happier, healthier and wiser when approached in a purposeful way. This interactive program will discuss the latest societal trends in America, the importance of maintaining social networks in our later years, and planning for old age in a legal and financial context.

Our featured speakers will be:
Lenard Kaye '72
Professor of Social Work and Director of the Center on Aging, The University of Maine

Deborah Howe '01
Estate Planning Attorney, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP


At Homecoming 2023, Libby Tucker — Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric — was our featured speaker for "Campus Ghost Stories and Other Folklore." The Lake Lieberman Monster. Sam the Snacker. Charlene the folder of pink laundry. Although not enshrined in the University's history in any formal way, these characters and others have lived on for ages through stories told to countless students in Binghamton's residence halls. Tucker told several ghost stories and discussed other aspects of our University's rich folklore. 


On May 16, we presented the topic "A Place to Call Home? A critical look at the NYC housing market." The pandemic accelerated existing dynamics in New York's housing market: volatile sales prices across the city, all-time high rent prices, buyers and renters opting for transitioning sections of Brooklyn and Queens, and young professionals finding it difficult to start life on their own. This webinar discussed market trends affecting those looking to move in or move up, and examined public policy and advocacy efforts to ensure that fair and affordable housing remains a right, not a privilege. 

Our featured speakers were:
Rory Clark '05 - award-winning residential real estate broker at Brown Harris Stevens.
Joseph Jones '07 - director of policy advocacy and research for FPWA, an anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization



At Homecoming 2022, we presented "Decision 2022: A Critical Look at the Midterm Election." Binghamton alumni with expertise and experience in public policy, lobbying, voter engagement, advocacy and public opinion explored how people can advocate for themselves during and between election cycles.

The speakers were Perry Ochacher ’84, founder and president of Willett Public Affairs; and Nicole Yearwood ’97, MPA ’98, founder and CEO of Educated Voter.

On May 11, 2022, we presented the webinar "The Future of K-12 Education". The COVID-19 pandemic has made the last two years incredibly difficult on students, parents and teachers. Multiple shifts between in-person and virtual classrooms have interrupted learning. Existing academic and socioeconomic gaps have been exposed and enlarged. Students are falling behind, some more than others. As we look forward to a time when society has moved past the pandemic, education will need to further evolve. What does the school of the future look and feel like? How do curricula and physical spaces need to adapt to meet students’ future needs? How do we make students whole for what they’ve lost?

Our featured speakers were:

  • Anna Bear Dallis '11, MS '14 – Principal, Excel Lower School in Brooklyn
  • Larry Dake, MAT '03, MA '04, EdD ’14 – Assistant Superintendent, Binghamton City School District
  • Tracy Lyman '99, MSEd '01 – clinical faculty for Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership, Binghamton University
  • Rachel Murat, MA '00 – 2020 New York State Teacher of the Year; social studies teacher, Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, N.Y.

At Homecoming 2021, we presented the program "Reaching the Masses: Meet Alumni Social Media Influencers." This event showcased alumni who have built social media followings in order to grow brands or effect social change. We also explored the macro-level effects of social media and what tomorrow's influencers could look like. 

Our speakers were:
Armand Khatri '09
Partner Manager, Pinterest  

Sydney Sherman '17, MBA '18
Senior Community Development Manager

Chris Strub '07
Social Media Consultant 
CEO of I Am Here, LLC

On April 27, Tracy Brooks was the featured speaker for "Taking Aim: Developing Effective Cancer Therapies." Brooks is associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and the inaugural Menner Family Endowed Faculty Fellow at Binghamton University. She discussed her research in oncology, anti-cancer therapies and the development of new targets for cancer-fighting drugs.

At Homecoming 2020, our TIER Talks session featured four faculty members who discussed the pathbreaking work they're engaged in with support from the Harpur College Advocacy Council Faculty Development Endowment. This internal grants program provides seed funding for Harpur faculty-led projects that have potential to lead to external funding.

Our topics and speakers were:
Drone-based Thermal Infrared Detection of Plastic Antipersonnel Landmines
Timothy de Smet, research assistant professor of environmental visualization 
Alex Nikulin '05, assistant professor of geological sciences and environmental studies

Documenting Judeo-Spanish (Ladino)
Bryan Kirschen '07, MA '08, assistant professor of romance languages, literature and linguistics

Natural Causes - a new play
Elizabeth Mozer, associate professor of theatre


At Homecoming 2019, we presented "Mission Possible: Alumni Changing the World." Three alumni speakers discussed the humanitarian work they are engaging in - from healthcare to education to international relations - and how Binghamton University inspired their journey toward making a far-reaching impact. 

Svetlana Iyer '01, MSEd '03
Co-founder, Iyer Educational Institutions

Nadia Rubaii '85, MA '87, PhD '91
Professor of Public Administration, Binghamton University
Co-Director, Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention

William Schecter '68, MD, FACS
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Surgery, University of California San Francisco

On April 11, 2019, we offered the program "Life Without Limitation" which featured a Binghamton University alumnus and faculty member.  

Dan Kosick '00, MSW '06 spoke about his journey from cancer survivor and amputee to elite athlete. 

George Catalano, professor of biomedical engineering, advised a team of students that used 3-D printing to produce an artificial hand for a longtime campus employee who lost a limb in an industrial accident. 

On Oct. 6, 2018, three alumni discussed "The Effects of Climate Change," one of the most salient examples of humankind victimized by its own success. In this video Amy J. Hyatt '78 the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Palau, Tasfia Nayem '14 a master's candidate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, where she is studying climate economics and policy, and Seth Schultz '01 who serves as the special advisor on science & innovation to the Global Covenant of Mayors, all came to campus to speak. Watch the full talk here. 

Amy J. Hyatt '78
United States Ambassador to the Republic of Palau

Tasfia Nayem '14
Senior Science and Policy Editor of Duke Law School's environmental law journal

Seth Schultz '01
Special advisor on science and innovation to the Global Covenant of Mayors

On Oct. 7, 2017 two alumni and a current student discussed why virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are important now and will be more so in the coming 10 years. The session "Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: The Future Is Now!" was held on the Binghamton University campus during Homecoming 2017. VR takes you almost anywhere you want without leaving wherever you are. Fly through space, take video gaming to the next level, or golf the world's finest courses. AR adds to what you see and gives you a taste of being a bionic superhero. Imagine a cancer-fighting doctor aided by enhanced medical imaging, or a soldier on the battlefield armed with data on potential dangers. See the full session in the media player below. Links underneath the player will take you to breakout videos of each panelist.

Mario Palumbo '87
Director of Technology for Wearable Devices, Intel's New Devices Group

Hiren Bhinde, MS '05
Director of Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies

Matthew Gill '18
Co-founder, Enhance VR

The first TIER Talks event offered in Westchester County, N.Y., took place Sept. 27, 2017. A panel including two Binghamton University alumni discussed "From Reefer Madness to America's Fastest-Growing Industry: The Evolution of Cannabis." See the full session in the media player below. Links underneath the player will take you to breakout videos of each panelist.

Yasmin Hurd '82 
Ward Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine
Director, Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System Addiction Institute

Neil Kaufman '81 
Managing Member, Kaufman & Associates, LLC, Corporate & Securities Counsel to the Legal Cannabis Industry

Debra Borchardt 
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer,Green Market Media

Matthew Greene 
Managing Partner, 420Group, LLC

The discussion “Our Political System on life support: A discussion on critical intervention as well as long-term care” took place at Homecoming 2016. Alumni and friends enjoyed a lively talk about the polarization of the American voters as well as the news media they consume, and how the lack of civic education has made it difficult for Americans to participate effectively in the political process. See the full session in the media player below. Links underneath the player will take you to breakout videos of each panelist.

Jean W. Harris ’82, MA ’86, PhD ’88
Professor, Political Science and Women's Studies
University of Scranton
Coordinator, Ready to Run Northeast Pennsylvania

Matthew R. Kerbel ’80
Professor and Chair of Political Science
Villanova University

David A. Schultz ’80, MA ’86
Professor of Political Science
Hamline University

"Chaos in the 21st Century? The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy"
was the topic for the first TIER Talks event held in New York City. The discussion on April 5, 2016, took place at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, and was an eye-opener on the position of the U.S. within the sphere of global politics. Our speakers were Eric Schwartz '79, former UN and White House official; and Ricardo Rene Laremont, professor of political science and sociology at Binghamton University. See the full session in the media player below.

"Making Waves: Mind-Blowing Breakthroughs in Neuroscience" took place at Homecoming 2015.
More than 350 alumni and friends enjoyed a lively discussion about pathways inside the brain, with implications for addictions, depression, neuropsychological disorders and cybersecurity. See the full session in the media player. Links below take you to breakout videos of each panelist.

Steve Treistman '67
Professor of Neurobiology
University of Puerto Rico

Christopher Bishop
Professor of Psychology
Binghamton University

Brandon Gibb
Professor of Psychology
Binghamton University

Sarah Laszlo
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
Binghamton University

Rethinking Success: Thriving in the Modern World
was the subject of the inaugural TIER Talks, held on campus during Homecoming 2014. Fred Luskin '76, director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, joined three Binghamton faculty members in discussing what people should value in life and how they should define success. See the full session in the media player below. If you don't have time to watch the full discussion, we provide links below to breakout videos of each panelist.

Kimberly Jaussi

Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Binghamton University School of Management
Fellow, Center for Leadership Studies

Matthew D. Johnson
Professor of Psychology, Binghamton University
Director, Marriage and Family Studies Laboratory

Frederic Luskin '76
Director, Stanford Forgiveness Project
Author of Forgive for Good, published by Harper Collins

Christopher Morgan-Knapp
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Binghamton University