Well, That Was a Year: 2020 in 20 Photos

Posted by John Brhel, Photos by Jonathan Cohen on December 16, 2020


Well, That Was a Year: 2020 in 20 Photos

2020, huh? It was a life-changing year worldwide, and it certainly will go down as one of the most "memorable" in University history. COVID-19 changed so much of the campus experience, but the challenges it presented resulted in some impressive achievements from our faculty, staff and students. Massive societal events, like the presidential election and protests against racial injustice, impacted our community as well. And let’s not forget the largest donor gift in University history, the construction of our new Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences building, and more! There’s a lot to talk about. To sum things up, we’ve gathered 20 photos that tell the bigger story of Binghamton University in the year to end all years: 2020.

Students and faculty adjusted to a new way of learning

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From socially distanced in-person classes to Zoom courses, the learning experience was built around keeping students and faculty safe while continuing to offer a robust education. It was a challenge, but everyone stepped up to the plate. And hey, we got to see everyone’s cats.

Decker College got a new home

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Talk about an upgrade. An old Endicott Johnson Shoe Corp. factory in Johnson City, N.Y., was renovated into the state-of-the-art new home of the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The building is part of the University's Health Sciences Complex that includes the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Students spoke out over racial injustice

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A major protest movement over racial injustice broke out in the U.S. and around the world after the deaths of George Floyd and other African-Americans at the hands of police, and many in our community spoke out. Here Veronica Agyapomaa, a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program, poses with posters she carried during a Black Lives Matter protest that ended at Recreation Park.

An engineering student built a ventilator over a weekend

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When a professor concerned about the spreading COVID-19 pandemic challenged junior mechanical engineer major Jacob Goodman to build a working ventilator over a weekend, Goodman met the challenge head on, building one in his residence hall room using items he purchased at Walmart. No biggie! Here Jacob holds the prototype, which includes an innovative gear design to modulate a patient's breathing. 

We chatted with Nobel Prize-winning professor M. Stanley Whittingham

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Stan Whittingham made headlines worldwide when he, along with two other scientists, won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in developing the lithium-ion battery. His trip to Switzerland was a once-in-a-lifetime event, so President Stenger discussed the experience with him at a Binghamton University Forum event. Okay, we really can’t get over this. 

The Undergrounds got a sweet makeover

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The Undergrounds, located in the basement of the University Union, got a major upgrade, with new lighting, seating, floors, and more. The area now features a games area with re-felted pool tables, ping-pong and foosball tables; a reservable, active-learning space where students can work collaboratively on projects; and a refurbished bowling alley with a ramp to the lanes and automatic scoring with screens above the lanes. 

We danced -- at least six feet apart

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With large indoor gatherings on hiatus due to COVID-19, student groups got creative in order to meet up. That included the Binghamton Ballroom Dance Association. Here Amanda Schwab, vice president of the organization, leads a workshop near the Pegasus statue at Harpur Quad for anyone interested in learning ballroom dancing. 

Our researchers developed new tech to address COVID-19

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It didn’t take long for our faculty to use their expertise in the fight against COVID-19. That included Fuda Ning, assistant professor of systems science and industrial engineering, who helped develop 3D-printed masks that were donated to local hospitals. 

We announced our largest donor gift in University history

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Thanks to an anonymous donor gift of $60 million, we were able to start construction of a new Baseball Stadium Complex. This fully funded donor project will build an 84,000 square-foot facility to support the baseball team that will include a new stadium, clubhouse and indoor training facility. Play ball!

We showed our support for frontline workers

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The Bartle Library Tower, which glows green at night, was lit blue at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to acknowledge frontline workers worldwide helping to care for a massive influx of COVID-19 patients.

The women’s basketball team had an incredible season

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Go Bearcats! The women’s basketball team had a tremendous season, becoming a top-four seed in the America East Tournament for the second time in three seasons. In addition, Binghamton’s 20th win of the season tied the team's highest victory total during its 19-year NCAA Division I era.

We earned “very high” research status

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Not to brag, but we conduct innovative research year-round, and we’ve just been recognized big-time for our efforts. Binghamton University can now count itself among the 131 elite universities in the nation that have achieved the “very high research” classification by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. 

Campus personnel stepped up to donate personal protective equipment

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Many of our faculty and staff helped when COVID-19 hit, donating items identified as a need in the community, such as exam gloves, masks and medical gowns. Here staff drop off a large truckload of personal protective equipment to the Broome County Emergency Operations Center.

The Hinman Dining Hall renovation got underway

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Students will soon have a nice new spot to get their noms on. The Hinman College Dining Hall is in the middle of a major makeover. The project involves a complete renovation and construction of a 26,500 sq. ft. addition, which will house a new lounge, restrooms, program and retail space. We’re already hungry. 

We made the move back on campus

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Forget Move-In Weekend. It was Move-In Week this fall as thousands of students moved back onto campus in a safe and socially distanced manner. We managed to test all incoming students for COVID-19 during the week, one of only a few schools nationwide to successfully do this.

One of our favorite professors retired

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The man, the legend! Al Vos, the collegiate professor of Hinman College (really, the “Heart of Hinman”) and an English scholar, said goodbye to Binghamton University after a half-century of service to the University. We’ll miss you, Al!

Our students worked on the COVID-19 frontline

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Students from Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and members of the student-run ambulance service Harpur’s Ferry worked on the COVID-19 frontlines throughout the year, helping to test both community members and University students, faculty and staff. Pictured here is Brian Kam, who helped to test about 1,000 students each day during move-in week.

We voted in an important election

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The 2020 election was, to put it lightly, a big deal, and Binghamton University students did their civic duty. Many came out to vote in person at the new polling location on campus: the Events Center. 

We held Commencement -- virtually

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COVID-19 kept us from holding our normally big to-do 2020 Commencement ceremonies in person last spring. But we weren’t about to let our Class of 2020 go unrecognized! We celebrated with 10 virtual Commencement ceremonies, allowing family and friends to watch together, easily in their bubble or socially distanced. #Bearcats4Life

We got festive

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The whirlwind of a year that was 2020 didn’t dampen our spirits! We lit up the Peace Quad with holiday lights, putting a festive cap on a “special” year. Here’s hoping you and your loved ones have a happy holiday season and a great new year. So long, 2020!

John Brhel is a communications manager in the Office of Media and Public Relations and a longtime resident of the Binghamton area. When he's not managing social media accounts or crafting press releases, you can find him drawing, watching movies, or spending time with his family.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.