Black Binghamton University Alumni You Should Know About

Posted by Jillian McCarthy on February 15, 2023

During Black History Month, it’s important to learn about and reflect on the countless contributions of the Black community. Here at Binghamton, we want to recognize Black alums and how their accomplishments and excellence have helped make our University what it is today. Here are just a few of the exceptional Black alums you should know:

Leighton Blackwood ‘21

article images

Leighton Blackwood '21 left his mark when he graduated from Binghamton with a degree in business administration. He’s the founder of the beloved 2nd Heaven, our on-campus bubble tea spot. He first thought of the idea as a sophomore, and by fall of 2021 he made his dreams come true!

Lea Webb ‘04

article images

Black Binghamton alums are fighting for what matters! Lea Webb '04, a lifelong resident of the Southern Tier, worked at Binghamton for nearly a decade, developing diversity and inclusion training and programs for students, faculty, and staff. In November 2022, she became the first Black woman to represent New York’s 52nd Senate District.

Claudian Francis ‘22

article images

Even in her senior year, this alumna was leading on-campus business endeavors as the chair of the Student Philanthropy Committee. Claudian Francis '22 graduated from Binghamton with a bachelor's in strategic, legal, and business communication, and a minor in Africana studies. She’s now the fashion and beauty publicist for LaForce, an advertising and digital marketing company committed to diversity and inclusion.

Kai Moon ‘20

article images

In 2020, Kai Moon '20 was named America East Player of the Year, after leading her team through Binghamton’s most successful season since joining Division I! Moon was able to balance the life of a star basketball player with her work as a marketing major in the School of Management. She’s now a successful analyst for a startup venture capital firm, and a Bearcat forever! Check out this list and celebrate the accomplishments of Black student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators.

Julius Johnson ‘05

article images

Julius Johnson '05 graduated from Binghamton with a master’s of science and is currently the department chair of the School of Nursing at Long Island University. He’s also the co-founder and president of Dr. Nurses, an organization formed to inspire future generations of nurses to create health equity. We’ll welcome Johnson back to Binghamton for the Men of Color Summit in April!

Faye McCray ‘03

article images

A true trailblazer, Faye McCray '03 is hoping to create an online space for mental health education, and a sense of community. She’s the current editor in chief of Psych Central making her the first-ever black editor in chief at Healthline Media.

Camille Clare ‘92

article images

Black alums are making waves in the medical field! Camille Clare '92 is working to recruit underrepresented medical students to achieve success. As associate dean of diversity and inclusion for the School of Medicine and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Medical College, Clare has been involved in the fight for diversity for nearly three decades. 

Lakim J. Desir ‘15

article images

In 2022, Lakim J. Desir '15, a graduate of the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science, was named a Black Engineer of the year at the BEYA STEM Conference. This national recognition is awarded to those in the engineering field who strive for technological progress and excellence in their work. Lakim will be a guest speaker at Binghamton’s Men of Color Summit in April!

Tolu Odunsi Nelson ‘12

article images

Professor, lawyer, advocate; Tolu Odunsi Nelson '12 is doing it all. She’s garnered quite an incredible reputation, and most recently she received the 2022 Minority Bar Foundation Minority Award. With a career focus on diversity and equity in the legal workforce, Professor Odunsi-Nelson is paving the way for great Black lawyers and educators.

Micah Jumpp ‘22

article images

Micah Jumpp '22 transferred to Binghamton University, found a passion for geographical studies, learned how to speak Mandarin, then became the first Schwarzman Scholar in University history! This elite master’s program took Jumpp to the highly esteemed Tsinghua University in Beijing to continue her studies. That is one incredible journey!

Nicole (Mitchell) Armstrong ‘91

article images

A graduate of the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is making a big impact on the business world. Nicole (Mitchell) Armstrong '91 is combining her computer science background with an ambition for progress as the CEO of TechBridge Inc. which creates tech based solutions for nonprofit organizations.

Celine Lodge ‘22

article images

Another alumna making a difference in the medical field is Celine Lodge '22. She participated in the McNair Scholars Program while at Binghamton, where she studied discrimination against black patients in healthcare. Her findings fueled her determination to make a difference, and she was awarded the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence.

Jillian McCarthy is an intern for the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a junior majoring in English. She hopes to become an entertainment journalist. In her free time she loves to play guitar, watch movies and read.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at