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Awards honor students' accomplishments


Spring Commencement 2013

Private giving provides recognition, support

Private support helped the Binghamton University Foundation distribute nearly $71,000 to 191 award recipients this spring.

Awards endowed by Andrew Bergman '65, LHD '94, and Jerry Miller '67 are just some examples of this valuable support, which makes a difference in the lives of students like Allison Hackman '14.

Hackman's "Haverford" poem won second place in last year's competition for the Andrew Bergman Award in Creative Writing, which is given to a Harpur College student who excels in creative writing.

"Receiving the Bergman award was very encouraging," says Hackman, who's majoring in Spanish and minoring in sociology and women's studies. "I worked very hard on the poem I submitted, and it was amazing to have that hard work pay off."

After graduation, she wants to work with a nonprofit, travel and live abroad. "I always want writing to be a big part of my life," she says.

Bergman recalls how receiving a similar award encouraged his own writing.

"When I was at Harpur, I won a creative writing prize and received $50, and it meant the world to me," says Bergman, who majored in history and literature at Binghamton. "It was a validation and told me I wasn't crazy to write. So when I had the resources to do this kind of thing, I was eager to supply the same validation to other students."

Bergman is now a screenwriter, director and novelist living in Manhattan. He's been working on a Broadway musical version of his film Honeymoon in Vegas and writing a novel.

"It helps if every once in a while, someone outside of your family recognizes your excellence and your potential to do great things," he says.

The Helen P. Beard Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mathematics is given to a Harpur College junior or senior who is majoring in mathematics and plans to pursue a college teaching career.

Miller established the award to honor Beard, who was his teacher, academic advisor and role model.

Beard, a professor emerita of mathematics at Binghamton, died in 2004 at the age of 88.

"The way she taught and the logic that she used was just absolutely impeccable," says Miller, a mathematics major at Binghamton and a professor emeritus of economics at Miami University in Ohio. "If you had a question, you were not fearful to go in and speak with her. Besides that, she wanted to know more about you as a human being."

Beard encouraged his growing interest in economics and a career in teaching.

"A lot of the way I taught, I learned from Helen Beard's style of teaching — how to be prepared for class and how to handle questions," Miller says. "I wanted to show my thanks to her by setting up this scholarship."


This year's Spring Commencement was May 17-19.

Binghamton conferred more than 3,000 degrees for bachelor's, master's and doctoral candidates.

Last Updated: 1/20/17