Zurack center fosters student-alumni connections
The new Zurack Family High-Technology Collaboration Center connects students with alumni to enhance student success.
The facility, established with significant support from Mark A. Zurack ’78, LHD ’03, is adjacent to the Newcomb Reading Room in the Glenn G. Bartle Library. A dedication ceremony was held during Homecoming in September.
President Harvey Stenger remarked that the new classroom is truly collaborative — "our key word for the year" — and reminded those at the dedication of the many donations Zurack has made to Binghamton University: an endowed professorship, the Zurack Trading Room, scholarships. "Mark and (his wife) Kathy have been very generous with us."
"We wanted a platform that allows alumni to join meetings, a classroom that emphasizes high-tech and the ability for someone to call in and to be able to share what’s going on in the classroom with others," said James Pitarresi, vice provost and executive director of the Center for Learning and Teaching. "It’s exciting to see the infrastructure, furniture, layout and feel of the space come together and see where Mark’s vision and love for the University has come together."
"Mark has supported this classroom as a place where technology is at the highest end," Stenger said. "It’s not just a classroom; our faculty are using it on a daily basis to teach and it’s also where faculty can learn to use the technology to see what they like, what works for them. Our goal is to help our students be more successful."
Students will learn faster and deeper and add a new dimension to Binghamton as well, Stenger said. "You’re going to see that the configuration is flexible and can be used for small meetings or café style. It will improve our students’ sense of belonging and that’s a critical thing in today’s world. It will make them want to stay here, graduate from here and be our supporters.
"Mark, you’ve moved us in a direction that will make us the premier public of the 21st century," Stenger said.
"Mark saw the opportunity for a high-tech, highly-engaging, high-quality, comfortable space so all of our alumni around the world can connect with our students. This is all about connections," said Jim Broschart '92, vice president for advancement.
"It’s exceeded my expectations," Zurack said. "Post my first career on Wall Street, I’m now a professor (at Columbia University) and I appreciate this from the perspective of a donor as well as one who teaches. This space opens up different avenues of teaching."