Parents of Watson School alumni value giving back

The Eiches are active volunteers and perennial donors for Binghamton University

Brooke and Curt Eiche have donated financially and volunteered their time at the Watson School. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.
Brooke and Curt Eiche have donated financially and volunteered their time at the Watson School.
Brooke and Curt Eiche have donated financially and volunteered their time at the Watson School. Photography: Jonathan Cohen.

Having two sons who are Watson graduates would be reason enough for Curt and Brooke Eiche to support the school. The couple, from Apalachin, N.Y., has shared time and treasure with the school to help aspiring engineers as well as the revitalization of the Greater Binghamton region.

The Eiches are active volunteers and perennial donors to the Binghamton Fund for the Watson School. Their two sons — Andrew ’07 and Thomas ’13 — are using their Watson degrees to shine in their careers while giving back to the school.

Andrew works on virtual reality at Owlchemy Labs in Austin, Texas, and speaks to groups of current Binghamton students. Thomas returns to the University each fall to recruit for Central Hudson Gas & Electric.

Although the brothers went to Vestal High School, staying close to home wasn’t the primary reason they enrolled at the Watson School.

“The reputation of the school was extremely important to Andy,” Brooke says. “He’d have the ability to excel in engineering and take part in many other activities on campus.”

“Tom was accepted at Clarkson University — my alma mater — and to Watson,” Curt adds. “Clarkson is a great engineering school, but it’s very small, and he loved that there’s so much more diversity at Binghamton.”

Although the Eiches were actively involved with the Watson School before they retired from Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, they have even more time to work with students. Brooke teaches a sustainability course on the future of fossil fuels, and she supports the Binghamton chapter of Society of Women Engineers. They also judge student competitions for first-year students and seniors.

“I feel strongly about wanting to help women engineers,” Brooke says.

“I started in the oil and gas industry, and I was the only woman in my graduating class at Stanford in my engineering discipline. I had a lot of challenges and I can talk to students about things I wish I’d known before starting my engineering career.”

“I enjoy being able to see both sides, the first-year students at the beginning of their journey, and how smart our seniors are, how they’re able to put everything together,” Curt says. “Binghamton is not only theoretical. There is a lot of hands-on learning, so the students come out and they are ready.”

Curt grew up in the Binghamton region and earned an associate degree from SUNY Broome. He would’ve loved to have attended the Watson School, but it didn’t yet exist. He’s impressed by the growth and quality the school has achieved.

“Thirty years is such a short amount of time for the school to come as far as it has,” he says. “Binghamton University is now the most important part of this region, the only part that is really growing. When we donate to Bingham- ton, it compounds what’s being done to revitalize the area.”