EXCELERATE: Moving at the speed of Binghamton
University launches largest comprehensive gifts campaign
The typical Binghamton weather — rain, sunshine, clouds, rain, sunshine — only underscored the dedication to Binghamton University that hundreds of campus guests showed as they watched student performances, spoke to students and faculty, and learned about campus innovations during Campaign Launch Day Saturday, April 9.
But the highlight of the day? The long-awaited announcement of EXCELERATE: Moving at the Speed of Binghamton!
“This team here tonight has made an incredible difference so far, but Binghamton hasn’t grown by sitting still. We are poised to shape the future of higher education by what you do from here,” said campaign chair Howard Unger ’82, LHD’19.
“I am thrilled to announce that we plan to more than double any previous Binghamton University campaign and raise $220 million to bring greater excellence and speed to Binghamton’s incredible record of success,” he said. “And we’re already well on our way, having raised $151 million toward that goal. And that number was as of this morning, but I’ve heard that it has already increased, so thank you! Become part of the future of Binghamton and join our team!”
President Harvey Stenger was unable to attend the launch in person, but the crowd in Watters Theater was reminded that supporting the campaign will give more talented students their shot at reaching their dreams. “You can ensure today’s students can afford to come here, meet and learn from great teachers and mentors, and find ways to discover how to make our world a better place,” said Owen Pell ’80, LLD ’11, chair of the Binghamton University Foundation Board.
A full day of activities led up to the final showcase and campaign goal announcement, with events both in person and virtual for those not on campus. The day was designed to show how EXCELERATE will:
- ensure an exceptional education through internships, programs and other hands-on learning, such as our First-year Research Immersion program;
- make the exceptional accessible by investing in scholarships to widen opportunities available to students; and
- invest in discovery for a changing world by funding faculty and research, and expanding programs with nationwide impact.
In-person events included presentations from students about their unique, high-impact learning opportunities; from early career faculty conducting research that has the potential to impact everyone’s quality of life; and from a panel of faculty demonstrating the value of synergies created through the University’s transdisciplinary approach to solving large, complex problems facing our world.
The student and faculty presentations were very impressive on two levels, said Dr. Michael Needle ’81. “First, it was nice to see young faculty doing groundbreaking work, and the breadth and depth of their work. It shows the good work the University has done in the past is likely to continue,” he said. “And the students are another measure of the impact the University can and does have. Binghamton is a much stronger, broader and deeper University that is likely to continue in that direction.”
Wayne Greenfeder, a 1977 alum, said that it’s important to come to campus to feel the energy. “The students are articulate and the faculty — they were fascinating. I learned so much from them in a brief period of time that I can only imagine what it must be like to spend a semester with them.”
Guests had the difficult choice of what to do with their afternoon, having to select from events on the main campus, at the Health Sciences Campus in nearby Johnson City, N.Y., or moving between options that included:
- learning about the impact of changing demographics on the higher education landscape at the Admissions Center;
- watching a performance of “Word of Mouth: New Words, Voices and Music,” the collaboration between composers, writers and performers at the Binghamton University Art Museum;
- visiting the Innovation Lab, a collaborative space for our next generation of dreamers and doers;
- visiting Special Collections in the University Libraries to see unique materials that enhance, support and encourage research, teaching and learning;
- visiting the Watson College Fabrication lab where students work on senior capstone projects to see displays of 3D printing, the Mini-Baja car and Mars Rover among other displays; or
- traveling by bus to the Health Sciences Campus to see nursing students demonstrate the hands-on skills training they experience using high-fidelity manikins in the Innovative Simulation and Practice Center, and pharmacy students show off their skills in their cutting-edge educational and research spaces
Guests who traveled to the Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City saw cutting-edge equipment that will enable students to hone their skills and be career ready.
“I was so impressed with the technology, but even more so with how happy and thrilled the students seem to be in their particular programs,” said Dr. Karen Furhman Kerner ’86. “Everyone was thrilled to be there and I can see we’re on an upward trajectory. Not only students, but academicians are flocking here.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to come and see the campus over the years and what students are accomplishing,” said Joseph Dunn ’10. “I want to be supportive.”
Dunn’s wife, Mary, called the day phenomenal. “After this, I really want to go back to school and continue my education!” she said.
During the showcase just prior to the campaign goal announcement, the audience enjoyed student performances of song, dance and music, as well as a video of Sunny Hostin ’90, from the set of The View.
“Tonight is about seeing how much further we can go,” she said. “We are a thought leader on a global scale, vaulting into the upper echelon of public universities.”
Just before the campaign announcement, another video played, including remarks from Stenger. “Faculty and students are our competitive edge and compel us forward,” he said. “We are moving at the speed of Binghamton. It’s your moment. Individually we are impressive; collectively we are formidable; together we are unstoppable! You can create the Binghamton University of tomorrow.”
Then, as the stage-size video screen rose up out of sight, revealing Unger, Pell and all of the student performers, Unger reminded the audience that an incredible difference has already been made by the University’s supporters and campaign team, but Binghamton hasn’t grown by sitting still. “We are poised to shape the future of higher education by what you all do from here,” he said. “We heard from exemplary faculty and students doing extraordinary and exciting things.”
Pell echoed those remarks: “For those of you already part of this campaign, thank you! For others out there, now is the time to help us fast track to the future. It’s time to EXCELERATE!”
[Cue the streamers and the Edward P. Maloney Memorial Pipe Band to end the showcase as guests exited Watters Theater to watch a projection show on the Couper Administration Building!]
Want to explore how you can create the University of Tomorrow? Visit excelerate.binghamton.edu.