February 23, 2024
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EXCELERATE at Binghamton

University launches $220 million comprehensive-gifts campaign

Owen Pell ’80, LLD ’11, chair of the Binghamton University Foundation Board, left, and campaign Chair Howard 
Unger ’82, LHD ’19, celebrate at the EXCELERATE launch in Watters Theater on April 9. Owen Pell ’80, LLD ’11, chair of the Binghamton University Foundation Board, left, and campaign Chair Howard 
Unger ’82, LHD ’19, celebrate at the EXCELERATE launch in Watters Theater on April 9.
Owen Pell ’80, LLD ’11, chair of the Binghamton University Foundation Board, left, and campaign Chair Howard Unger ’82, LHD ’19, celebrate at the EXCELERATE launch in Watters Theater on April 9. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

In 75 years, Binghamton has advanced from a liberal arts college to a major research university.

The next step in its evolution took place April 9 when the University kicked off the largest comprehensive-gifts campaign in its history, EXCELERATE, with a goal of raising $220 million by 2024 to prepare Binghamton to be the University of tomorrow.

“Having our campaign launch on campus at Binghamton was an incredible opportunity to showcase our faculty, students, facilities and programs,” President Harvey Stenger says. “It was great to have people who hadn’t been back to campus in years be amazed at everything that’s new, but also inspired by the opportunity that a Binghamton education continues to be for our students.”

The day-long EXCELERATE launch brought alumni, faculty members, campaign volunteers and friends to campus to learn about the different facets of intellectual life at Binghamton University. Activities included student presentations, panel discussions featuring faculty and alumni, research sessions, open houses, bus tours to University sites in Johnson City and Binghamton, and programs for those attending online.

The launch also featured a dinner and reception at the MarketPlace, followed by a showcase of student talent at Watters Theater, and the official campaign announcement and fundraising goal by campaign Chair Howard Unger ’82, LHD ’19, and Owen Pell ’80, LLD ’11, chair of the Binghamton University Foundation’s board of directors.

The priorities of EXCELERATE include discovery for a changing world (raising funds to recruit and retain great faculty and continue our premier reputation for interdisciplinary research); ensuring an exceptional education for all students (securing support for programs that shape extraordinary student experiences inside and outside the classroom); and making the exceptional accessible (securing contributions for financial aid and endowed scholarships).

“One of the things that’s so important to me is to ensure today’s graduates have exposure to the skills — like coding — that will open more doors to students, even in fields that haven’t emerged yet,” says Jim Bankoski ’91, a distinguished engineer at Google and member of the EXCELERATE campaign committee. “Binghamton is so special because you find Watson College focused on diversity and leadership in education, and Harpur College teaching courses in coding. Binghamton is nimble, creative and dedicated to teaching.”

Binghamton University aspires to build on its record of fundraising campaign success, having achieved each previous goal. Vice President for Advancement John Koch calls EXCELERATE “a campaign that is designed to continue the incredible upward trajectory of speed and excellence of our University.”

“Giving to this campaign is investing in life-changing discoveries, exceptional people, and ensuring that every student with the talent and drive to be at Binghamton can afford to come here,” he says. “Reaching our goal is about more than the number: It’s about creating the University of tomorrow.”

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