Four honorary degrees to be awarded at Commencement
Alumnus Tony Kornheiser '70 among those to be honored
Four honorary degrees will be awarded during Binghamton University’s Graduate School Commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 19, in the Events Center. Contemporary Jewish fiction writer Nathan Englander ’91; sportswriter, broadcaster and television personality Tony Kornheiser ’70; and retired senior vice president for America Online Geraldine MacDonald ’68, MS ’73, will be awarded the Doctor of Letters, and Easter Island archaeologist Sergio Rapu Haoa will be awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters.
Nathan Englander ’91
Nathan Englander, distinguished writer-in-residence at New York University, is an award-winning author, playwright and translator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in 1991, attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem, then returned to the United States where he earned his MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa.
Englander’s first book, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, won the PEN/Faulkner Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His second book was a novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, and his third book – What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank – was a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist, and won the 2012 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
His work has been featured in The Best American Short Stories, The O.Henry Prize Anthology and The Pushcart Prize, and The New Yorker selected him as one of the “20 Writers for the 21st Century.” He won the Bard Fiction Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, was a Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellow, and has been a fellow at The American Academy of Berlin.
Tony Kornheiser ’70
Anthony “Tony” Kornheiser graduated from Binghamton University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He began his career as a journalist at Binghamton, writing for the student newspaper and working at the student radio station, WHRW. During his career, he has written for Newsday, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Known for his irreverent style, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1997.
Widely known for his work in radio and television, he has hosted The Tony Kornheiser Show on radio in various forms since 1992, co-hosted Pardon the Interruption on ESPN since 2001 and served as an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football from 2006-’08.
Kornheiser has won numerous awards, including a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Studio Show-Daily for Pardon the Interruption. He was also ranked No. 1 of America’s Top 20 Local Sports Midday Shows for 2015 by Barrett Sports Media. He has published four books and contributed to popular magazines including Sports Illustrated, Esquire and ESPN Magazine.
A member of the Binghamton University Foundation Board and a regular philanthropic contributor to the student newspaper (Pipe Dream), Kornheiser established the Tony Kornheiser Newspaper Scholarship that is awarded to a student who volunteers for Pipe Dream. He has also contributed to the University’s annual fund in support of Harpur College, the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts and Athletics, as well as the Memorial Courtyard endowment.
Geraldine MacDonald ’68, MS ’73
Geraldine Knoll MacDonald, managing partner at GMacDonald Consulting, is a pioneer in the field of internet communications.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Binghamton University, and her master’s degree from the School of Technology – the precursor to the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.
In the 1980s, she led the development of Binghamton University’s computing infrastructure from mainframe computers to minicomputers to personal computers. She also served as acting vice president for administration for a year.
MacDonald left the University for America Online (AOL), rising to senior vice president for Global Access Networks, operating the world’s largest dial-up network and an internet protocol backbone for broadband traffic that supported, at its peak, over 73 million daily worldwide connected sessions totaling over 37 million hours. She retired from AOL in 2005.
MacDonald established the Jack Knoll Scholarship for Women in Computer Science and Engineering, the MacDonald Family Prize in Senior Design and the Knoll-MacDonald Commons in the Engineering Building. She was a member of the Lead Gifts Solicitation Team for Binghamton University’s first-ever comprehensive gifts campaign and a director of the Binghamton University Foundation.
She has received the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering Founders Award, the Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumni Award, was named one of the “25 Top Unsung Heroes on the Net” by Inter@ctive Week in 2000 and was featured in the book, Cool Careers for Girls in Computers.
Sergio Rapu Haoa
Sergio Rapu Haoa has helped transform Easter Island – Rapa Nui, Chile – from an isolated and impoverished village to a globally connected community and tourist destination, while contributing to its long-term cultural, ecological and economic sustainability.
He holds a teaching degree from the Escuela Normal Abelardo Nunez in Chile, a museology degree from the University of Chile, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in archaeology and Pacific studies from the University of Hawaii.
As curator/director of Easter Island’s Padre Sebastian Englert Anthropology Museum for decades, he vastly expanded its size and scope. The museum now has 12 staff, runs an archaeological and living conservation program, and hosts literary and cultural events.
As an archaeologist, he made major contributions to the understanding of moai – the massive monolithic human statues with large heads that Easter Island is famous for – and the ahu (platforms) on which they stand.
He heads the Institute for Polynesian Studies at Hawaii’s Brigham Young University and is a Rotary World Peace Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.
Since 2000, he has been colleagues with Binghamton University Professor Carl Lipo, collaborating on excavations establishing the island’s chronology and upending assumptions about its history. He co-authored, with Lipo and Terry Hunt, dean and professor from the University of Oregon, a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science (“The Walking Statues of Rapa Nui”).
Rapu Haoa will speak at the Graduate School ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 19. MacDonald will speak at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 20; Kornheiser will speak at the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, May 21; and Englander will speak at the Harpur College ceremony at noon Sunday, May 21.
For the complete schedule of ceremonies, visit the Binghamton University Commencement website.