Ehrenbergs support Harpur faculty development

Ron Ehrenberg ’66, SD ’08, and Randy Ehrenberg ’67 remember Harpur College as a place where the brightest students learned from brilliant, young professors. While that’s still true, newer faculty don’t always stick around as long as they used to. The couple’s recent gift to the Harpur College Advocacy Council Faculty Development Endowment is a step toward reversing this trend.

“Harpur nurtures young faculty, they achieve prominence, then wealthier private universities try to lure them away,” Ron says. “Harpur will be able to show these new faculty how committed it is to them with the faculty development endowment funds.”

The couple, who met at Harpur, made the gift in commemoration of their 50th wedding anniversary. The endowed fund supports research grants, travel to conferences, on-campus colloquia by visiting speakers and other professional opportunities. In June, the Ehrenbergs returned to campus for the dedication of the Randy and Ronald Ehrenberg Faculty Collaboration Room in what was once the Harpur dean’s office.

Randy spent 42 years in public education as a teacher, principal and central office administrator. For the last nine years of her career, she was superintendent of the award-winning North Colonie School District outside Albany. Ron is the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. He also has been a Cornell vice president and trustee, and a SUNY trustee. Not only do they have fond memories of Saturday night dates in the art lab and of taking classes that broadened their horizons, they said liberal arts prepared them well for life as well as for careers.

“I’ve spent 42 years at one university, but most students will not find lifetime employment at a single place,” Ron says. “It’s a mistake for students to focus only on what they need for their first job.”

“The breadth and depth of knowledge at Harpur meant so much,” Randy says. “All students should experience the joy of taking art, music and theatre classes, and of studying the humanities and social sciences.”

The Ehrenbergs have made numerous gifts to Harpur, and they want others to embrace the value of giving back.

“We hope a story like this will encourage those alumni who graduated when we did — or within 25 years after that — to think back on what Binghamton meant to them and to support our alma mater,” Ron says.

“Giving back is important,” Randy says. “We should always look out for the needs of others, both now and for the future.”

Posted in: Campus News, Harpur