Two alumni receive University Medals
Charles Kim '98 and David Penski '97 receive the highest honor bestowed by Binghamton University
Charles Kim ’98 and David Penski ’97 were both awarded University Medals at the second School of Management Fundraising Gala, held Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
University Medals are the highest honor bestowed by Binghamton University, given at the discretion of the University president to recognize path-breaking achievements and true excellence in one’s career accomplishments; distinguished commitment to the University, higher education and the pursuit of knowledge; and/or a demonstrated commitment to the betterment of society through exceptional leadership and mentorship of the next generation.
Tony Kornheiser ’70, of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, was master of ceremonies for the gala, which drew nearly 450 people in support of the School of Management (SOM) and University.
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger presented the medals to Kim and Penski. As he introduced Kim, Stenger noted that Kim’s proprietary trading firm, Alpine Securities, is based in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Kim helped establish charitable funds to provide immediate aid to the island following the recent hurricanes. Kim and his wife, Jean Su Kim, have generously supported student scholarships and finance faculty. In 2015, they provided funding to establish the Young Sam Kim Korean Student Center and an endowment to provide for its operational expenses. The center will officially open Saturday, Nov. 11.
“For those who knew me in college, seeing me here is a bit of a surprise,” said Kim, who said he was not exactly a model student. “But I managed to remember some, particularly from Dean Dhillon, [then Professor Dhillon]. SOM driving us hard to excel and giving us a glimpse of the complex financial world outside of campus.
“What was really special was the way that students came together in a competitive environment that wasn’t cutthroat. The SOM was the foundation of most of my closest friendships,” Kim added, before asking other Binghamton alumni what speaks to them about their Binghamton experience.
“What resonates to this day?” he asked. “Think about the kids out there who may not have the opportunity for the same experience. Our University is an important place for all these students. I hope you’ll join me in turning these dreams into a reality.”
Penski, CEO of Publicis Media Exchange – Americas, leads investment strategies across four Global Agency Brands. A generous supporter of scholarships, Penski also created a Strategic Media Planning course that he returns to campus to teach. He has also provided funding for student assistance for professional development.
Penski spoke about why he cares about Binghamton University.
“I was very fortunate and lucky to become CEO of my company at 34 years of age,” he said. “I had a great education at a very fair price and it’s a privilege for me and a reason to give back to see what I could do for Binghamton.”
Penski started by donating student scholarships through his company, Zenith, and now, Publicis, and moved on to teaching a class.
“Now we give students an assignment and the top three get a job with us,” he said. “We have hired 75 students from SOM and it’s been a real win both for Binghamton and our agencies.
“Education can’t solve all of our problems, but it gives students an advantage and privilege and it puts them in a better spot,” he said. “Pledging additional resources makes it a better community at large.”
Stenger wrapped up the evening, turning serious for a moment.
“Transforming lives and shaping the world is a slogan we live by at Binghamton,” Stenger said. “If we rank the top 100 schools by tuition and fees, Binghamton is number 4. How can we do that? With your support. Thank you!”
For more coverage of the SOM gala: SOM gala celebrates spirit of innovation