Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degree recipients' lives and achievements should serve as examples of the University's aspirations for its students. Because the nominee's achievements must be both relevant and appropriate to the Binghamton University campus, those with a connection to the campus or a member of the University community are preferred.

Campus nominations are considered sequentially by the President's Honorary Degree Advisory Committee, the SUNY Chancellor, the SUNY Honorary Degree Committee and the SUNY Board of Trustees.

The Office of the President invites nominations of individuals to be considered for honorary degree. Please submit your nomination to the dean of your school or directly to the president if you have no school affiliation. Typically, nominations should be submitted before the end of March for consideration for the following year's Commencement.

To nominate someone, submit a letter of nomination describing why the nominee's distinction or eminence in his or her field justifies the awarding of an honorary degree and stating how the nominee's achievements are relevant to our campus. Please provide detailed information about the nominee's accomplishments, such as a vitae or Who's Who entry, if available. Confidentiality should be maintained, particularly with regard to the nominee. No one already holding an honorary degree from any SUNY institution is eligible to receive another one. To check in advance regarding an individual's eligibility or for other questions concerning criteria and process, contact the President's Office at 777-2131 or Pamela Mischen, faculty advisor to the president, at pmischen@binghamton.edu.

Previous honorary degree recipients include:

  • Edwin A. Link, SD '81*
    Inventor and father of simulation technology
  • David deWied, SD '81*
    Discoverer of neuropeptides
  • Charles S. Singleton, LittD '81*
    American dance scholar, writer and critic of literature 
  • Paul O. Kristeller, LittD '82*
    Renaissance humanism scholar
  • David Soyer*, Arnold Steinhardt and Michael Tree*, all ArtD '83
    Founding members of the Guarneri Quartet
  • René Wellek, LittD '83*
    Czech-American comparative literary critic
  • Thomas Goddard Bergin, LittD '84*
    American scholar of Italian literature
  • Abraham J. Briloff, LHD '84*
    American accounting scholar and financial ethicist
  • Helen Mary Caldicott, SD '84
    Physician and activist
  • Leroy "Slam"Elliott Stewart, MusD '84*
    Jazz musician
  • Kenneth B. Clark, LLD '85*
  • Roald Hoffmann, SD '85
    Theoretical chemist and 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient
  • Winfred P. Lehmann, LittD '85*
    American linguist specializing in historial, Germanic and Indo-European linguistics
  • Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel, LHD '85*
    Polish writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor and 1986 Nobel Peace Prize recipient
  • Morton W. Bloomfield, LittD '86*
    American medievalist and scholar
  • Stephen Jay Gould, SD '86*
    Evolutionary biologist and historian of science
  • Paul D. MacLean, MD, SD '86*
    American physician and neuroscientist with significant contributions in physiology, psychiatry and brain research
  • Josef Škvorecký, LHD '86*
    Czech-Canadian writer and publisher and 1980 Neustadt International Prize for Literature recipient
  • Brian E. Urquhart, LLD '86*
    British diplomat and peacekeeper who played a significant role in the founding of the United Nations
  • Manfred H. Lachs, LLD '87*
    Polish diplomat and jurist who influenced development of international law after World War II
  • Bernard Lewis, LittD '87*
    British American historian of Islam
  • John Hope Franklin, LittD '88*
    Scholar of African-American history
  • Alvin M. Liberman, SD '88*
    Speech psychologist
  • Aryeh Neier, LHD '88
    Human rights activist and founder of Americas Watch
  • Lewis M. Branscomb, SD '89
    American physicist, government policy advisor and corporate research manager
  • Majid Khadduri, LLD '89*
    Pioneer of Middle East and islamic studies in the United States
  • Lofti Al Zadeh, SD '89*
    Father of mathematical "fuzzy logic"
  • Byllye Y. Avery, LHD '90
    American healthcare activist and founder of the National Black Women's Health Project
  • Leszek Kolakowski, LittD '90*
    Polish philosopher and historian of ideas
  • Jacob A. Lawrence, ArtD '90*
    African-American painter known for his portrayal of African-American historical subjects and contemporary life
  • Andrew Rutherford, LittD '90*
    Scottish scholar and university administrator 
  • Gunther Wilke, SD '90*
    German chemist whose findings have become fundamental elements of contemporary sciences, particularly in organometallic chemistry
  • Jerome D. Frank, LDH '91*
    Psychiatrist and psychologist
  • Niara Sudarkasa, LHD '91
    African-American anthropologist and educator
  • Jack St. Clair Kilby, SD '92*
    Co-inventor of the integrated circuit and 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient 
  • Johnnetta B. Cole, LHD '93
    American anthropologist, educator, museum director and college administrator
  • Deborah F. Tannen '66, LHD '93
    Linguist and author
  • Andrew Bergman '65, LittD '94
    Film screenwrite and producer
  • (Hugh) John F. Cairns, SD '94*
    Environmental biologist
  • Mary Lowe Good, SD '94
    American inorganic chemist who worked in academia, government and indusrty
  • Matthew F. McHugh, LLD '94
    American politician and counselor to the president of The World Bank
  • William Julius Wilson, LHD '94
    American academic and sociologist, and MacArthur Prize Fellow 
  • Ilya R. Prigogine, LittD '95*
    Physical chemist and 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient 
  • Art I. Spiegelman, LittD '95
    American cartoonist, editor and comics advocate, and recipient of a special Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for his postmodern book Maus
  • Chinua Achebe, LittD '96*
    Nigerian novelist, poet and critic
  • Shirley Sears Chater, LHD '96
    American nurse, educational administrator and government official 
  • Willem H. Gispen, SD '96
    Leading scholar on the functioning of the brain
  • Donald E. Westlake, LittD '96*
    American writer of more than 100 novels and non-fiction books
  • Linda Gordon, LittD '97
    Feminist and historian
  • Maxine Greene, LittD '97*
    Scholar and teacher in the philosophy and history of education, curriculum studies, teacher education and aesthetic education
  • Walter Isard, LHD' 97*
    Economist and founder of the discipline of peace science
  • Arnold Jay Levine '61, SD '97
    Molecular biologist and discoverer of the p53 tumor suppressant protein
  • Israel J. Rosefsky, MD, LHD '97*
    Pediatrician and philanthropist
  • Rodrigo Carazo Odio, LHD '98*
    Former president of Costa Rica and founder of the University of Peace
  • Susan Clark-Johnson '67, LHD '98*
    Former president/publisher, journalist, editor, Gannett Company
  • C. Peter Magrath, LHD '98
    American educator and administrator who served as president of NASULGC (now APLU), president of Binghamton University (twice) and president of University of Minnesota
  • George Olah, SD '98*
    Scholar and researcher in superacids and carbocation chemistry and 1984 Nobel Prize
  • Robert W. Fogel, SD '99*
    Economic historian and early advocate of using quantitative methods in history
  • Mary Francis Berry, LHD '99
    American historian, writer, activist and professor, and former chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
  • David H. Komansky, LHD '99*
    Former chairman of the board and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Company
  • Kurt Masur, MusD '99*
    German conductor and former music director of the New York Philharmonic
  • R. Nicholas Burns, LHD '00
    American diplomat and academic and former U.S. Ambassador to Greece and to NATO
  • Stephen F. Kroft, LHD '00
    Retired television journalist and long-time 60 Minutes correspondent
  • Shari Lawrence Pfleeger '70, LHD '00
    Software security pioneer and poet
  • Paul Reiser '77, LHD '00
    Author, actor and comedian
  • Loretta C. Ford, 2LHD '01
    Nurse and leader/pioneer of the nurse practitiioner model, and founding dean of the University of Rochester
  • Stewart J. Paperin '68, MS '70, LHD' 01
    Global finance and philanthropy advisor
  • Robert Pinsky, LHD '01
    American poet, essayist literary critic and translator who served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1997 to 2000
  • Freeman A. Hrabowski III, LHD '02
    African-American educator, advocate and mathematician
  • Gary Kunis '73, LHD '02
    Former vice president and chief science officer for Cisco Systems, Inc
  • Elmar Oliveira, MusD' 02
    Classical violinist
  • Kemal Gürüz, LHD '03
    Academic reformer and former president of the Turkish Council of Higher Education
  • Dean Kamen, LHD '03
    Engineer, entrepreneur, inventor
  • Alan G. MacDiarmid, SD '03*
    New Zealand-born American chemist and 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient
  • Mark A. Zurack '78, LHD '03
    Former executive vice president, Goldman Sachs
  • Sydney Pollack, LHD '03*
    Author and film producer
  • Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., LHD '04*
    Canadian-American businessman, former president of the World Jewish Congress and former chairman of International Board of Governors for Hillel
  • Eugene M. DeLoatch, SD '04
    Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering at Morgan State University and first African- American president of the American Society for Engineering
  • Charlene Kahlor Kramer '73, LHD '04*
    Former vice president of corporate communications for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)
  • Ezra Laderman, MusD '04*
    American classical music composer and former president of the American Music Center who taught at Binghamton University from 1971 to 1982
  • Ada Sue Hinshaw, LHD '05
    Nurse and founding director of the National Institute for Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan
  • Evelyn Glennie, MusD '06
    Scottish percussionist
  • Erwin Goldberg '51, SD '06*
    Educator and former professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology
  • Linda Greenhouse, LHD '06
    American legal journalist and 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner in the Beat Reporting category for her work with The New York Times
  • Allan R. Lyons '62, LHD '07
    Accountant, financier, educator and business leader
  • J. David Singer, LHD '07*
    Political scientist and educator
  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg '66, SD '08
    Educator and economist in labor relations and former member of the State University of New York Board of Trustees
  • Richard M. Felder, SD '08
    Chemical engineer and educator 
  • Theodore J. Kooser, LHD '08
    American poet, former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2006 and 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry recipient
  • Raymond Osterhout, LHD '08*
    Philanthropist, retired group vice president and underwriting and marketing manager for Swiss Reinsurance Corporation
  • David Sedaris, LittD '08
    Author and humorist
  • Geoffrey Canada, LHD '09
    Social welfare administrator, educator and writer
  • Sandra Day O'Connor, LLD '09*
    Former United States Supreme Court Justice
  • Mario J. Paniccia '88, SD '09
    Semiconductor and photonics innovator and business leader
  • Lawrence J. Schorr '75, MA '77, LLD '09
    Attorney and philanthropist
  • Ahmet Acar, LHD '10*
    Former rector/professor of Middle East Technical University in Turkey
  • Steven H. Bloom '78, LHD '10
    Philanthropist and financial analyst
  • Terrence M. Keane, MA '76, PhD '79, SD '11
    Professor and vice chairman in psychiatry, Boston University
  • David W. Orr, SD '11
    Educator and environmentalist
  • Owen C. Pell '80, LLD '11
    International litigator
  • James A. Carrigg, LHD '12*
    Watson College founder and retired president, chairman and CEO of New York State Electric & Gas
  • Steve Karmen, ArtD '12
    Composer, musician, arranger, author
  • Paul R. Turovsky '73, LHD '12
    Philanthropist and founding partner of True North Management Group
  • Mary Wakefield, LHD '12
    Nurse and healthcare administrator, and former head of the Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Marilyn C. Link, LHD '13*
    Pioneering pilot, educator, philanthropist and former managing director of an oceanographic institute
  • Voya Markovich, SD '13
    Leading expert in advanced electronics packaging
  • Nancy G. Wackstein '73, LHD '13
    Preeminent social worker and champion of the homeless and disadvantaged
  • George M. Whitesides, SD '13
    Prolific and influential scientist in chemistry, materials science, physics and engineering
  • Carol C. Harter '64, MA '67, PhD '70, LHD '14*
    Academic administrator and English language educator
  • Eric P. Schwartz '79, LLD '14
    Public policy scholar, public servant and international humanitarian and human rights expert
  • Deborah Gray White '71, LHD '14
    Academician and influential historian of African-American and American women's history
  • Horace Wood Gibson Jr., LHD '15
    Renaissance man and educator
  • Jason Randolph Stanley, LHD '15
    Educator and philosopher
  • Tien Wu, SD '15
    CEO and member of the board of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc.
  • John R. Bartle, LHD '16
    Dean of the college of Public Affairs and Community Service, and professor of public administration, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Marc D. Lawrence '81, LittD '16
    Screenwriter, producer, director
  • Nathan Englander '91, LittD '17
    Award-winning author, playwright and translator
  • Anthony "Tony" I. Kornheiser '70, LittD '17
    Sports journalist and commentator
  • Geraldine MacDonald '68, MS '73, LittD '17
    Pioneer of internet communications
  • Sergio Rapu Haoa, LHD '17
    Archaeologist and cultural ambassador for Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island)
  • Ali Çarkoğlu, PhD '94, LHD '18
    Educator, higher education administrator and political commentator
  • Asunción "Sunny" C. Hostin '90, LLD '18
    Columnist, social commentator and multi-platform journalist
  • Aaron Mair '84, LHD '18
    A founder of the environmental justice movement
  • Balakrishna "Balki" Gopalan Iyer, MS '00, SD '19
    Business leader and educator
  • Patricia A. Saunders '65, LHD '19
    Humanitarian and student-athlete advocate
  • Howard Unger '82, LHD '19
    Financial innovator and world peace advocate
  • Robert H. Swan, MBA '85, LHD '22
    Innovative leader of prominant corporations