Four honorary degrees presented at Commencement
By Katie Ellis
Nancy Wackstein '73
A preeminent social worker and champion of the homeless and the disadvantaged of New York City, Nancy Wackstein is a 1973 graduate of Binghamton University, with a degree in history. She is executive director of United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH), a federation of 37 nonprofit settlement houses and community centers working at more than 400 sites to provide high-quality services and activities to half a million New Yorkers each year.
Elected to Phi Beta Kappa while at Binghamton University, Wackstein went on to earn her master's degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Always interested in advocacy and policy, she was senior policy advisor for human services in then-Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins' Office for three years, as well as staff director for the Task Force on Housing for Homeless Families. She served as the first director of Mayor Dinkin's Office on Homelessness and SRO Housing and has also been appointed to a number of boards and commissions by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Prior to joining UNH, Wackstein spent 11 years as executive director of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a privately run settlement house on Manhattan's East Side.
Inducted into the Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2009, she was named a Top Leader in the Profession by the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter, in 2011. Her creativity and innovation in addressing homelessness have earned her numerous awards.
Wackstein has returned to Binghamton University to speak about nonprofit management and philanthropy, has hosted students at UNH and has brought in peers from other agencies to discuss challenges in the nonprofit sector.
Marilyn C. Link
A pioneering pilot, educator, philanthropist, and managing director of an oceanographic institute, Marilyn C. Link's illustrious career has given her a breadth of experience and inspired generations of students at Binghamton University and other educational organizations.
She attended Syracuse University and graduated from the aviation and flight training program at Stephens College. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from New York University and her master's degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign.
The first managing director of the Harbor Branch Foundation, now the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), she is now director emerita. HBOI recovered remains of the Challenger and promotes exploration, protection and wise use of the oceans' resources.
Link has been integral to carrying out the mission of the Link Foundation which has provided grants totaling more than $13 million to universities, including Binghamton University, and non-profit organizations since its inception.
Her personal support in six figures, coupled with Link Foundation donations, has endowed the Edwin A. Link Organ Professorship, the Marion Clayton Link Endowment Fellowship in Creative Writing and the Marilyn C. Link Endowed Scholarship for Women in Finance, as well as the Edwin A. Link and Marion Clayton Link Collections at the Binghamton University Libraries.
Through the Link Foundation, Link supported establishment of the Edwin A. Link Instructional Laboratory for the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.
She is a member of Binghamton University's Esther W. Couper Heritage Society, a Leadership Society member, recipient of the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Service and the Watson School Founders Award, and an honorary life member of the Binghamton University Forum.
A leading expert in advanced electronic packaging, Voya Markovich is known as one of the industry's experts in laminate product materials and processes, and first- and second-level electronic packaging. In 2012, he retired from his position as senior vice president and chief technology officer at Endicott Interconnect Technologies, Inc., where he was responsible for all of EI's research and development efforts.
He is currently working on new concepts for advanced packaging to be used in the next generation of supercomputing systems.
Markovich earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, immigrated to the U.S. from Serbia, and earned his master's degree in chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of New York.
Prior to joining EI, Markovich held several senior-level positions with IBM, where he was a member of the elite IBM Academy of Technology and where he developed and implemented new technologies for IBM mainframes over three decades. He holds more than 240 patents and has filed 138 current patent applications. His inventions and the technology manufactured by their practice form the interconnection basis for all leading information technology and telecommunication systems today.
Markovich was instrumental in the establishment of Binghamton University's Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) and has served on and chaired the CAMM's board. He also chaired the Industrial Advisory Board for the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center and serves on the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science Industrial Advisory Board. He is current president of the International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society.
Author of more than 50 technical papers and a book chapter, Markovich received the American Chemical Society's Northeast Regional Industrial Innovation Award in 2006, and numerous other awards. He has also received the IBM Outstanding Innovation Award and the 2008 Inventor of the Year Award from the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition.
George M. Whitesides
A prolific and influential scientist, George M. Whitesides has changed the way surface chemistry and interfacial molecular design play a role in science. From new sensors and materials properties to thin film technologies that optimize cell phone performance, his many contributions to chemistry, materials science, physics and engineering are paradigm-shifting.
Currently the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University, he received an AB degree from Harvard University and a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.
He held endowed professorships at MIT before moving to Harvard University and assumed his current role there in 2004.
Whitesides has published almost 1,000 papers and is among the world's most frequently cited chemists, best known for his work in the areas of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, organometallic chemistry, molecular self-assembly, microfabrication, microfluidics and nanotechnology. His work has helped advance the development of sensors, new materials and thin film technology, and has resulted in more than 50 patents.
He has collaborated actively with Binghamton University Professor of Chemistry Omowunmi Sadik, has been an outside reviewer on personnel cases and has been involved in symposia organized by students and faculty from Binghamton. He has also played an important advisory role in the development and continuing improvement of the Center for Advanced Sensors and Environmental Systems (CASE) at Binghamton.
Whitesides has co-founded over a dozen companies and the nonprofit Diagnostics for All organization, which provides inexpensive, easily usable diagnostic devices to the poor in developing countries.
Whitesides has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science, bestowed by President Bill Clinton in 1998.