Outstanding alumni recognized at 2015 awards ceremony

By Steve Seepersaud

It was an evening that would certainly make one feel proud to be a graduate of Binghamton University. On April 25, nearly 300 alumni and friends gathered at Terra Cotta in Binghamton to celebrate the presentation of the 2015 Alumni Association Special Recognition Awards.

For more than half a century, the association has been honoring alumni for their outstanding achievements. At the recent ceremony, the Alumni Association presented its signature awards (Bartle, Weisband and DeFleur), introduced a new signature award (Alumni Achievement) and awarded Medals of Distinguished Service, first introduced in 2013. 


Ruben Santiago-Hudson '78Ruben Santiago-Hudson '78, accomplished film, stage and television actor, was the keynote speaker (see a video of his speech). He played Bayard Rustin in the recent blockbuster film Selma. Writer and executive producer of Lackawanna Blues, which was telecast on HBO; he also was featured in the show's ensemble cast as Freddie Cobbs. Santiago-Hudson received a Tony Award for his performance in August Wilson's Seven Guitars and an Obie for his autobiographical one-man show Lackawanna Blues, for which he also received an NAACP Image Award nomination. Santiago-Hudson made his Broadway debut as Buddy Bolden opposite Gregory Hines in Jelly's Last Jam, directed by George C. Wolfe. His feature film credits include Domestic Disturbance, Devil's Advocate, Shaft and Blown Away. He is the 2005 recipient of the Binghamton University Alumni Association's Glenn G. Bartle Award. Santiago-Hudson was a speaker at Fall 2103 Commencement, when he was presented with the Harpur College Alumni Award.




Ronald G. Ehrenberg’66, SD ’08 and Anne McCall

Ronald G. Ehrenberg ’66, SD ’08
Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumnus/a Award
The Bartle Award recognizes and honors graduates who have rendered outstanding voluntary service to the Binghamton University community, while also serving their communities, their careers and their country.

See a video of the award presentation and acceptance speech.

Pictured above with Harpur College Dean Anne McCall, Ronald Ehrenberg is the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics at Cornell University. He is also director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute and previously served as a Cornell vice president and trustee. Through his research, he has made fundamental contributions to the study of labor economics and higher education. In 2011, he was awarded the Society of Labor Economists' Jacobs Mincer Career Achievement Award, and in 2013, the Association for the Study of Higher Education's Howard Bowen Distinguished Career Award. Ehrenberg has served, or is serving, on several editorial boards and as a consultant to numerous governmental agencies and commissions as well as university and private research corporations. He also has a passion for undergraduate education and has involved students in his research and has co-authored papers with a number of his undergraduate researchers. In 2005, he was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, the highest award for undergraduate teaching that exists at Cornell. He also has been awarded honorary degrees from SUNY and Penn State University. Ehrenberg was appointed to the State University of New York Board of Trustees in 2010, and chairs the board's Academic Affairs Committee.

As his professional success has grown, he and his wife, Randy Ann Ehrenberg '67, have remained staunch supporters of Harpur College and Binghamton University. Ehrenberg served on the Harpur College Economics Department Advisory Council and regularly presents to faculty and students in the Economics Department. In 1998, the Ehrenbergs established the Judith and Seymour Ehrenberg Endowed Scholarship, which benefits Harpur students of limited financial resources. In 2011, they established the Eric Lawrence Ehrenberg Memorial Award in memory of their son who passed away in 2008 as a result of complications from a brain tumor. The award is given to a graduating senior who has overcome serious health problems or other adversity. In addition, the Ehrenbergs support the Economics Department Undergraduate Research Fund and the Binghamton Fund for Harpur College.



Lisa Abbott, MBA '93 and Peter Guttman '76

Peter Guttman '76
Alumni Achievement Award
This award honors a highly distinguished alumnus or alumna who, over the course of a decade or more, has exemplified outstanding, significant professional achievement.

See a video of the award presentation and acceptance speech.

Pictured above with Alumni Association Volunteer Management Committee Chair Lisa Abbott, MBA '93, Peter Guttman is an award-winning travel journalist — author, photographer, lecturer and adventurer who has traveled on assignment to all seven continents and more than 220 countries. He twice received the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year Award from the Society of American Travel Writers, is the creator of two book series and has author seven hardcovers about his global adventures. He also created five apps for the iPad and iPhone, including the No. 1 best-selling travel app for the iPad, Beautiful Planet HD. The award-winning application, a groundbreaking showcase about the beauty and diversity of our earth, was named by NBC News as one of "eight outstanding educational apps."

Guttman was the first living artist to be honored with an exclusive show of his work on an entire floor at Sotheby's in New York, has had a featured exhibition at the American Film Festival in Deauville, France, and was given a prominent solo exhibition in the lobby of the United Nations. His images fully comprised the first-ever travel campaign for Calvin Klein and have appeared on international postage stamps. His adventure stories and features have been showcased in the spreads of Life magazine, for which he was nominated for the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography. He has been the subject of three profiles in The New York Times. which detailed his annual lecture events that were called "one of the hottest tickets In New York City" by National Public Radio.

Guttman has made numerous television appearances including Today, CNN Travel Guide, profiles on A&E and guest features for the Travel Channel, all highlighting his discoveries and exploits. In addition, he's been a frequent contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, Dallas Morning News, National Geographic Adventure, Outside and BBC.com. He has taught a popular course on travel photography at the International Center of Photography, lectured for museum institutions and corporations, and been called "a one-man Explorer's Club" by The New York Times.

Guttman most recently was named finalist in the international Travel Photographer of the Year competition, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Travel Writers Society and received a George Eastman Power of the Image Award, being cited as one of "20 of the Worlds's Most Influential Photographers."


Fran Srnka-Debnar and Stuart Douglas Hirsch '95, '10Stuart Douglas Hirsch '95, '10
Edward Weisband Distinguished Alumnus/a Award for Public Service or Contribution to Public Affairs
The Weisband Award recognizes one alumnus or alumna each year whose life, work, career and contributions exemplify the highest standards of service and deepest dedication to the sustenance of the common good.

See a video of the award presentation and acceptance speech.

Pictured above with nominator Fran Srnka-Debnar, clinical associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing, Stuart Douglas Hirsch is the founder and Chief Mission Officer In Command of ARCHANGEL AIRBORNE - 1st Humanitarian Special Operations Group/AIR LAND SEA – Expeditionary Mission Team. This non-profit organization utilizes a proven military special operations model to insert highly skilled teams into areas of great disparity and disaster in order to provide transformative humanitarian services and lifesaving rescue efforts. Since 2010, the team has conducted 14 missions, the most recent to Haiti in November 2014. The team is dually tasked to domestic response and flew tons of supplies to a National Guard point of distribution in the wake of Superstorm Sandy during "Operation Jersey Shore Airlift."

In almost five years, the team has impacted the lives of thousands of men, women and children living under the shadows of extreme poverty and disaster through their four-pillared approach of rescue, sustain, train and liberate. The organization actively remissions military veterans and has been featured on 'The Aviators' and other national media venues.

Hirsch credits his anthropology studies at Binghamton as being pivotal in ARCHANGEL AIRBORNE's mission to serve diverse populations and cultures globally. He received the Decker School of Nursing registered professional Nurse Baccalaureate Award in 2010. While a student, Stuart was instrumental in the implementation of a research study that improved the school's simulation program, drawing upon his experience as a professional aviator and instructor pilot. Hirsch was a guest speaker in the Alumni Association's "Cool Connections, Hot Alumni" virtual career series.

Hirsch serves domestically as director of operations for the Department of Emergency Services at Saint Mary's Trauma Center in Waterbury, Conn. He is an FAA-certified commercial pilot and flight instructor. He also volunteers as a firefighter and rescue scuba diver.


Geraldine Toussaint Philippe '08 and Daniel J. Cherico '08Daniel J. Cherico '08
Lois B. DeFleur Distinguished Young Alumnus/a Award
The DeFleur Award recognizes alumni who graduated within the last 10 years or are 35 years of age or under, who are established or demonstrate potential to become future leaders. Criteria includes demonstrated leadership capability, substantial commitment to service of others, demonstration of potential for leadership in the long term and substantial commitment to the University and Alumni Association.

See a video of the award presentation and acceptance speech.

Pictured above with fellow Metro New York Chapter co-chair, Geraldine Toussaint Philippe '08, Daniel J. Cherico had been a regular attendee of alumni events held in the New York City region and frequently assisted the alumni office staff with the planning and implementing of events. He assumed a leadership role when the Alumni Association re-launched its Metro New York Chapter in 2013. Recognizing the job was too large for one person to handle, he was always open to collaboration with chapter co-leaders and steering committee members. In a period of more than a year, the chapter has taken great steps forward to more actively engage the 50,000+ alumni who live in the New York region. Cherico and his team have produced a wide variety of events, such as happy hours, basketball game-watch parties, and industry-specific panel discussions and networking forums.

He is willing to carry the Binghamton banner anywhere and everywhere. In 2012, he attempted a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He brought a Binghamton University banner so he could proudly hold it in a photo taken at the top. A medical emergency forced the entire party to retreat to base camp; however, cherico's journey was documented through our social media and e-newsletter, and there was a photo of him holding the Binghamton banner at a point of more than 10,000 feet above sea level. As a student, he founded the BU Zoo spirit section which is a very visible presence at Bearcat basketball games. Cherico has been actively engaged with the University while maintaining a successful career as a purchasing agent and sales representative at Harris Restaurant Supply, Inc.



In recognition of alumni contributions to specific areas on campus (e.g., schools, admissions, career development center), we are pleased to present Medals of Distinguished Service to the following alumni, who have been tireless volunteers to the University while excelling in their respective career endeavors.

See a video of the medal recipients discussing what the recognition means to them, and why they've remained connected to Binghamton University. 


Randall L. Borkenstein '87Randall Borkenstein '87 – Borkenstein has partnered with Harpur to provide consultation with regard to student program development and engaging alumni in the college's philanthropic mission. He is actively involved in the TAU fraternity. He has volunteered for the Liberal Arts to Careers Externship (LACE) program and the annual Metro Career Night. He is founding donor of Harpur Edge, a new program to help students maximize their liberal arts education. In addition to his contributions to student support, he and his wife, Anita Borkenstein '86, have been longtime supporters of the Jean-Pierre Mileur Faculty Development Fund. He is a managing partner and chief financial officer of Perry Capital.

Tracy Caliendo '97Tracy Caliendo '97 – Caliendo is managing director and head of Americas Hedge Fund Services and Americas head of Electronic Trading Sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She is actively engaged with the School of Management as a member of the SOM Metro Advisory Board, a mentor to students and panelist for the Women in Business program. Caliendo has made countless trips to Binghamton to recruit and mentor students, and participate in the school's annual Mentoring and Networking Event. In addition, she opens her office to support SOM's employer visit program and yield events. She is a longtime volunteer at the annual Metro Career Night event. She has funded a scholarship at the School of Management and also spoke at the school's 2009 Commencement ceremony.

Diane Fischer Castiglione '82Diane Fischer Castiglione '82 – Castiglione has worked for the U.S. Department of State for 30 years. During this time, she has supported the career development of Binghamton University students – especially those interested in public service – in many ways. She led the Washington, D.C. alumni group when it sponsored a program to assist students with obtaining internships in the region and has also recruited at Binghamton on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. In addition, she has mentored students, consulted University staff on how to help students, spoken on campus and to alumni, and served as a host in the Liberal Arts to Careers Externship (LACE) program.

Christina Ann Gerardi, MS '85Christina Ann (Tina) Gerardi, MS '85 – Gerardi is deputy director of the American Organization of Nurse Executives. She was previously chief executive officer of the New York State Nurses Association. She has more than 25 years of experience as a healthcare practitioner, advocate and leader, having advanced from staff nurse to CEO while championing policy initiatives in support of access to quality, affordable healthcare at the state and national levels. She is a member of the Decker School of Nursing Advisory Committee and frequently returned to Binghamton to speak with undergraduate and graduate nursing students on professional practice and healthcare policy issues during her 14-year tenure at the New York State Nurses Association.

Kenneth Goldblatt '87Kenneth Goldblatt '87 – Goldblatt is the CIO and portfolio manager at S Squared Technology, a hedge fund that invests in small and mid-sized technology companies. He is responsible for portfolio and risk management as well as the firm's research process and strategic direction. He is a longtime member of the Binghamton University Foundation Board of Directors, leading outreach efforts and serving on the Programming Committee. He previously served on the Foundation's Investment Committee. Goldblatt and his wife, Sarah, have made gifts to the Binghamton Fund which have had a profound impact on the University and the Watson School.

Andre Hankey '01, MA '03, MSW '05Andre Hankey '01, MA '03, MSW '05 – Hankey is a social worker for the Johnson City School District. Since graduating from Binghamton, he has distinguished himself as a mental health provider and advocate of healthy choices. He has stayed connected to Binghamton University through the SHARE project. He was on the ground floor of the development of this major initiative and was instrumental in supervising new graduate students in Binghamton's social work degree program. As a student, he was a member of the varsity men's basketball team.

Kevin Hoo '96Kevin Hoo '96 – Hoo is vice president for global client and contact data for Credit Suisse. His accomplishments include creating a holistic global MIS platform, which enables senior management to make strategic decisions. In 2005, he was part of a team including four Binghamton alumni that received a Gates Foundation grant and created the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women in Manhattan. As a student, he was president of the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP Nation) and is still actively involved with the progression of this organization.

Howard Rein '76Howard A. Rein '76 – Rein is president of Freed Maxick ABL Services, LLC, a national niche audit field examination service provider. A renowned expert in fraud detection, prevention and litigation support, he frequently lectures on fraud awareness from a lender's perspective. He has been involved with the University for more than 30 years, assisting the admissions office and regularly participating in career fairs. Rein has assisted the School of Management accounting program with regard to alumni mentoring of students on career advocacy. He has been a routine speaker presenting his perspectives on careers in public accounting on campus for undergraduate and MBA students.

Ben G. Vanderlinde '84Ben G. Vanderlinde '84 - Vanderlinde actively supports Binghamton University athletics, serving on the Binghamton Bearcats Board of Directors, Celebrating Women's Athletics Committee and the BBAA Development Committee. He is the owner of local Dunkin' Donuts franchises and has worked with athletics as a corporate partner and sponsor, including the Binghamton Bearcats Basketball showcase, and the Bearcats Hometown Hero Teacher Appreciation contest.


B-CONNECTED with other graduates! B-connected is a secure virtual community only for Binghamton University alumni. Update your personal profile, search for alumni, and submit and read Class Notes. 


SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH US! The Alumni Relations office is asked to recommend alumni who are expert speakers. If you are well-versed in subjects including national security, politics, technology, career networking, environmental studies or etiquette, please contact Melinda Holicky, associate director for alumni volunteer engagement. Include your name, class year and a brief biography. Supporting material could include a c.v. or link to your website.


Liberty Mutual


Newing bank

The Alumni Association and Uncommon Goods (David Bolotsky '85, founder) offer the opportunity to purchase banks made from mailboxes salvaged from Newing Dining Hall. This can be a great gift or keepsake of your time as a student.



Binghamton University Bookstore

SHOW YOUR PRIDE! The Binghamton University Bookstore is your one-stop shop for apparel, accessories and home decor goods.

Last Updated: 9/26/16