Notable alumni receive recognition at Homecoming
Some of Binghamton University's most accomplished graduates received honors during Homecoming weekend. The Alumni Association presented its annual special recognition awards at a ceremony held Sept. 24, in the West Gym.
Judith Bernstein-Baker '66 received the Edward Weisband Distinguished Alumna Award for Public Service or Contribution to Public Affairs. She is executive director of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1882, HIAS and Council – and its predecessor organizations – have helped more than 300,000 newcomers immigrate and integrate into the Philadelphia region.
Anthony S. Kendall '83, MBA '85, received the Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumnus Award. Kendall is chief executive officer at Mitchell & Titus LLP, the largest minority-controlled CPA firm in the United States. As Alumni Association board president from 2007 to 2011, his priority was to make the association a more visible and relevant presence on and off campus. He has also served on the Binghamton University Foundation Board of Directors and School of Management Advisory Board. Kendall dedicated a room in Academic A in honor of his mother, Shirley Kendall-Stanley.
Stephanie Skiba '07 is the first-ever recipient of the Lois B. DeFleur Distinguished Young Alumna Award. She is a third-grade teacher at P.S. 86 in the Bronx, where she leads the Service-in-Schools team, a program that empowers students and faculty to give back to the community. She developed a Volunteerism Action Plan that planned a service-learning activity for each month of the school year. The most successful project was Pennies for Peace, through which P.S. 86 raised $2,049.85 to help build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Sean Hembrick '09 is the 2011 recipient of the Alumni Admissions Volunteer Recognition Award. For several years, he has assisted the University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions with college fairs in the metro New York region. He promotes Binghamton to high school students through these events, as well as in e-mail messages he sends to students admitted to the University.
Marilyn Gaddis Rose received the Distinguished Service Award. Gaddis Rose is a distinguished service professor of comparative literature at Binghamton University and has been a member of the Harpur College faculty since 1968. Working with colleague Carrol Coates, professor of French, comparative literature and linguistics, she developed the Translation Research and Instruction Program in 1973. She is a significant donor to the program. Gaddis Rose was named SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in 1991 in recognition of her application of scholarly interests to issues of public concern.
Also, during Homecoming weekend, the Athletics Department inducted three members into its Hall of Fame: former All-Americans Mike Ventura (track, 1993-95) and Yun Qu (swimming, 2001-04) and former athletics director Joel Thirer (1989-2009).
Ventura was an elite thrower, earning a pair of All-America track & field honors between 1994-95. He excelled at the discus, javelin and shot put. Ventura placed fourth in the javelin at the 1994 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championship and took sixth in the discus at the 1995 national meet. He also placed seventh in the shot at the 1994 NCAA Indoor Championship. Ventura was a three-time SUNYAC and three-time New York State champion and was named the Most Outstanding Athlete at the 1994 New York State Championship. He was selected as the University's John Bilos Award winner in 1995.
Qu was the most decorated recruit in the department's history when she arrived from China in 2001, with a resume that included eight years of experience with the Chinese National Team. She placed fourth in the 200 fly at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and was ranked among the top 10 swimmers in the world in the butterfly events. In Binghamton's very first year as a Division I program, Qu became its first Division I All-American when she placed 13th in the 200 butterfly at the 2002 NCAA Championship. A two-time NCAA qualifier and scholar-athlete, Qu earned four America East titles and set seven school records in her three-year collegiate career. She was named the America East Most Outstanding Swimmer in 2002 and was the school's Athlete of the Year that same year. She is currently an assistant coach at Binghamton.
During his 20-year tenure as director of athletics, Thirer transformed the department from a Division III program into the current expansive and flourishing Division I program with unprecedented campus, community and alumni support. His tireless efforts resulted in Binghamton being selected for membership in the America East Conference in 2001. Along the way, he played a key role in numerous facility projects, including the strategic planning for the construction of the Events Center and Bearcats Sports Complex.