Alumni Center lounge dedicated
By Steve Seepersaud
The location of our Alumni Center in the heart of campus is meant to symbolize how important alumni like you are to this University. You always have a place to call home when you come back to Binghamton. A recent gift to the University, which attaches a name to what has become a "living room" for alumni coming back to campus, is meant to underscore the symbolic value of alumni.
Jay Benet, a member of the Class of 1974, and his wife, Jeanne, (pictured with President Harvey Stenger) have made a significant gift to the University to name the Alumni Center Lounge. On Oct. 5, alumni and friends gathered for the dedication of the Jay S. and Jeanne Benet Alumni Lounge.
"The Benets' philanthropic savvy enabled them to quickly deduce that having a donor name on this space serves as a powerful symbol of alumni engagement and giving, and how they propel Binghamton to premier," said Jim Broschart, MBA '92, vice president for advancement.
Benet is vice chairman and chief financial officer of Travelers Insurance in Hartford, Conn., and has given the gifts of time, talent and financial resources to the University in the years since he graduated. He has returned to campus on several occasions to speak with current students. Benet's most recent gift will support the Harpur College Faculty Development Fund, the creation of a faculty support grant in the University's new data analytics program and programming in the Office of Alumni Engagement. Previous gifts have benefited the Harpur Fellows Program and Mileur Faculty Development Fund in Harpur.
"Having achieved an extraordinarily senior position in a publicly traded company, Jay knows a thing or two about the importance of leadership and the power of symbols," Broschart said. "By stepping forward as an alumni leader and placing the Benet name on this, one of the most prominent spaces on campus, Jay and Jeanne call attention to opportunities for philanthropic support and send the signal that alumni support is critical to this University, to its students and to the value of the Binghamton University degree. Jay and Jeanne are saying in effect to our alumni: Binghamton deserves your support. Their gift is a catalyst."
Rose Frierman, MA '90, senior director of alumni engagement, said the space, which has already hosted more than 50 events for alumni and students, is already inspiring deeper engagement, dedication and affinity among alumni and students.
"Thanks to [their] generosity, the Office of Alumni Engagement will be able to build on that momentum...Binghamton alumni have great passion for this University and want to stay connected — something the Alumni Center and this lounge will facilitate. It will serve as a showcase for the traditions of the University and those that bind the generations of alumni together," Frierman said.
In his remarks at the dedication, Benet very briefly expressed his appreciation. He referenced that he has been a longtime New York Giants fan, but took a page out from the playbook of the New England Patriots' coach — known for being short and to the point — by offering up a simple "thank you" for the recognition.
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