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Raising the next generation, and yourself, to a higher level

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When Owen Pell '80 received the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa at the May 2011 Commencement, he told graduates, "Each of you can dramatically alter your chances of success by finding good mentors and by being good mentees. Whether you realize it or not, Binghamton has taught you about mentoring and what it means to be a good mentee."

Mentoring is about someone challenging the mentee in order to raise him or her to a higher level of skill or maturity, said Pell, a senior partner at White & Case LLC and authority on the law of looted Holocaust art. It isn't always pleasant and it does not guarantee success. It is "a dance" between two people and the mentee must demonstrate that he or she is eager to work and ask questions.

"It is only by not being afraid to ask questions that you show that you are not afraid to be wrong or to speak up," Pell said.

Terence Keane

Terence Keane, MA ’76, PhD ’79, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on post traumatic stress syndrome, received the degree Doctor of Science honoris causa. In his inspiring address to students receiving masters and doctoral degrees at the graduate commencement, he discussed the importance for his life of A Sense of Where You Are. Written by John McPhee, the 1965 book profiles Princeton University basketball star (and future New York Knick and U.S. senator) Bill Bradley.

The book is still a “powerful metaphor for an academic and scientific career,” Keane said. “Understand what the goal is, assembling a group with similar goals and complementary skills, knowing the strengths of your academic team, relying upon team members to do the things in which they are expert, providing leadership when needed and letting others lead when it’s their time will yield academic success, personal satisfaction and the excitement of discovery throughout the course of your career.”

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Last Updated: 12/10/14