Binghamton University to hold Commencement 2003 on May 18


Binghamton University will confer approximately 3,000 degrees for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates during the 2003 Commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 18, in the Broome
County Veterans Memorial Arena. The ceremonies mark the University’s 57th commencement.

The ceremony for Harpur College of Arts and Sciences graduates is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The ceremony for the graduate and professional schools will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Director and producer Sydney Pollack will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Alan MacDiarmid will receive the honorary Doctor of Science at the morning ceremony. Each will also make remarks.

As the award-winning director of such films as They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Out of Africa, Tootsie, The Way We Were and The Firm, Pollack has explored human conduct, human ethics and values, all while featuring such outstanding performers as Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, Paul Newman and Burt Lancaster.

Winner of Oscars for both directing and producing Out of Africa, Pollack has in recent years acted in Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives, Robert Altman’s The Player and Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her.

Chemist MacDiarmid was honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000, which he shared with fellow researchers Dr. Alan Heeger of the University of California, and Dr. Hideki Shirakawa of the University of Tsukuba in Japan. The award was based on their 1977 discovery of a polymer that could conduct electricity like a metal while retaining the properties of a plastic. Today, thousands of scientists around the world are working on new materials and applications based on the work of MacDiarmid and his collaborators. The technology derived from their studies is being used to make anti-static coating on photographic film and is expected to find its way to energy-saving light devices, LED displays and flexible “plastic” transistors and electrodes in the next few years.

The afternoon ceremony will begin with a welcome by Dr. Russell W. Bessette, M.D., executive director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). As executive director, Bessette leads NYSTAR in fulfilling its mandate to grow New York State's leadership position in high technology research and economic development. A critical element of NYSTAR’s mission is the recognition that New York’s world-class public and private research universities and academic centers are powerful economic development engines that can create new high-tech jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers.

Remarks for the afternoon ceremony will be given by inventor Dean Kamen and Mark Zurack ’78, who will each be conferred with the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Electromechanical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Kamen didn’t like school and earned poor grades while growing up, yet his inventions have changed lives. At the age of 24, he developed the first portable insulin pump, and some of his most recent inventions include an intervascular heart stent used to reduce blockage in arteries, and the Independence 3000 IBOT, an all-terrain wheelchair that can climb stairs and balance itself upright on two wheels. That technol0ogy also led to the production of the Segway Human Transportor, a two-wheeled battery-powered device that can travel up to eight miles per hour.

Kamen also founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit organization that motivates American children to learn about science and technology by pairing engineers and scientists with students in a national robot-building competition.

Zurack graduated from Binghamton University in 1978 with a degree in accounting, then continued his education at Cornell University, earning a master’s degree in business administration. By 1983, he was working as a researcher in the stock index unit for Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. Within three years, Zurack had become vice president of the global equities derivatives research group. In 1994, he became a partner at Goldman Sachs, and two years later was a managing director of the company.

After 18 years with Goldman Sachs, Zurack retired, yet he continues to share his knowledge with students preparing for a financial services career. At Binghamton, he established a scholarship for students in financial need, facilitated a gift from Goldman Sachs to help students using the University’s Career Development Center and, most recently, endowed a distinguished professorship in finance and economics that is shared between the School of Management and Harpur College. He remains an advisory director for Goldman Sachs.

Recognition  ceremonies

A full schedule of recognition ceremonies for individual schools and residence communities is also planned on Saturday, May 17:

School of Education and Human Development
9 a.m., East Gym, Graduates, families and guests

Harpur College
Division of Fine Arts and Humanities, 9:30 a.m., West Gym, Graduates, families and guests

Watson School
10 a.m., Anderson Center Concert Theater, Graduates, families and guests

Harpur College
Division of Science and Mathematics, Noon, West Gym, Graduates, families and guests

School of Management
1 p.m. (reception), 2 p.m. (ceremony), East Gym, Graduates, families and guests

Decker School of Nursing
2 p.m., Anderson Center Concert Theater, Graduates, families and guests

Harpur College
Division of Social Science, 2:30 p.m., West Gym, Graduates, families and guests

Educational Opportunity Program
4 p.m. Watters Theater, Graduates, families and guests

4:30 p.m., CIW Dining Hall, Graduates, families and guests

Dickinson Community
4:30 p.m., Dickinson Dining Hall, Graduates, families and guests

Hillside Community
4:30 p.m., Hillside Commons, Graduates, families and guests

Hinman College
4:30 p.m., Susquehanna Room, Graduates, families and guests

Newing College
4:30 p.m., Newing Dining Hall, Graduates, families and guests

Susquehanna Community
4:30 p.m., Susquehanna Coffeehouse, Graduates, families and guests

Last Updated: 9/17/13