Local physician gives record $1 million gift
Binghamton University announced Wednesday a gift of $1 million from prominent local physician and Binghamton University Foundation Board of Directors member Dr. Bai Lee to benefit the Athletics Department. The announcement was made during a packed press conference in the Events Center TAU Bearcat Room.
This gift will support facility enhancements that will positively impact student-athletes and coaches, including benefits to the academic Student Success Center, strength and conditioning program, sports medicine and more. It is the largest gift athletics has received to date.
“We are grateful to Dr. Lee for this gift, which will make certain that our student athletes have the resources needed to be successful. Moreover, it helps ensure that the Department of Athletics continues to flourish as a significant aspect of a Binghamton University education,” University President Harvey Stenger said.
“This remarkable gift helps put our Division I athletics program on par with other successful programs in our conference,” Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott said. “This generous gift will benefit the Athletics Department for years to come.”
New associate athletics director for facilities hired
Binghamton Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott has named Ze Zeon (pronounced zee zee-on) as the new Associate AD for Facilities and Operations, the school announced on Friday. A former facilities and event operations administrator at Stony Brook, Zeon brings more than eight years of collegiate facilities experience to Binghamton.
“We want to welcome Ze to our Binghamton athletics family,” Elliott said. “He is a top-notch administrator and brings a wealth of operational and facilities experience to our athletics program.”
Zeon will be a member of Elliott’s senior administration and will manage a staff of five full-time employees, one graduate assistant and a core of student workers. He will oversee the day-to-day facilities and game management operations for BU’s 21-sport athletics program, including the scheduling of practices and events, both internal and external. Facilities under his purview are the Events Center, West Gymnasium, Bearcat Sports Complex, baseball and softball complexes and the track and field stadium.
Olympic champion Van Dyken to speak at “Celebrating Women’s Athletics” Luncheon
The Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association (BBAA) will host the 11th Annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon presented by M&T Bank at noon Monday, Feb. 22, at the Events Center.
Held each year to recognize the achievements of Binghamton University’s female student-athletes, the luncheon also raises funding for scholarships awarded to female student-athletes at Binghamton University. This year, former Olympic swimming champion and world record holder Amy Van Dyken will be the featured speaker.
At the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Van Dyken became the first American female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad. Four years later, she captured two more gold medals at the Sydney Olympics. In between those two performances, Van Dyken won three gold medals at the 1998 World Championships, which were held in Perth, Australia.
Following the Atlanta Games, Van Dyken was named the 1996 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. She was also named the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sports Woman of the Year and was selected as one of the 25 most influential females in sports by Women’s Sports and FitnessMagazine.
Van Dyken swam for the University of Arizona her first two years of college (1991 and 1992), where she was a 12-time All-American. Prior to her junior year, she transferred to Colorado State University. In her senior year (1994), she was named the NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year.
In 2007, Van Dyken was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. One year later, she was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame.
Three individuals, one team enshrined in Hall of Fame
Three individuals and one team were honored with enshrinement into the Binghamton University Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Events Center. Nearly 150 people gathered for the inductions of Jim Norris, Jacki Kane, Zach Groh and the 1980 men’s soccer team.
The Binghamton Athletic Hall of Fame, which was established in 1996, honors the individuals who set themselves and the University apart through talent, character, and achievements during the course of their intercollegiate careers. Since then, 98 individuals and two teams have been inducted into the Binghamton Athletic Hall of Fame, bringing the total count to 100.
Athletics celebrates Homecoming Weekend
With ideal weather conditions serving as a backdrop, the Binghamton Athletic Department held its Homecoming events this past weekend.
Five Bearcat programs held their annual alumni games. The women’s lacrosse team had its event on Friday evening while the men’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, softball and men’s tennis programs welcomed back their alums on Saturday. The men’s tennis program concluded the weekend with a dinner off campus.
From 3-6 p.m. on Saturday was the eighth annual Homecoming Tailgate in the Events Center Parking Lot. The Varsity Club, which is opens to all former Binghamton athletes, had a tent sent up in front of the Events Center.
Finally, the men’s soccer team held its annual Homecoming Game at the Bearcats Sports Comlex. A season-high crowd of 1,624 fans watched the Bearcats face UMass Lowell.