The man behind the Goldblatt Challenge

Computer science alumnus and creator of the Goldblatt Challenge Ken Goldblatt ’87 discusses why he gives back to the University.

Computer science alumnus Ken Goldblatt '87 (left) with associate professor William Ziegler.
Computer science alumnus Ken Goldblatt '87 (left) with associate professor William Ziegler.
Computer science alumnus Ken Goldblatt '87 (left) with associate professor William Ziegler.

The faculty and staff of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science certainly know who Ken Goldblatt ’87 is and students may have seen the Goldblatt Challenge posters in offices across campus.

Now, we are introducing Goldblatt to the rest of the Binghamton University community.

Goldblatt graduated with a BS in computer science from Binghamton University in 1987 and earned his MBA in finance from New York University’s Stern School in 1992.

Today, he is the CIO and portfolio manager at S Squared Technology, a hedge fund that invests in small- and mid-sized technology companies, where he is responsible for portfolio and risk management as well as the firm’s research process and strategic direction.

His involvement with and connection to Binghamton University never faltered. Goldblatt has previously served on the Binghamton University Investment Committee and has been serving on the Binghamton University Foundation Board since 2012.

Goldblatt’s involvement meant that when he came back to campus, he would have a chance to reconnect with the people who made his time at Binghamton University so
influential.

In 2013, he returned to campus for a Binghamton University Foundation Board meeting and had a chance to reconnect with associate professor William Ziegler. Ziegler was Goldblatt’s favorite professor and one he worked with often. Goldblatt was Ziegler’s student for three classes and his teaching assistant for another two courses.

In 2017, he started an initiative intended to encourage faculty and staff to become more involved in the success of the Watson School.

The Goldblatt Challenge is a four-year initiative that encourages giving participation from faculty and staff members as a way to show the commitment and dedication that University employees have for the continued growth of the Watson School.

For each year that faculty and staff members meet their participation goal, Goldblatt has promised to give a sizable gift to the Watson Equipment Endowment, a fund used to improve equipment in student labs and technology centers.

The goals become progressively harder. For 2017-2018, Goldblatt set a goal of 20 percent participation. Faculty and staff members could give to any Watson School fund, including specific departments and student competitions like the Binghamton Hyperloop, HackBU or the Binghamton University Mars Rover. For a gift to count toward the participation goal, it had to be at least $50.

The challenge was a completely new experience for the Watson School. In the 2016-2017 year, only 9 percent of faculty and staff gave to the Watson School and the Goldblatt Challenge proposed a participation rate of more than twice that.

Nevertheless, by the end of February 2018, the faculty and staff members had reached the 20 percent participation goal, meaning that more students will be able to use high-end technology thanks to the financial commitments of faculty, staff and Goldblatt.

The Goldblatt Challenge will continue for the next three years with increased participation goals going up to an ambitious 40 percent by 2020-2021.

The challenge is encouraging faculty and staff to show their commitment to the success of students and the Watson school through their own financial contributions and so far, it has been a great triumph.