Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degree recipients' lives and achievements should serve as examples of the University's aspirations for its students. Because the nominee's achievements must be both relevant and appropriate to the Binghamton University campus, those with a connection to the campus or a member of the University community are preferred.

Campus nominations are considered sequentially by the President's Honorary Degree Advisory Committee, the SUNY Chancellor, the SUNY Honorary Degree Committee and the SUNY Board of Trustees.

The Office of the President invites nominations of individuals to be considered for honorary degree. Please submit your nomination to the dean of your school or directly to the president if you have no school affiliation. Typically, nominations should be submitted before the end of March for consideration for the following year's Commencement.

To nominate someone, submit a letter of nomination describing why the nominee's distinction or eminence in his or her field justifies the awarding of an honorary degree and stating how the nominee's achievements are relevant to our campus. Please provide detailed information about the nominee's accomplishments, such as a vitae or Who's Who entry, if available. Confidentiality should be maintained, particularly with regard to the nominee. No one already holding an honorary degree from any SUNY institution is eligible to receive another one. To check in advance regarding an individual's eligibility or for other questions concerning criteria and process, contact the President's Office at 777-2131 or Pamela Mischen, faculty advisor to the president, at pmischen@binghamton.edu.

Previous honorary degree recipients include:

  • Edwin Link, 1981
    Inventor and father of simulation technology
  • David deWied, 1981
    Discoverer of neuropeptides
  • Charles Singleton, 1981
    Professor emeritus of humanistic studies, Johns Hopkins University
  • Paul Kristeller, 1982
    Professor of philosophy, Columbia University
  • David Soyer, Arnold Steinhardt and Michael Tree, all 1983
    Founding members of the Guarneri Quartet
  • Rene Wellek, 1983
    Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Yale University
  • Thomas Goddard Bergin, 1984
    Sterling Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages, Yale University
  • Abraham Briloff, 1984
    Professor of accounting and financial ethicist
  • Helen Mary Caldicott, 1984
    Physician and activist
  • Leroy "Slam" Stewart, 1984
    Jazz musician
  • Kenneth Clark, 1985
  • Roald Hoffman, 1985
    Founder of holistic medicine
  • Winfred Lehmann, 1985
    Ashbel Smith Professor of Linguistics and German Languages, University of Texas
  • Eliezer Wiesel, 1985
    Andrew Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Boston University
  • Morton Bloomfield, 1986
    Professor emeritus of English and American literature and language, Harvard University
  • Stephen Jay Gould, 1986
    Evolutionary biologist and historian of science
  • Paul D. Maclean, MD, 1986
    Intramural research scientist, National Institute of Mental Health
  • Josef Skvorecky, 1986
    Professor of English, University of Toronto
  • Brian Urquhart, 1986
    Under-secretary of the United Nations
  • Manfred Lachs, 1987
    Judge on the International Court of Justice
  • Bernard Lewis, 1987
    Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
  • John Hope Franklin, 1988
  • Alvin Liberman, 1988
    Speech psychologist
  • Aryeh Neier, 1988
    Human rights activist and founder of Americas Watch
  • Lewis Branscomb, 1989
    Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Majid Khadduri, 1989
    Distinguished research professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
  • Lofti Zadeh, 1989
    Professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, University of California, Berkeley
  • Byllye Avery, 1990
    Founder and director, National Black Women's Health Network
  • Leszek Kolakowski, 1990
    Senior research fellow, All Souls' College, Oxford University
  • Jacob Lawrence, 1990
    Professor of art, University of Washington
  • Andrew Rutherford, 1990
    Warden, Goldsmiths' Colege, University of London
  • Gunther Wilke, 1990
    Director, Max Planck Institute for Coal Research
  • Jerome Frank, 1991
    Psychiatrist and psychologist, professor emeritus, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Niara Sudarkasa, 1991
    African-American anthropologist and educator
  • Jack Kilby, 1992
    Nobel Laureate and co-inventor of the integrated circuit
  • Johnnetta Cole, 1993
    President, Spelman College
  • Deborah Tannen, 1993
    Linguist and author
  • Andrew Bergman, 1994
    Film producer
  • John Cairns, 1994
    University distinguished professor of environmental biology, director of University Center for Environmental Studies and Hazardous Materials Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Mary Lowe Good, 1994
    Senior vice president for technology, Allied SIgnal, Inc.
  • Matthew McHugh, 1994
    Counselor to the president, The World Bank
  • William Julius Wilson, 1994
    Director and Lucy Flower University Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, University of Chicago, Center for the Study of Urban Inequity
  • Ilya Prigogine, 1995
    Noble Laureate in chemistry
  • Art Spiegelman, 1995
    Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic artist
  • Chinua Achebe, 1996
  • Shirley Sears Chater, 1996
    Educator and administrator, commissioner, Social Security Administration
  • Willhelm Gispen, 1996
    Leading scholar on the functioning of the brain
  • Donald Westlake, 1996
    One of the most successful mystery writers in the country
  • Linda Gordon, 1997
  • Maxine Greene, 1997
    Scholar and teacher in the philosophy and history of education, curriculum studies, teacher education and aesthetic education
  • Walter Isard, 1997
    Economist and founder of the discipline of peace science
  • Arnold Levine, 1997
    Molecular biologist and discoverer of tumor suppressant protein
  • Israel Rosefsky, 1997
    Pediatrician and philanthropist
  • Rodrigo Carazo, 1998
    Former president of United Nationals, established University of Peace
  • Susan Clark-Johnson, 1998
    President/publisher, journalist, editor, Gannett
  • C. Peter Magrath, 1998
    President of NASULGC, former president of Binghamton University, former University of Minnesota president
  • George Olah, 1998
    Scholar, researcher in superacids and carbocation chemistry
  • Robert W. Fogel, 1999
    Economic historian and early advocate of using quantitative methods in history
  • Mary Francis Berry, 1999
    Former chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
  • David Komansky, 1999
    Chairman of the board and COO of Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner Smith
  • Kurt Masur, 1999
    Music director, New York Philharmonic
  • R. Nicholas Burns, 2000
    U.S. Ambassador to Greece
  • Steve Kroft, 2000
    Television journalist
  • Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, 2000
    President, Systems Software, Inc., founder of Howard University's Center for Research in Evaluating Software, alumna 1970
  • Paul Reiser, 2000
    Author, actor and comedian, alumnus 1977
  • Loretta Ford, 2001
    Founding dean and dean emeritus, University of Rochester, leader/pioneer in nurse practitioner model
  • Stewart Paperin, 2001
    Executive vice president, Soros Foundation, alumnus 1968 and 1969
  • Robert Pinsky, 2001
    Poetry editor, 1997-2000 Poet Laureate
  • Freeman Hrabowski III, 2002
    President, University of Maryland, African-American leader, nationally acclaimed educator
  • Gary Kunis, 2002
    Former vice president and chief science officer for Cisco Systems, Inc
  • Elmar Oliveira, 2002
    Classical violinist
  • Kemal Guruz, 2003
    President, Turkish Council of Higher Education
  • Dean Kamen, 2003
    Engineer, entrepreneur, inventor
  • Alan MacDiarmid, 2003
    2000 Novel Prize winner in chemistry, Blanchard Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
  • Mark A. Zurack, 2003
    Former executive vice president, Goldman Sachs
  • Sydney Pollack, 2003
    Author and film producer
  • Edgar Bronfman, 2004
    President, World Jewish Congress, chairman of International Board of Governors for Hillel
  • Eugene DeLoatch, 2004
    Dean of School of Engineering, Morgan State University, first African- American president of American Society for Engineering
  • Charlene Kahlor Kramer, 2004
    Vice president of Corporate Letters Communications, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), alumna 1973
  • Ezra Laderman, 2004
    President, American Music Center
  • Ada Sue Hinshaw, 2005
    Founding director of the National Institute for Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dean of School of Nursing, University of Michigan
  • Evelyn Glennie, 2006
    Scottish percussionist and timpanist
  • Erwin Goldberg, 2006
    Professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, Northwestern University, alumnus 1956
  • Linda Greenhouse, 2006
    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
  • Allan Lyons, 2007
    Accountant, financier, educator and business leader
  • J. David Singer, 2007
    Political scientist and educator
  • Ronald Ehrenberg, 2008
    Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell University, alumnus 1966
  • Richard Felder, 2008
    Hoechst Celanse Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University
  • Theodore Kooser, 2008
    Former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry
  • Raymond Osterhout, 2008
    Philanthropist, retired group vice president and underwriting and marketing manager, Swiss Reinsurance Corporation
  • David Sedaris, 2008
    Author and humorist
  • Geoffrey Canada, 2009
    Social welfare administrator, educator and writer
  • Sandra Day O'Connor, 2009
    United States Supreme Court Justice
  • Mario Paniccia, 2009
    Director, Photonics Techology Lab, Corporate Technology Group, Intel Corporation, alumnus 1988
  • Lawrence Schorr, 2009
    Attorney and philanthropist, alumnus 1975 and 1977
  • Ahmet Acar, 2010
    Rector/professor, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
  • Steven Bloom, 2010
    Philanthropist, financial analyst, alumnus 1978
  • Terrence Keane, 2011
    Professor and vice chairman in psychiatry, Boston University, alumnus 1976 and 1979
  • David Orr, 2011
    Paul Sears Distinguished Professor and chair, environmental studies program at Oberlin College
  • Owen C. Pell, 2011
    International litigator, alumnus 1980
  • James Carrigg, 2012
    Watson College founder and retired president, chairman and CEO of New York State Electric & Gas
  • Steve Karmen, 2012
    Composer, musician, arranger, author
  • Paul Turovsky, 2012
    Philanthropist, founding partner, True North Management Group, alumnus 1973
  • Mary Wakefield, 2012
    Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Marilyn Link, 2013
    Pioneering Pilot, educator, philanthropist and managing director of an oceanographic institute
  • Voya Markovich, 2013
    Leading expert in advanced electronics packaging
  • Nancy Wackstein, 2013
    Preeminent social worker and champion of the homeless and disadvantaged, alumna 1973
  • George Whitesides, 2013
    Prolific and influential scientist in chemistry, materials science, physics and engineering
  • Carol Harter, 2014
    Academic administrator and English language educator, alumna 1964.MA 1967, PhD 1970
  • Eric P. Schwartz, 2014
    Public policy scholar, public servant and international humanitarian and human rights expert, alumnus 1979
  • Deborah Gray White, 2014
    Academician and influential historian of African-American and American women's history, alumna 1971
  • Horace Wood Gibson Jr., 2015
    Renaissance man and educator
  • Jason Randolph Stanley, 2015
    Professor of philosophy at Yale University
  • Tien Wu, 2015
    CEO and member of the board of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc.
  • John R. Bartle, 2016
    Dean of the college of Public Affairs and Community Service, and professor of public administration, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Marc Lawrence '81, 2016
    Screenwriter, producer, director
  • Nathan Englander '91, 2017
    Award-winning author, playwright and translator
  • Anthony "Tony" Kornheiser '70, 2017
    Sports journalist and commentator
  • Geraldine MacDonald '68, MS '73, 2017
    Pioneer of internet communications
  • Sergio Rapu Haoa, 2017
    Archaeologist and cultural ambassador for Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island)
  • Ali Çarkoğlu, PhD '94, 2018
    Professor, higher education administrator and political commentator
  • Asunción "Sunny" Hostin '90, 2018
    Columnist, social commentator and multi-platform journalist
  • Aaron Mair '84, 2018
    A founder of the environmental justice movement
  • Balakrishna "Balki" Iyer, MS '00, 2019
    Business leader and educator
  • Patricia Saunders '65, 2019
    Humanitarian and student-athlete advocate
  • Howard Unger '82, 2019
    Financial innovator and world peace advocate