Binghamton community philanthropist and businessman Burton “Bud” Koffman died on Sept. 20. He was 92.
Koffman was a member of the Binghamton Advisory Board to the School of Management (SOM) and the Binghamton University Forum, an organization that brings together community members interested in advancing the University. He also invested in the Events Center and the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, dedicated in his name.
“Bud was often heard saying, ‘You’re only limited by your own creativity,’ and we think it is fitting that the incubator is a place where ideas can thrive,” read a post on the incubator’s Facebook page on Sept. 22.
Koffman also invested in business development on the undergraduate level. He was a guest lecturer and case competition judge in SOM. According to SOM Dean Upinder Dhillon, Koffman helped students take their business plans through the different stages of planning, often providing advice and funding.
“He was all in, not only giving his money but his time,” Dhillon said.
Dhillon was a friend of Koffman’s for more than 25 years, and often played golf with him. The dean said he was heartbroken when he heard the news that Koffman had passed.
“He was really a tremendous business mind,” Dhillon said. “He was what I call a ‘quintessential dealmaker,’ and that’s what he had a lot of pride in.”
Dhillon has held the title of Koffman Scholar since 1997. The title, established through Koffman’s first large gift to the University in 1991, is meant to retain top talent in the field of finance at the University with the incentive of a supplemental salary. This is but one of the many ways Koffman and his wife, Ruthanne, sought to contribute to their hometown, Dhillon said.
Koffman was born in the city of Binghamton in 1925. He spent most of his early life in the area before attending Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. Later, he attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for a semester before joining the military. During World War II, he traveled to North Africa, Italy, France and Germany while working with army intelligence to read and sort maps.
He later returned to Wharton, where he played football and graduated with a bachelor’s in economics. Following graduation, he returned to the Binghamton area and worked with his family’s business, Public Loan Company. Later, he founded his own company, the Beacon Loan Company, and merged it with the family business before expanding to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In addition to his business experience, Koffman also had a deep interest in poetry and philanthropy. He was a founding member of the Temple Concord of Binghamton and the Jewish Community Center of Binghamton, and in 2011 was inducted into the center’s Hall of Fame for his athleticism and involvement in the organization.
Dan Whalen, director of the health, physical education and recreation program at the Jewish Community Center, said that Koffman was instrumental in the building and development, as well as longevity, of the center.
“He’s not only extremely successful, smart and all the traits of a great man, but also does so while being very, very humble,” Whalen said.
Whalen said that there was never a time Koffman wasn’t smiling and that he always lit up a room.
Koffman is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruthanne, four children and nine grandchildren. More than 400 people attended his “Celebration of Life” service at Temple Israel in Vestal on Sunday, Sept. 24.
His family has requested that instead of flowers, donations should be made in Koffman’s name to the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton, the Jewish Community Center of Binghamton or any charity of the donor’s choice.