The largest comprehensive gifts campaign in Binghamton University history is on its way to a new “super goal.”
Launched in April 2022, “EXCELERATE” sought to raise $220 million by 2024, more than double the amount of any prior campaign. With a new goal of raising $250 million, EXCELERATE’s priorities included supporting investments in faculty and faculty research, internships and opportunities for students while providing scholarships for those in financial need. The initiative brought together faculty, administrators, alumni and business leaders.
John Koch, the University’s vice president for advancement, described the campaign’s impact on the campus community.
“EXCELERATE donor support makes opportunities possible for our entire campus community,” Koch wrote in an email. “Scholarships, emergency support some students need to stay enrolled at [BU], funding so students can accept unpaid internships, resources for students to conduct meaningful research with top faculty and so much more.”
According to figures provided by the University, $28 million was raised for research grants, programs like the 2016-founded Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) and faculty investment, including endowed positions. Endowed chairs and professorships — of which EXCELERATE sought to obtain $3 million and $1.5 million respectively — are distinguished faculty appointments whose activities are partly supported by private donors, according to the University of Texas at Dallas.
An additional $118.5 million will go toward the “student experience” — which includes internships, student-centered infrastructure and special learning programs. $13 million was raised for the Binghamton Fund — which will support student learning beyond the classroom — and $63.5 million was raised for scholarships.
Kerry Whigham, I-GMAP’s co-director and an assistant professor of genocide and mass atrocity prevention, said that EXCELERATE funding will allow the Institute to expand its programming over the next three years.
“I-GMAP will be leading a three-year research and advocacy project called Safer Havens, which focuses on state and civil society responses to forced displacement around the world,” Whigham wrote in an email. “This will begin with a meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, this November. Additionally, we will be able to continue awarding an annual Nadia Rubaii Memorial Prize in the name of our former colleague and founding co-director of I-GMAP, Nadia Rubaii. Finally, we will also be able to offer several fellowships to support students in I-GMAP’s one-of-a-kind [master’s of science] in GMAP degree program.”
In a video message, Howard Unger ‘82, LHD ‘19, EXCELERATE’s campaign chair, said that he enjoyed reaching out to alumni, explaining the contrasts with other colleges and universities.
“[BU] is still a young university,” Unger said. “When we think about our alumni base compared to the other state schools and private universities that we compete with, we have a young base.”
Some other members on the campaign committee include actor William Baldwin ‘85, Karen Jones — BU’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion — Tyrone Muse, the president and CEO of Visions Federal Credit Union and Stephanie Courtney ‘92, known as “Flo from Progressive.”
Kenny Pasato, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said that the funding campaign’s success reflects well on the University’s academic goals, though he expressed that more support is needed for mental health.
“I think it’s great that they met their goal so quickly,” Pasato said. “More needs to be done though with student’s well-being, and I hope that [BU] invests more not just in research, but in a holistic student experience.”