Three Binghamton University alumni and a Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science partner will receive honorary doctorates at this year’s commencement ceremonies.

The four honorary doctorate awardees will be Alexander Vindman ‘98, Yasmin Hurd ‘82, Lee Ranaldo ‘78 and Govindasamy Viswanathan. SUNY honorary degrees aim to recognize significant achievements associated with SUNY campuses. The President’s Honorary Degree Advisory Committee, the SUNY chancellor, the SUNY Honorary Degree Committee and the SUNY Board of Trustees select the candidates, who are typically affiliated with the University and have made outstanding achievements in fine arts, humane letters, law, music or science.

The honorary degrees “‘[celebrate] the recipients’ achievements and [claim] them as having a special relationship with the University.”

“[BU’s] Office of the President invites nominations of individuals who represent what the University values and strives to instill in its graduates,” a BingUNews story reads. “Their accomplishments may be scholarly, artistic or a life of outstanding service.”

Vindman will be awarded the Doctor of Laws during the College of Community and Public Affairs ceremony. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Vindman is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who earned the Purple Heart during the Iraq War. Since his retirement from the Army in 2020, he has headed the Institute for Informed American Leadership, a national security think tank, and the Here Right Matters Foundation — a nonprofit dedicated to aiding Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia.

He served as the director of European affairs for the U.S. National Security Council from 2018 to 2020. In October 2019, Vindman testified at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, revealing details of an alleged phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president whom Trump attempted to recruit to investigate his political rivals. Following his testimony, Vindman has continued sharing his expertise in American and Ukrainian politicians with media outlets.

Hurd, a neuroscientist, will receive the Doctor of Science during the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences commencement. Hurd earned a Ph.D. in medical science from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and her research focuses on the neurobiology behind addiction disorders and mental illness, highlighting risk factors and developmental concerns related to drug abuse. Hurd holds leadership positions in medical institutes across the country, including the board of scientific counselors at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Serving as the Ward-Coleman chair of translational neuroscience and director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai, Hurd is also a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine, leading the Hurd Lab in addiction treatment research. She has over 140 papers published in leading medical journals.

During the Harpur ceremony, the Doctor of Music will be awarded to Ranaldo, a musician, artist and writer. He was the guitarist for the critically acclaimed alternative rock band Sonic Youth, performing with them from 1981 to 2011. In 2004, he was listed as No. 33 on Rolling Stone’s “Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Ranaldo has also worked on solo projects and collaborations, including “Music of Morocco from the Library of Congress,” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2017. His artwork has been featured in galleries and museums around the world, including at the VOLTA fair in Manhattan and in Menen, Belgium.

Viswanathan will be awarded the Doctor of Laws during the Watson College commencement. In 1984, Viswanathan founded the Vellore Institute of Technology, a university in India that has partnered with BU for almost 15 years. The institute, which has been recognized as a university of eminence in India, is hailed for its academic accomplishments and dedication to supporting socially and economically disadvantaged students.

From 1967 to 1977, Viswanathan served as a member of the Indian Parliament and was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for 10 years. In 2011, he founded the Universal Higher Education Trust to encourage underprivileged people in India to pursue higher education. Spearheading community sustainability efforts, Viswanathan launched the Clean Palar Project to clean the Palar River and a project to plant one million trees in Vellore, India.

Following the awarding of the honorary degrees, recipients will have the opportunity to address the audience. The four commencement ceremonies will take place in the Events Center from May 9 to May 11.