Alumni Giving Back

Students walk to class around 8:30am near the Lecture Hall and the Glenn G. Bartle Library on the first day of the Fall semster, August 24, 2021.

Binghamton University students are eager to learn and once their passion is ignited, they remain engaged. With nearly 5,000 research and instruction interactions and 1,702,300 item circulations last year alone, the “very high research activity” that earned Binghamton University the Carnegie classification “R1 institution” is easily seen percolating in the labs, stacks and study rooms across the Binghamton University Libraries’ four locations. The combined strength of our campus Libraries is attributed to the educational standards of the State University of New York system, Binghamton’s longstanding history of administrative excellence and to dedicated alumni and friends like you. But the best kept secret behind the Binghamton University Libraries’ sustained success are 194 student workers and their mentors, our full-time 92 member staff; 24 of whom are Binghamton alumni!

Binghamton University graduates are known for their volunteerism, professional achievements and activism so it is no surprise that some alumni give back by choosing Binghamton as their employer, but each story is unique. Read how 3 of our 24 alumni staff members responded  when they were asked, “Why Binghamton?”

selfie photograph of Andre Mathis, Bartle Library Services Manager, in decorative shirt and tan hat
Andre Mathis ’09, Bartle Library Services Manager

Andre L. Mathis ’09, MPA ’12
Bartle Library Services Manager 

“I knew that there was a world beyond the Big Apple and I was ready to explore it. My high school Guidance Counselor encouraged me to apply to Binghamton and I said, ‘I don’t even know where that is!’ But getting accepted to Binghamton and being part of the Educational Opportunity Program has been as life changing for me as was trading the concrete jungle for rolling hills. 

Binghamton grew so much on me that after completing my undergraduate studies I decided to stay for graduate school. Working for the Libraries for the past couple years feels full circle. It is a way for me to say thank you for being the launch pad that allowed me to see the world more clearly than I could have imagined.”

photograph of Bill Palmer, Special Collections Gift Associate, holding a book.
Bill Palmer ’79, Special Collections Gift Associate

Bill Palmer ’79
Special Collections Gift Associate

Bill came to Binghamton when the Bartle Library was new:

“There was a fish pond under the stairs in the lobby, and a smoking room on the third floor. I loved my time here as an undergraduate. It was, as the saying goes, ‘the makings of me.’ Liberation was in the air (I came out as gay in my junior year and met my partner—later husband—as a senior.) And all these hip, smart kids! I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and got an excellent and very affordable education.

I worked for decades as an editor and, eventually an executive, for an academic publisher. When the company was sold to the proverbial ‘big, British publishing house,’ I was fifty and out of a job. I ended up landing on my feet in a job I love at a place I love—the Binghamton University Libraries. Times have changed, the campus certainly has, since I was a college student here.

But the University has remained committed to the ideals of a public university, free intellectual inquiry and excellence in professional education. I am proud of what I can give back to my dear old alma mater. And I just love my fellow Bearcats!”

Kristi Potter ’13, University Downtown Center Library Services Manager

Kristi Potter ’13, MAT `16, MS SAA `19
University Downtown Center Library Services Manager 

“During my first semester as an undergrad I found the Bartle Library. As I wandered around aimlessly, I found Bartle to be geared more towards traditional students. It was loud with several printers in action, students were walking briskly through the halls looking at their cell phones and chatting with their friends. It was too busy and fast paced for me. 

I decided to check out the Science Library and I found some common ground with the traditional students. They were willing to meet at the Science Library to accomplish group projects. As I finished my undergraduate degree I started attending School of Education classes toward my Masters in Teaching. As a graduate student I continued to utilize the Science Library because it was conveniently located on campus. 

Then, when I was working on my second masters degree in Student Affairs Administration, the program was held at the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) in the downtown center. It was there that I discovered the UDC Library, and to my surprise it was small, personable, quiet and just right! And now… I work here!”