Grads get history lesson, inspirational advice

James Carrigg, retired CEO of New York State Electric & Gas Corp. and founding member of the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, receives an honorary degree from Provost Donald Nieman, left, and President Harvey Stenger. Photo by Jonathan Cohen

By Eric Coker| DECEMBER 17, 2012

James Carrigg has no doubts that the Class of 2012 will make the right decisions in the future.

“As you all venture forth from this great University to a new job, additional education, or to start your own business as an entrepreneur, I submit you will someday have your own ‘defining moment’ when you must ask yourself: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’” Carrigg said.

Carrigg, a longtime chairman, chief executive officer and president of New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG), received an honorary degree and spoke at the Commencement ceremony held Dec. 16 at the Events Center.

More than 760 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded during the two-hour ceremony, which also featured addresses from President Harvey Stenger, doctoral-degree recipient Jason Loew and bachelor’s-degree recipient Matthew Comite.

Carrigg has had a long and involved connection with Binghamton University, supporting the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts, athletics, the Institute for Child Development and scholarships honoring former President Lois B. DeFleur, former Watson Dean Lyle Feisel and Vice President Thomas Kelly. He is also a past chair of the Harpur Forum and a past member of the Binghamton Foundation Board of Directors.

But Carrigg admitted to the graduates that “my role here today is clearly linked to the establishment of the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science,” which opened in June 1983.

“A number of key people in this community banded together and embarked on a crusade to make it happen,” Carrigg said. “Why? Because it was the right thing to do!”

Read more here