Sunny Hostin

Hostin, Mair Among Five Alumni to be Honored at Commencement

Alumni receive honorary degrees or awards.


Commencement weekend will see five Harpur College alumni receive honorary degrees or Harpur alumni awards. Ali Çarkoğlu, Richard Byrne and Wayne Philip Rothbaum are other recipients.

Binghamton University | May 15, 2018 - Five Harpur College of Arts and Sciences alumni will receive honors at Binghamton University commencement ceremonies May 18-20.

Political commentator/educator Ali Çarkoğlu PhD ’94, attorney/journalist Asunción “Sunny” Hostin ’90 and Sierra Club President Aaron Mair ’84 will receive honorary degrees. Richard Byrne ’83, president of Benefit Street Partners, and Wayne Philip Rothbaum ’90, president of Quogue Capital, will receive Harpur Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Mair will speak at the graduate ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, May 18, while Carkoglu will speak at the College of Community and Public Affairs ceremony at noon Saturday, May 19. Byrne, Hostin and Rothbaum will deliver their remarks at Harpur commencement ceremonies scheduled for 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20, respectively.

Aaron Mair ’84

Aaron Mair, one of the founders of the environmental justice movement, graduated from Binghamton University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology. He also earned a certificate in Southwest Asia and North Africa Studies. He attended the Naval Education and Training Center in Rhode Island and the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and completed doctoral work at Binghamton University in political science, with the exception of a dissertation.

He is an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health, and an ad-hoc public health community disaster responder, including for the World Trade Center disaster.

In May 2015, he was elected the 57th president of the national Sierra Club, one of the largest and most effective environmental organizations in the world, by its more than 1.3 million members. He is the first African-American to hold the position.

Mair made an inspiring visit to campus in October 2016, explaining that he wanted students to understand that Binghamton University is where he learned the critical thinking, arguing and communication skills that positioned him for his role as an environmental justice pioneer. He also made a point to visit the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which had given him the opportunity to attend college.

Mair co-hosts the AM radio talk show “News, Views, and Interviews” for WROW in Albany, N.Y., and serves on the Office of Public Health Practice, Public Health Information Group, working to identify geographic information system (GIS) capabilities and resources.

He resides in Schenectady, N.Y.

Ali Çarkoğlu, PhD ’94

Ali Çarkoğlu, professor, higher education administrator, political commentator and pathbreaker, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Turkey’s Boğaziçi University in 1986 and 1988, respectively. He received another master’s degree in economics from Rutgers University in 1989, and a PhD in political science from Binghamton University in 1994.

He is former dean of the College of Administrative Sciences and Economics and professor of international relations at Koç University in Istanbul, he is among the most prominent and accomplished political scientists in Turkey.

His work has led to a more comprehensive understanding of Turkey’s political evolution over the past 30 years and has examined critical elements of Turkey’s development as a nation, including the growth of philanthropy and civil society, the establishment of democratic traditions, the rise of conservatism in Turkish politics, and the role of local and central governments in policy making and political Islam.

Collaboration between Binghamton and Turkish universities has been made stronger with Çarkoğlu playing a vital role as a key faculty liaison in stimulating interest at critical early stages of setting up and organizing the dual-diploma program in Global and International Affairs. He remains a research partner with Michael McDonald, professor of political science and director of Binghamton University’s Center on Democratic Performance; with David Campbell, associate professor of public administration; and in cooperation with A. Serdar Atav, professor of health policy and research in the Decker School of Nursing.

Richard Byrne ’83

Richard Byrne earned his bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in 1983, and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

He is president of Benefit Street Partners, a leading credit-focused alternative asset management firm with approximately $23 billion in assets under management, and also serves as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Business Development Corporation of America and chairman and CEO of Benefit Street Partners Realty Trust, Inc.

Prior to joining Benefit Street Partners in 2013, Byrne was CEO of Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. He was also the global co-head of Capital Markets at Deutsche Bank and a member of its Global Banking Executive Committee and Global Markets Executive Committee.

Before joining Deutsche Bank, Byrne was global co-head of the Leveraged Finance Group and global head of Credit Research at Merrill Lynch & Co. He was also a perennially top-ranked credit analyst. He is a member of the board of directors of MFA Financial, Inc. and New York Road Runners.

Byrne has returned to campus to speak with students about careers and created an endowment fund for Judaic Studies.

Asunción “Sunny” Hostin ’90

Asunción Cummings “Sunny” Hostin, former federal prosecutor, columnist, social commentator and multi-platform journalist, enrolled at Binghamton University as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student at the age of 16, received her bachelor’s degree in English and rhetoric in 1990, and earned her law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1994.

Currently the senior legal correspondent and analyst for ABC News and co-host since 2016 of ABC Daytime’s morning show “The View,” she has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, specializing in child sex crimes, and was also a managing director of Business Intelligence and Investigations at Kroll, the world’s leading risk-consulting company.

She also has been a legal analyst for CNN, appearing on several of its shows. In 2008, she was named to Crain’s 40 Under 40 New York’s Rising Stars list and she is the recipient of the Alvin McKenna Alumnus of the Year Award from Notre Dame Law School.

Hostin serves on the Harpur Advocacy Council and has been the featured speaker for the Alumni Association Special Recognition Awards Ceremony, a panelist during the 2015 Metro Career Night and a speaker for the 2015 student-organized TEDxBinghamtonUniversity conference, speaking on “Three Stages of Discovering One’s Purpose in Life: A Possibility Model.”

Hostin lives with her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Emmanuel Hostin, and her son and daughter, in Westchester County, N.Y. She and her husband are part owners of Alvin & Friends Restaurant in New Rochelle, N.Y., which serves contemporary cuisine with Southern and Caribbean flavors.

Wayne Philip Rothbaum ’90

Wayne Rothbaum, a 1990 Binghamton University graduate, is president of Quogue Capital LLC, a private life sciences investment fund focused on investing and supporting small to midcap biotechnology companies.

He began his career with the strategic consulting firm The Carson Group, where he managed its life sciences practice and its boutique life sciences investment bank, Evolution Capital. In 2001, The Carson Group was sold to Thomson Reuters and Rothbaum founded Quogue Capital, through which he has invested and started numerous public and private biotechnology companies.

In 2012, Rothbaum co-founded and was the largest investor in Acerta Pharma, a private company that he later sold to AstraZeneca. In 2017, Acerta’s lead drug, Calquence was approved by the FDA under an accelerated approval process for mantel cell lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer.

Rothbaum founded and supports charitable organizations that promote baseball for young athletes, including The Miracle League of Delray Beach, committed to providing children with physical and mental disabilities the opportunity to play baseball, numerous travel baseball programs throughout New York and Florida, and the Bearcats’ baseball program.

He is married with three young children and resides in south Florida.

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