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Binghamton University to use “seven-figure” donation to launch Institute for Social Justice for Women and Girls

By Eric Reinhardt


VESTAL, N.Y. — Binghamton University will use a “seven-figure” donation to establish an Institute for Social Justice for Women and Girls.

Psychologist Ellyn Uram Kaschak, who graduated from Binghamton University, donated the money, the school said in a Tuesday news release.

“No word on the actual dollar amount [of the Kaschak donation],” John Brhel, communications manager at Binghamton University, says in an email response to a BJNN inquiry.

“This is a wonderful investment in social sciences and humanities and what they can bring to solving really pressing problems of social justice for over half the world’s population, and we are very grateful for it and excited about it,” Donald Nieman, executive VP and provost at Binghamton University, said in the release. “The institute will create an evidence base for practice to be looked at in a scholarly way.”

About the institute

The institute will open its doors this August and will announce plans for programs to support faculty and student research “soon,” Brhel says.

In collaboration with Binghamton’s Human Rights Institute and the United Kingdom’s Sheffield Hallam University, the institute will sponsor an international conference on women, peace, and security on the Binghamton campus in April 2020.

The event will bring scholars and practitioners from around the world to Binghamton to discuss “critical issues in the rights and position of women globally,” he adds.

Susan Strehle is the institute’s founding director. She will develop a program supporting faculty affiliates, practitioners-in-residence, and student fellows at the graduate and undergraduate levels, “all while fostering public engagement and outreach.”

An executive committee of faculty formed across Binghamton’s schools and disciplines will provide assistance in the effort.

The strength of the institute “comes from the donor,” Strehle said in the Binghamton news release.

“Ellyn’s vision is that she wants this work to go back into the real world and improve lives and opportunities for women and girls. She understands the value of academic research, but knows it can also make a difference,” Strehle added.

The institute will put out a call to faculty and students for proposals supporting research in this field, Strehle said. The institute will support new and ongoing research projects.

“One of the challenges is to bridge solid academic research with the need to make a ‘real-world’ difference,” said Strehle. “Scholarship in some fields is designed for other academics. But a project that begins as an academic analysis can have clear social outcomes and, in the classroom, all of it does because of the way we teach students and talk about women and girls.”

Strehle sees the institute empowering research in many different fields that will contribute to Kaschak’s activist vision of a “direct, positive impact on the lives of women and girls.”

Contact Reinhardt at

Photo credit: Binghamton University

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