Steve Gardner is gearing up for SUNY Broome’s 24 Hours of Giving.
This proud Hornet has his SUNY Broome Alumnus t-shirt at the ready for Tuesday, December 3rd. While he won’t be awake for the entire 24 hours, he plans to put in some hours to help the Broome Community College Foundation.
“I will be here on that day,” vowed Gardner, a 1973 graduate and Dickinson resident. “It’s always fun to come back.”
And coming back and giving back is something Gardner does often. In fact, while he also volunteers at other campus events, Gardner has been one of the most faithful volunteers for 24 Hours of Giving. He has not missed a single year since 24 Hours of Giving began five years ago.
24 Hours of Giving – known as #Broome24 on social media — kicks off at midnight December 3rd, 2019. All gifts support the BCC Foundation, which provides scholarships to many SUNY Broome students and also funds many campus initiatives. It’s part of Giving Tuesday, a national initiative that kicked off in 2012 and has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits around the globe.
Volunteers – like Steve Gardner – and staff members will be taking pledges around the clock. The day also will feature challenges, prizes and just plain fun, both on campus and in the virtual world via social media and a dedicated webpage at www.sunybroome.edu/broome24.
For alumni such as Gardner, the event represents a chance to reconnect with their alma mater, and share memories about their Broome Tech, BCC or SUNY Broome days. (Fun fact: the College has sported five different names during the course of its nearly 70-year history. They are: the State Institute of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton, Broome County Technical Institute, Broome Technical Community College, Broome Community College and, now, SUNY Broome.)
Gardner first enrolled in 1968 after graduating from Binghamton North High School. Back then – BTCC days, he remembers — the campus only had five buildings. He then went on active duty in the Navy and returned a few years later. In his absence, the Cecil C. Tyrrell Library was built and “Tech” disappeared from the College’s name.
His wife, the former Linda Vescio, is also a SUNY Broome alumna; she graduated in 1972. The two married during Gardner’s second year at the school, where he majored in accounting.
“We have fond memories of BCC. It’s always had non-traditional students,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. It was a great place to go to school.”
He remembers a sign in the Admissions office: “Attend Notre Dame for half price,” a reference to the important role community college has in making education affordable. Then, as now, SUNY Broome proved to be a stepping stone to greater things.
“It prepared you to go to any university,” he said.
Gardner went on to finish a bachelor’s degree in economics at Binghamton University, then called SUNY Binghamton, and spent his career working for banks and credit unions. He spent 19 years as CEO of GHS Federal Credit Union and then eight years as Vice President of National Accounts for Security Mutual Life of New York, before retiring in 2015.
During his career, he and his colleagues took classes at SUNY Broome to keep their skills sharp. They were dubbed “lifelong learners,” he remembered.
In addition to his contributions to the work world, Gardner gave back to his community – and the college. A Town of Dickinson Councilman, he served on the board of the BCC Foundation from 2002 to 2008. When he was CEO, GHS established a scholarship for a continuing Business student that is still awarded today.
Steve and Linda are also proud donors, and encourage other Hornet alumni to consider pitching in.
“For the past 27 years, Linda and I have contributed to the Foundation and I hope that if you’re in a position to contribute to it, you will,” he said.
Steve Gardner also issued a special challenge to his classmates for the 24 Hours of Giving.
“If you’re a member of the class of 1973, I challenge you to make a donation! I want everyone to donate, but especially the class of 1973.”
How to help
We need your help to make the 24 Hours of Giving a success! Visit www.sunybroome.edu/broome24 to make a gift at any time; you don’t need to wait for midnight on December 3rd! Give $1, $10, $1,000 – all amounts are accepted and appreciated.
While you’re on the #Broome24 page, consider becoming a volunteer or reaching out to us and updating your information! Consider becoming a social media ambassador, sharing stories and updates throughout the day on our social media pages, donate treats to the bake sale, answer those crucial phone calls, and much more! Let the BCC Foundation know that you’d like to help.