SUNY Broome honors 1949 graduate in dedication ceremony

Peter Vallese receives his #12 State Tech Jersey
Peter Vallese receives his #12 State Tech Jersey(WBNG)
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 11:55 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG)-- When SUNY Broome’s starting lineup was announced for Sunday’s game against Finger Lakes Community College, a 1949 graduate was announced as the honorary sixth man.

Peter Vallese was a graduate of SUNY Broome’s first-ever graduating class in 1949. Upon his arrival on campus in 1947, he was excited to join the men’s basketball team. He made it through all of the trial practices to join the team, but 15 minutes before the start of the team’s first game he received some bad news.

An army veteran had enrolled in the college straight from combat and wanted to join the men’s basketball team. Vallese was informed just before the start of the first game that he had to give up his spot on the team.

In a story for SUNY Broome’s alumni magazine this fall, Vallese said he was still holding out for a spot on the team. Finally, his wish came true.

After the starting lineups were announced and Vallese was announced as the team’s honorary sixth man, he was presented with a replica 1947 State Tech jersey. Vallese was surrounded by 30 family members at the event, which was a heartwarming experience for all in attendance.

Director of the SUNY Broome Foundation, Cathy Williams, said honoring Vallese in this way was unlike anything she has ever experienced in her career.

“It’s just very heartwarming for all of us to be able to tell this story,” said Williams.

The dedication ceremony was a part of SUNY Broome’s 75th-anniversary celebration.