NEW PALTZ — Aaron Bindman, a retired sociology professor at SUNY New Paltz, will celebrate his 84th birthday next week with a special swim at the Elting Gymnasium Natatorium.
Bindman, who retired in 1986, and remains a New Paltz resident, will swim a symbolic 84 lengths of the university pool at noon on Tuesday. It continues an annual tradition he started 20 years ago.
Bindman, who swims a mile three times a week, began swimming in 1980. He also played handball until a knee injury ended his playing career at age 67.
He taught at New Paltz for 16 years, including a stint as chairman of the sociology department. In 1971, he established the country’s first Prison Education Program and was coordinator of that program until 1996, when President Bill Clinton signed legislation outlawing Pell grants for the 75,000 inmates Bindman estimated were participating in the program nationwide at that time.
Also an accomplished sculptor, Bindman has six pieces currently on display on campus. His wooden carving of Mao Tse Tsung, titled “We Won,” is prominently displayed with two other pieces in the lobby of the Jacobsen Faculty Tower, and his other three works, including one that depicts Nelson Mandela in jail, are located in the Humanities Building.
Photo available: www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/bindman.html