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President’s State of the University Address Highlights Student, Faculty Success, Commitment to Excellence
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Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., September 30, 2016 Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. delivered his seventh State of the University Address on Wednesday, during which he welcomed new faculty and administrators, expressed appreciation to administrators, faculty and staff for their dedicated efforts, and reinforced the University's commitment to excellence. Acknowledging the many elected representatives and public officials in attendance, as well as members of the Stony Brook Council, he talked about advancements in economic development, research on both main and Medicine campuses, unprecedented diversity initiatives, and faculty research that received worldwide attention. He also mentioned the successful launch of the University's new brand initiative, "Far Beyond," and emphasized the importance of continued federal, state and philanthropic support, and mentioned that Stony Brook is well on its way toward fulfilling a $600 million capital campaign, with $472 million raised to date.

President Stanley set the sights high for the University, and outlined the efforts and initiatives needed to “extend the reach and impact of the University on a local, national and global stage,” and said that “To become a top 20 public university we must pursue excellence in all of our endeavors, including research, scholarship, teaching, athletics and health care.”

President Stanley emphasized the need to help students “Finish in Four,” Stony Brook’s initiative to help students complete their degrees in four years. Noting that graduation rates have improved over the past year, and that graduating on time means students do not have to incur added education loan debt, and enables them to start their careers or pursue graduate education, President Stanley committed to:

  • look at instituting recommendations provided by the President’s “Council Of Student Advisors,” such as offering increased Saturday classes for required courses and labs that tend to bottleneck scheduling efforts;

  • investing $1.6 million  in advising in both people and software;

  • enlarging the freshman EOP/AIM class (class of 2020 is the largest class in University history);

  • improving resources, such as the Library Reading Rooms renovation, creating a modern, user friendly Knowledge Commons -- a $3 million investment, $1 million of which was a gift from the Stony Brook Foundation; and,

  • encouraging students to take advantage of “Finish In Four” funds, which, after a 100 percent success rate after year one, received a $374,000 investment from SUNY.

When talking about the diversity, a top presidential priority, Dr. Stanley highlighted the roll out of his plan, “Equity, Inclusion and Diversity” and gave an update on the progress made thus far including:

  • the completion of leadership training on developing a campus of inclusion;

  • creating a preferred name policy;

  • including gender-inclusive and accessible spaces, such as restrooms;

  • increased content on bias and gender equity for student orientation and 101 courses;

  • development of joint student and University Police activities;

  • active search for a Chief Diversity Officer; and,

  • discussing the University's unwavering commitment to the HeForShe movement.

President Stanley also highlighted the overall growth of the University, describing its national and global reach, and pointing out the upward trend in caliber of students, citing that the class of 2020 is the most competitive (more than 35,000 applications for 2,900 spots) and selective ever in terms of average GPA and SAT scores, making Stony Brook the “12th most selective AAU public university.” He talked about the high quality of new faculty recognizing that “their excellence is a pillar to the University's strength”, adding that Stony Brook has appointed 300 new faculty since 2011 “which is very important to the University's future.”

Finally, President Stanley talked about challenges the University faces when it comes to state funding stating that “there hasn’t been any growth since 2014,” and the University, “has a real sense of urgency to change that since those funds support research, campus facilities, financial aid and critical maintenance.”  He recognized that its been a tough time for research nationally and that in the interim, faculty can help alleviate the void through grants. He announced a proposal development team, committed to helping faculty submit for high value grants, increasing workshops and bringing new construction projects, research and incubator space such as the Medicine and Research Translation building, Hospital Pavilion and Children’s Hospital, the Innovation and Discovery Center and Institute for Discovery at the Interface of Medicine and Engineering. 

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Stony Brook Foundation Knowledge Commons is officially opened. Front row left to right, Senior Vice President for Advancement Dexter Bailey, Dean of Libraries Constantia Constantinou, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, USG president Cole Lee, Provost Michael A. Bernstein, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Matthew Whelan, Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Stony Brook Council Chairman Kevin Law, Stony Brook Council member Christopher Hahn. Second row: Assemblyman Steve Englebright, far left, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Robert Megna, second from left.

Following the address, a ribbon-cutting and tour, hosted by President Stanley and Dean of Libraries Constantia Constantinou, introduced community members to what Stanley called “the biggest transformation in library history.”

On display was a $3 million modernization of the North and Central Reading Rooms, transforming the library into a centralized, interdisciplinary learning environment offering the high-tech features contemporary students require.

 Costs of the renovations were offset by a $1 million gift from the Stony Brook Foundation. In recognition of the gift, the North and Central Reading Rooms will be known as the “Stony Brook Foundation Knowledge Commons.”

 President Stanley thanked the Foundation and also acknowledged the contributions of students to designing a “flexible space for outstanding scholars, designed to meet the needs of a diverse student body.”

 The revamped rooms now offer high-tech study suites featuring the latest technologies, 100-plus computers, increased WiFi access and about 2,000 seats specially designed for comfort, study and socialization. The spaces are beautifully appointed and designed to meet the highest standards of ADA accessibility.

 “Student academic success today depends on meaningful collaborations,” Stanley said. “These renovations turn our Library into a dynamic space that promotes both independent and collaborative learning by maximizing our seating capacity, creating spaces for intimate groups and installing state-of-the-art technology wholly accessible to the Library’s 2.2 million annual visitors.”

 To see the President’s State of the University address in its entirety, click here.

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 About Stony Brook University
Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 universities in the nation and top 50 public universities, and Kiplinger names it one of the 35 best values in public colleges. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. A global ranking by U.S. News & World Report places Stony Brook in the top 1 percent of institutions worldwide.  It is one of only 10 universities nationwide recognized by the National Science Foundation for combining research with undergraduate education. As the  largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.

Media Contact: Alida Almonte 
Office: 631-632-6084 
alida.almonte@stonybrook.edu