President Maurie McInnis helped navigate Stony Brook through a worldwide pandemic, with extraordinary challenges at every turn. Yet despite the tremendous obstacles the University faced, she also saw opportunities to respond to society’s needs with ingenuity, authority and purpose and to ramp up our research productivity, replenish our ranks of talent and unleash our faculty to chase their current scientific ambitions and those not yet imagined.
To accomplish these goals, the University is calling on our philanthropic partners to support the Presidential Innovation and Excellence Fund. Inspired by the Simons Foundation’s $25 million outright gift, as well as their pledge to match up to $25 million in gifts to the fund, 43 generous friends stepped forward during the fiscal year to help the University seize this moment.
Q: How will dollars from the Presidential Innovation and Excellence Fund advance excellence across campus?
Stony Brook is known for interdisciplinary research. We are resolute in strengthening this advantage. The funds will encourage, expand and accelerate the new discoveries, new solutions and new knowledge that are needed to address the challenges that lie ahead. We’ll do it by investing in our exceptional faculty, recruiting established scholars with outstanding national and international reputations. We’ll support innovative ideas that will lay the groundwork for big research awards, multi-investigator grants and groundbreaking research that uncovers promising new solutions to society’s most pressing challenges.
Q: Why is research such an integral part of your vision for Stony Brook?
Research forms the fabric of our institution. Our strong research enterprise helps us attract the brightest students and most esteemed faculty, it enhances our reputation among our peer institutions and it attracts essential external funding to the University.
Ranked as the No. 1 public university in New York State, much of our success has been fueled by our research. In a short time, Stony Brook has grown from a college for the preparation of secondary school teachers to one of the nation’s most vital centers of learning and scholarship. Yet, comparatively speaking, Stony Brook is still a young research institution with unlimited potential.
With the proper investments of time and resources, we can seize that potential, grow our research enterprise and drive the future of Stony Brook. We are well on our way, and I believe support from the Presidential Innovation and Excellence Fund will get us there.
Q: Why is it important for the University to burnish our membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU)? How can we best ensure that we will maintain our standing among our esteemed AAU peers?
The AAU is higher education’s imprimatur of excellence. Membership in the AAU is an endorsement of our position among America’s most elite research institutions. With that prestige comes greater access to federal funding, a more prominent role in the shaping of higher education policy and increased prominence in the world of higher education. Of course, ultimately, all of these benefits strengthen our ability to transform lives through education, research and innovation.
To maintain our standing within the AAU requires that we plant our stake in research deeply and broadly. We must continue to examine and define — and live up to — our own standards for excellence. A resource-rich Presidential Innovation and Excellence Fund will provide the means to invest even more in our research enterprise and spur particularly promising initiatives that will enhance scholarship, research and creativity across the University.
In a year of extraordinary challenges, alumni and friends came together in a remarkable way to support our students, faculty, healthcare workers and patients. For a wider view at the vast impact of your support, take a look at this year’s Stony Brook Foundation Annual Report to Donors.