Fourteen Stony Brook University endowed faculty members were formally installed on November 6. The ceremony, held at the Charles B. Wang Center Theater, included addresses from Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis, PhD; Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Carl Lejuez, PhD; and keynote speaker Heather J. Lynch, PhD.
All of these endowed faculty members — and their philanthropists —are equally passionate about their work, ranging from quantum physics to Italian studies, which was highlighted throughout the ceremony.
“These are some of the brightest minds of our time, individuals whose impact will be felt for years to come,” said President McInnis. “I am exceedingly grateful, as I know we all are, for the generous friends who have created our endowed chairs and professorships. Their partnership and the trust they’ve placed in Stony Brook play an essential role in this university’s ascent to becoming the No. 1 public university in New York.”
During the ceremony, each faculty member was awarded a medallion by the dean of their respective school. Philanthropists in attendance were also presented with a medal for their dedication and continued support of the university. The 14 endowed faculty come from across the university, including the Renaissance School of Medicine, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
“Stony Brook is on the rise, as evidenced by our latest jump in rankings and our leadership of major initiatives like the New York Climate Exchange. And without outstanding faculty, none of these advancements happen,” said Provost Lejuez. “They are the innovators, the creators, the scholars, the problem-solvers and the educators. I’m so impressed by the caliber of faculty who have chosen to lead their careers at Stony Brook.”
Being a flagship institution, Stony Brook University graduates exceptional students who will generate new knowledge that will make a difference in the world. In order to attract the best and brightest students, it’s important to have the best faculty. The most critical tools for recruiting and retaining top talent are endowed professorships or chairs. An endowed position is among the highest career distinctions bestowed upon university faculty and serves as a lasting tribute to the generous philanthropists who established them.
Among the philanthropists in attendance were Jan Ellison Baszucki; Marilyn and Jim Simons; Bala and Prabha Swaminathan; Scott Schneider, son of Lillian Schneider; Cary Staller; Laurie Landeau and Bob Maze; Rosalind Walrath; Mark Newhouse of the Ocean Sanctuary Alliance; and Yuri Tschinkel of the Simons Foundation.
Baszucki, along with her husband, David, and the Baszucki Group, have supported the Baszucki Endowed Chair in Metabolic Neuroscience and the work of Lilianne Mujica-Parodi in creating Neuroblox. “This is a frontier — maybe even the last frontier — of neuroscience, and Lily’s vision is moving the field forward so that other families don’t have to fumble in the dark to find interventions that work the way we did,” Baszucki said.
The Thomas Muench Endowed Chair of Economics was established in 2020 as part of a transformative gift from Marilyn Simons ’74, ’84, PhD. “I am delighted that Kathleen has chosen to return to her alma mater to lead this next phase of growth and collaboration within the Department of Economics. Under her visionary leadership, I am confident that our thriving economics program will continue to expand and increase its impact,” said Simons. Marilyn and Jim Simons, as well as the Simons Foundation, most recently pledged $500 million to the university’s unrestricted endowment. Since Marilyn and Jim made their first gift of $750 in 1983, they and the Simons Foundation have committed more than $1.2 billion to Stony Brook.
Bala Swaminathan, along with his wife, Prabha, established the Anandavalli and Dr. G. Swaminathan Endowed Research Professorship in Tamil in honor of Bala’s father and mother. Swaminathan hopes that by studying the Tamil language, scholars will gain insights into humankind’s earliest worldview, providing context for our lives today and our collective, global future. “I have a very high regard for Stony Brook’s research capabilities, and I know Sandhya will be an active contributor on campus, publishing many papers, offering Tamil language classes and creating new knowledge that will perpetuate and celebrate the language that still has so much to teach us,” said Swaminathan.
The faculty members who were invested include:
- Olga Aroniadis, MD, MSc, FACG — Svetlana Koroleva Endowed Professor in Gastroenterology
- Karena Chapman, PhD — Endowed Chair of Materials Chemistry
- Thomas Diacovo, MD — Knapp Chair in Pediatrics
- Eden Figueroa, PhD — Presidential Innovation Endowed Professor
- Thomas Manuel, DMA — Department of Music Endowed Artist in Residence Fellow
- Kathleen McGarry, PhD — Thomas Muench Endowed Distinguished Chair of Economics
- Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, PhD — Baszucki Endowed Chair in Metabolic Neuroscience
- Ellen K. Pikitch, PhD — Endowed Professor of Ocean Conservation Science
- Loredana Polezzi, PhD — Alfonse M. D’Amato Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies
- Leonardo Rastelli, PhD — Renaissance Endowed Chair of Theoretical Physics
- Sandhya Sundaresan, PhD — Anandavalli and Dr. G. Swaminathan Endowed Research Professor in Tamil
- Styliani-Anna E. Tsirka, PhD — Miriam and David Donoho Distinguished Professor
- James A. Vosswinkel, MD, FACS — Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Chair in Trauma Surgery
- William A. Wertheim, MD, MBA — Endowed Chair in Graduate Medical Education
About Endowed Faculty Positions
Endowed professorships and chairs, often named as an enduring tribute to the philanthropist, are a hallmark of leading academic institutions, bringing recognition to the faculty member, their department and the university. These positions, considered one of the highest career distinctions bestowed upon university faculty, are also a source of continuous funding to support scholarly work, research and the recruitment of the brightest students and eminent faculty. Learn more about endowment gifts and all Stony Brook endowed faculty positions.
About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university — is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,900 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic healthcare system and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive, distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality and is ranked as the No. 58 overall university and No. 26 among public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook retains membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), placing it among the top 71 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. In 2023, Stony Brook was named the anchor institution for the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island in New York City. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stonybrooku/) and X (@stonybrooku).