The Fall 2020 semester at Stony Brook is an experience unlike any other, because this is a time unlike any other. It’s a defining moment in campus history when we’re reimagining and reengineering how we study and work together.
But the singular constant is this: Alumni and friends are more determined than ever to help talented students from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds thrive at Stony Brook and be prepared for successful careers and purposeful lives.
In fact, even during this tumultuous time, over 1,200 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends contributed to help students facing a financial crisis during the spring semester. Whether it was $100 to help access WIFI for online classes or $500 to help with rent and groceries, Student Emergency Fund dollars ensured that 1,194 students in dire straits finished their semester or graduated on time.
However, given the tremendous need, the Student Emergency Fund, established by Dean of Students Richard Gatteau and supported entirely by philanthropy, is now nearly depleted. While New York may have flattened the curve, the residual economic impact of the crisis on students at risk is beginning to spike again.
Many students lost critical summer jobs on which they depended to pay for housing, lab fees, transportation and food, and have nowhere else to turn for help. Dozens have applied for student emergency funds in order to resume or even begin to attend classes this month.
The University’s reputation as a beacon of opportunity and the generous community behind it was a key factor in Maurie McInnis’ decision to join Stony Brook this past July as its sixth President. The legacy of strong student support from the campus and friends helps explain how the University is ranked #1 in the U.S. for overall upward mobility by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
Mindful of the dramatic need and inspired by the many who’ve given — including faculty and staff who continue to donate through monthly payroll deductions — President McInnis made a personal $75,000 contribution to the Student Emergency Fund.
“I have been so impressed with the resolve of Stony Brook students to pursue their education,” said President McInnis. “And I want these students to know the Stony Brook community will be there for them, doing everything we can to support them into the future.”
Stony Brook is putting a stake in the ground, creating more equity, diversity and inclusion across campus by equipping faculty and staff with both time-tested and innovative new tools that will continue to help create more opportunity.
Proven programs such as Finish in Four (to graduate on time), EOP Summer Institute, a Renaissance School of Medicine initiative for Black and Latino doctors-in-training and many others serve to level the playing field for at-risk students and help them navigate through college and obtain vital internships, post-graduate degrees and successful first jobs.
Still, for the many students on the waiting list for support (and the many who continue to apply for emergency help), a temporary financial setback will have long term consequences.
“It’s heartbreaking to speak to students and hear their stories. They aren’t asking for a lot, and whatever they get means so much to them,” said Gatteau. “There’s nothing more motivating for these students than to know there’s someone on their side, waving them across the finish line.”
Please join alumni and friends and help students who desperately need it so they can start, return to and complete their Stony Brook academic studies and path to a better life. Thank you.
Please visit “Keep Our Students Stony Brook Strong.” You can also continue your support of Stony Brook students by making a gift through payroll deduction. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.