Annual Address Highlights the University’s Recent Successes, Looks Forward to a Bright Future
Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis delivered the 2022 State of the University to students, faculty, staff, elected representatives and local community members on Wednesday, October 12, at the Staller Center Main Stage.
“The future of Stony Brook lies in our ability to create a dynamic, engaged environment that welcomes ambition,” McInnis said. “It lies in our ability to nurture diversity and collaboration. [We] support excellence across campus and recognize the powerful impact we have on Long Island and in New York State.”
During the address, which was also livestreamed, McInnis welcomed newly hired faculty and shared recent achievements by the university community, as well as her vision for the institution going forward.
Some of the university’s recent successes McInnis cited include:
- Being named one of two flagship universities of the State University of New York System;
- Named as a finalist to become the anchor institution for the Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island;
- Joining the Colonial Athletic Association;
- Earning its highest ranking from US News & World Report College Ranking: #77 nationally and #31 for public institutions and the #1 public in New York State;
- An increase of 18 percentage points in the four-year graduation rate and 10 percentage points in the six-year graduation rate over an eight-year span. These increases were realized while keeping graduation rate equity gaps closed among Black, Latinx, and white students, first generation students and those whose parents earned degrees, and students from all socioeconomic levels.
- The School of Communications and Journalism received an Inaugural Solutions Hub Designation as one of only four universities selected;
- The College of Business received its full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Stony Brook serves a diverse community and graduates many first-generation college students, and McInnis expressed the university’s commitment to delivering a quality, transformative educational experience to all students. She identified several alumni who were immigrants, or whose parents immigrated to the U.S., who all went on to successful careers.
One new program McInnis highlighted is the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program, which will provide comprehensive financial support, community building opportunities, dedicated advisors, diverse faculty mentors, summer research, dedicated residential space and a Summer Bridge Program to prepare all new Simons STEM Scholars for their first years of study.
McInnis praised Stony Brook’s “dynamism” that comes from the university’s faculty and the promotion of hands-on learning for students. She pointed to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Vertically Integrated Projects Program, which brings together undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members in multiple disciplinary teams to work on real-world projects in research, design and entrepreneurship.
McInnis expressed continued support for the university’s scholars and positioning of Stony Brook’s research to help solve the world’s critical challenges. The university has bolstered seed funding across a wide spectrum of scholarship and research; created a new fund for projects in the arts, social sciences and humanities; and set up the Presidential Innovation and Excellence fund for the work shaped by Tiger Teams, which was implemented to prepare faculty in advance of new federal funding opportunities.
“Already, we are seeing the impact of this investment,” she said. “This year, Stony Brook research expenditures are up more than 20 percent — and we will continue to set our sights high.”
McInnis went on to recognize several faculty and students whose work is “writing the future,” and also recounted a year of “incredible milestones,” including:
- Four junior faculty members who earned the prestigious Sloan Fellowship;
- Six Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need awards to support graduate student research, our highest ever at one time;
- Three instrumentation proposals funded by the National Science Foundation, marking the first time that all of SBU’s proposals submitted to the NSF MRI Program have been successful;
- A record 14 SBU students receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to fund international research and teaching.
McInnis expanded on Stony Brook’s bid to become the anchor institution for the Governors Island Center for Climate Solutions, which would develop Governors Island in New York City as a hub for climate change solutions and innovations in New York. “I am inspired by the collaborative, innovative work put into our proposal, and by the world-class partnerships we’ve formed throughout this process,” she said. “Because that’s what Stony Brook does best — leverage its all-star faculty, students, staff, and scholarship to help our community answer the world’s questions and provide the solutions that society needs most.”
Stony Brook Medicine
Regarding Stony Brook Medicine (SBM), McInnis praised the group as being “the leading provider of high-quality healthcare for communities on Long Island,” and addressed the group’s response to the COVID pandemic through caring for patients, bolstering telemedicine enterprises and collaborating with New York State to provide testing and vaccinations.
“As the past two years have highlighted, the effects of an agile, flexible, accessible and quality medical enterprise [have been] life-changing,” she said.
In addition to the COVID support provided to Long Island, McInnis highlighted the lifesaving treatment of four-year-old Charlie DeFraia, who underwent a lifesaving procedure after falling with a metal straw in his mouth that punctured his carotid artery. A novel procedure made sure blood was being circulated to Charlie’s brain, an example of SBM’s Cerebrovascular Center’s comprehensive groundbreaking innovations.
“This is how Stony Brook Medicine defines itself — through quality, through innovation, and through impact,” she said. “As a unique institution with care teams that have access to the most contemporary technology and practices. As a differentiator on Long Island and in New York State.”
McInnis concluded with the feedback she received from the University’s Visioning Committee, which is composed of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, about Stony Brook’s strategic planning for the future.
“We want more opportunity for connection; more support for our ambitious research and talent; more ways to effect change with our healthcare system; more programs to promote diversity, inclusion and equitable education; more focus on a sense of dynamism, welcoming and belonging. This is how Stony Brook will reach a new level of excellence, one that reimagines what’s possible for society at large and that cements this university’s role as a first-choice destination,” she said.
President McInnis praised faculty and staff for their dedication and “nurturing of the dynamic culture that is Stony Brook,” as well as the university’s “energetic, determined students who are setting the pace for a brighter and more just future.” She also thanked the leadership team, including the University Council and the Presidential Cabinet, the University Senate, and alumni and donors who are “helping to transform the higher education experience for the community.”
McInnis thanked elected officials from Long Island who “fight for us every day here, in Albany, and across the state because they know how valuable Stony Brook University is to all of New York,” as well as New York Governor Kathy Hochul, “who from the start of her term, has recognized Stony Brook University’s value.”