Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday approved 's $35 million award via the NYSUNY2020 challenge grant legislation enacted in August, giving a green light to the university's plan to build a new facility for imaging, neuroscience, and cancer research.
Along with $159 million in private donations and institutional funding, the $35 million award is part of Stony Brook's $194 million plan – a plan the university says will create more than 6,000 jobs on Long Island. Cuomo called it "a win-win for Long Island's economy and students."
"SUNY has a new energy all across the state. There's a revitalization going on," he said.
The approval came alongside the formal announcement that the Simons Foundation has – the largest donation ever made to a SUNY school – $50 million of which will help the university build that new research facility, the Medical and Research Translation (MART) building. The 250,000-square-foot MART will house a newly established Neurosciences Institute, Center for Biological Imaging, and other programs.
Stony Brook president Samuel L. Stanley Jr. called it an "historic, landmark, groundbreaking day" for the university.
"This gift represents a milestone moment for our young institution," Stanley said. "... With your immense generosity, you have already touched every facet of our campus. We will now be able to accelerate our trajectory of excellence."
The $150 million gift is also expected to expand opportunities for the university as a whole: the hiring of at least 250 new faculty, reduced class sizes, additional merit-based scholarships for undergraduate students, enhancements to programs affiliated with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and more.
Jim Simons had discussed offering a similar gift in 2010, , which would eventually be tabled. But on Wednesday he said he was satisfied with the steps which Cuomo and the state legislature had taken in 2011 to change SUNY funding and encourage growth.
"The governor and the legislature did their job, and we did ours," Simons said. "... The way I see it, the stars are now aligned."