President Samuel L. Stanley addressed a half-full theater at Stony Brook University's Staller Center for the Arts yesterday, praising the campus' plans for a new cancer center, a five-year tuition increase plan and higher selectivity of accepted freshmen.
"The quality of the students we attract continues to improve," Stanley said, noting that only 39 percent of freshmen who applied this year were accepted.
He discussed several aspects of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, which was announced in May by Governor Andrew Cuomo and State University of New York chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and which allocates $35 million in capital funding for each of SUNY’s four University Centers, in which Stony Brook is included.
Stanley focused on the program’s five-year tuition plan, the state’s first, saying that it would allow for standardized increases in tuition as well as give the university the liberty to raise tuition for out-of-state students.
“This will not affect the access of our most economically disadvantaged students,” he said. “Stony Brook will completely cover the TAP gap,” or the fees remaining after the state’s Tuition Assistance Program monetary aid is applied for those students, said Stanley.
He reiterated plans for a satellite campus in South Korea, citing the value of having such an overseas partnership that he said would set Stony Brook apart from most higher education institutions the world over. He also discussed a new cancer center, to be built adjacent to Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Among a host of new faculty introduced was Dennis Assanis, the university’s newly-appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. He fills the position vacated by Eric Kaler, who left to become president of the University of Minnesota.
Much of the ceremony was dedicated to paying tribute to Stony Brook’s second president, John S. Toll, who led the school from 1965 to 1978, a formative time for the campus. Toll capitalized on Gov. Nelson D. Rockefeller’s vision for a strong public university system led by a few large institutions, navigating Albany politics to secure funding for the buildings and programs put in place during his tenure.
Several speakers – former university president Shirley Strum Kenny, Stony Brook Foundation chairman and IMAX Corporation CEO Richard L. Gelfond, physics professor emeritus Robert L. de Zafra and Duke University’s John Burness – spoke about “Johnny’s” drive, charm and impact on Stony Brook University.
“Stony Brook would not have been Stony Brook had it not been for John S. Toll,” Kenny said.