STONY BROOK, NY, January 15, 2010 – Stony Brook University President, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., today said he was “tremendously excited” about Governor David Paterson’s announcement that the Executive Budget would include a sweeping reform to the SUNY system for public higher education. President Stanley was joined by SUNY Trustees Michael Russell, Stony Brook Foundation President, Richard Gelfond, and Stony Brook University Council Member, Diana Weir, in a thorough endorsement of the new “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act,” indicating that it categorically provides high-impact, zero-cost solutions that will create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow’s economy and strengthen public higher education – while saving millions of taxpayer dollars.
“This is absolutely central to enhancing our University’s prestige and the quality of our students’ education,” said President Stanley. “Rational and predictable increases in tuition would prevent the sudden and dramatic jumps that have occurred in the past, and, most importantly, money from the increased tuition would stay on campus.”
President Stanley affirmed that the increased revenue would enable Stony Brook to hire 400 new faculty over the next decade, increase the availability of classes to help students graduate on time, create smaller class sizes, provide students with more one-on-one time to interact with faculty, and free up faculty to work with students on the kinds of research that lead to discoveries, therapies, innovations, and cures. And, he pledged to work to keep our most economically disadvantaged students and their families harmless from these tuition increases by designating some of the revenue for scholarships.
“If the Governor's proposals for flex tuition and regulatory relief can go forward this will go a long way in allowing Stony Brook University and other SUNY schools to continue advancing to the upper echelons of higher education in this country,” said SUNY Trustee, Michael E. Russell. “I applaud the Chancellor and staff for negotiating with the Governor's representatives in this initiative. Stony Brook should be looked upon as a driving force for New York State's economy.”
“For Stony Brook University, this legislation is crucial to fulfilling our role as a research University that can serve as an economic engine for the region and the state,” said Richard Gelfond, CEO and Director of IMAX Corporation and President of the Board of the Stony Brook Foundation. “We believe that the adoption of this bill will serve as a catalyst to propel Stony Brook to a level alongside the best public Universities in the nation."
Stony Brook University Council member, Diana Weir, who is also Executive Vice President of Long Island Housing Partnerships, Inc., feels strongly that the Act would have a significant impact on Stony Brook’s ability to drive the economy of Long Island. “It is very important for a university like Stony Brook that is regionally significant to have more capability to manage the budget rationally, rather than to wait for legislation to come out with a large tuition increase every five years, especially during economic times like these,” she said.
The Act allows for greater participation in public-private partnerships, which would enable Stony Brook to leverage the commercial investment of the private sector with research breakthroughs made on campus to benefit our economy, our health, and our planet. This investment would allow for the construction of new laboratories and classrooms, and the development of new businesses, making Stony Brook a central driver in the revitalization of the Long Island economy. It would create jobs throughout the employment sector, from manufacturing and construction to biotechnology and higher education.
The Act would grant Stony Brook more autonomy to achieve efficiencies in business transactions with enhanced transparency and accountability in our practices. This would result in cost savings to the University and to the State of New York that could be reinvested elsewhere. Increased autonomy would also strengthen the ability of Stony Brook University Hospital to remain on the cutting edge of innovation.
“I will work in the coming months to champion this vital initiative and to rally support for it from our students, faculty, staff, and community,” said President Stanley. “Later this month, Stony Brook will host a meeting of State lawmakers representing Long Island to discuss this legislative priority as well as the impact of the Governor’s budget on Stony Brook University.
“Passage of this legislation would add luster to the prestige of a Stony Brook University degree. It would ensure that we are one of the great universities in the world. Our students deserve no less,” he said.
To review Governor Paterson’s press release, and for more information about the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, go to www.stonybrook.edu/innovation.
Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,600 acres. In the 50+ years since its founding, the University has grown tremendously, now with nearly 24,000 students and 2,100 faculty and is recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship. It is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, and ranks among the top 100 national universities in America and among the top 50 public national universities in the country according to the 2008 U.S. News & World Report survey. Considered one of the “flagship” campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory , joining an elite group of universities, including Berkeley, University of Chicago, Cornell, MIT, and Princeton, that run federal research and development laboratories. SBU is a driving force of the Long Island economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4% of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.