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Stony Brook University

The State University of New York at Stony Brook is a public research university located in Stony Brook, New York in the United States.


310 Administration Building
Stony Brook
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Scarlet Red Gray
America East

College History


The State University of New York at Stony Brook was established in Oyster Bay in 1957 as the State University College on Long Island (SUCOLI), by the governor and state of New York. Established almost a decade after the creation of New York�s public higher education system, the institution was envisioned as a college for the preparation of secondary school teachers. Leonard K. Olson was appointed as the first dean of the institution and was instrumental in the recruitment of faculty staff and planning of the later Stony Brook campus. SUCOLI opened with an inaugural class of 148 students, on the grounds of the William Robertson Coe Planting Fields estate. 1961 was a year of firsts as thirty students were conferred degrees in the first commencement and the University was appointed its first president, John Francis Lee, who shortly resigned due to political and bureaucratic matters regarding the future of the University and the central administration at Albany. In 1960 the Heald Report, commissioned by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, recommended a major new public university be built on Long Island to �stand with the finest in the country�, a report that would ultimately shape most of the University�s growth for years to come. Ward Melville, a philanthropist and businessman from the Three Village area in western Suffolk County donated over 400 acres of land to the state for the development of a state university and in 1962 the institution relocated to Stony Brook and officially renamed as the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The campus had 782 students enrolled in 1962, and by 1969 enrollment had increased more than tenfold, surpassing the 8,000 mark, fueled by the large funding of public higher education in the Sputnik era. In 1963, only three years after the release of the Heald Report, the Governor commissioned the �Education of Health Professions� (Muir Report) report. The report outlined the need for expansion of the university system to prepare medical professionals for the future needs of the state. The report was particularly important for Stony Brook as it recommended creation of a Health Science Center and academic hospital at the campus to serve the need of the fastest growing counties (Nassau and Suffolk) in New York at the time. Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library in the academic mall of Stony Brook University In 1965 the State University appointed John S. Toll, a renowned physicist from the University of Maryland as the second president of Stony Brook. In 1966 the University set forth initial time tables for the development of the Health Science Center which would house the University�s health programs and Hospital. Despite the budgetary concerns and challenges from Albany the University released a formalized plan early in 1968 and funding for recruitment of faculty was provided. At the same time, residential housing was expanded to 3,000, the Stony Brook Union opened in 1970, and in 1971 the massive expansion project for the campus library (named in memory of Frank Melville Jr., father of philanthropist Ward Melville) was completed. Despite the fast paced growth, campus infrastructure often struggled to keep pace: Overcrowding, expansion, landscaping, lighting, and safety were persistent problems at the University which led to multiple protests and growing tension between the student body and the administration. In January 1968 the infamous �Operation Stony Brook� drug raid resulted in the arrest of twenty nine students and in the fall of 1968 tension climaxed as the administration and students decided on a three-day moratorium to bring together the entire university with the goal improving communication between the students, faculty, and administration. Despite the initiatives of the �Three Days� in improving the campus, on February 1973 a tragedy occurred when a freshman student fell to his death into one of the many uncovered steam pipe manholes at the University. The 1970s witnessed the growth of the University and its transformation as a major research institution of the SUNY system with strong graduate programs and scientific breakthroughs like development of magnetic resonance imaging. But the University lagged significantly in undergraduate education, prioritizing graduate education and research over undergraduate studies and student life. By 1975, enrollment had reached 16,000 and expansion crossed over Nicolls Road with the construction of the Health Science Center which would be completed in 1980. Stony Brook University Hospital located in the East side of Campus and attached to the Health Science Center (not shown) In 1981 John Marburger was inaugurated as the third president of the University and would continue the expansion of the institution. By the late 1980s the administration affirmed the need to improve other areas of the institution which included undergraduate education, student and residential life, and intercollegiate athletics. The University approved a decision to transition athletics to the Division I of the NCAA and followed with the construction of the Stony Brook Arena and the expansion of the Indoor Sports Complex. The 1990s affirmed Stony Brook�s success at building a research university with a strong undergraduate education. Under the leadership of its fourth president, Shirley Strum Kenny, the administration sought out to showcase the value of the institution. Kenny was responsible for campus wide improvement projects which included large scale landscaping, renovations of every residence hall, the continued growth of the athletics programs, the improvement of student life, ever increasing research expenditures, a branding/marketing campaign, and the University�s increasing ties with private philanthropy. In 1998 the University broke into the top 100 of American research universities in the U.S. News & World Report and its relatively affordable tuition placed it among the best values among universities in the nation. That same year the University and Battelle Memorial Institute were chosen by the Department of Energy as joint operators of the Brookhaven National Laboratories joining a selective group of universities that operated national laboratories across the nation. Enrollment reached the 20,000 mark in 2001, and the administration�s improvement efforts climaxed with the invitation to the highly selective Association of American Universities, an organization of sixty-two universities across North America committed to a strong system of research and education, becoming only the third public university in the northeast to receive such invitation (Buffalo and Rutgers admitted in 1989). Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in the west end of Stony Brook University. One of the many gifts received by the University in the 2000s 2002 saw the opening of the $22 million Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, and the inauguration of the massive Charles B. Wang Center dedicated to Asian and American culture funded by a $50 million donation from Charles B. Wang, at the time the largest private donation to a SUNY institution. In 2003, chemistry professor Paul Lauterbur received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research and discovery of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance which was instrumental in the development of NMR Imaging (MRI) while at Stony Brook. In 2005 the University bought the Flowerfield property adjacent to campus through eminent domain as land for the development of a Research and Development Park. Plans for a law school were in the talks, but scrapped shortly after. In 2009, president Shirley Strum Kenny stepped down and in May 2009 Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr was announced as Stony Brook�s fifth president. The late 2000s (decade) saw the University receive historic philanthropic donations with Jim Simons making multiple multi-million donations: including: $25 million donations to the Stony Brook Foundation in 2006, a $60 million donation for the development of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in 2008, and a landmark $150 million donation to the University in 2011. Other major donations were provided by alumni Joe Nathan, Stuart Goldstein, and Glenn Dubin for major renovation of athletic facilities. In 2010 Stanley announced Project 50 Forward, a comprehensive plan for the development of the University in the next fifty years with a focus on �operational excellence, academic greatness, and building for the future�. 2012 saw the approval of state legislation allowing University Centers to rationalize tuition increases for the next five years and the inclusion of a capital challenge grant for each University, a landmark bill providing greater autonomy for the centers known as SUNY 2020. Stony Brook saw the completion of the long awaited Campus Recreation Center and the controversial in-campus hotel. The renovation of the old-chemistry building and its conversion to a classroom building, and the $40.8 million construction of a new Computer Science building are underway while the $21 million overhaul of the Stony Brook Arena is set for completion in 2014. Among future projects is the construction of a residential complex adjacent to the Wang Center, renovation of the Stony Brook Union, and the construction of the $194 million Medical and Research Translational building. In 2013 Stony Brook received its best ranking ever in the National University category of U.S. News & World Report ranked as the 82nd Best University, and 34th Best Public in Undergraduate education.

College Specialty


to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education of the highest quality; to carry out research and intellectual endeavors of the highest international standards that advance knowledge and have immediate or long-range practical significance; to provide leadership for economic growth, technology, and culture for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region; to provide state-of-the-art innovative health care, while serving as a resource to a regional health care network and to the traditionally underserved; to fulfill these objectives while celebrating diversity and positioning the University in the global community.



Suburban, 1,364 Acres