Two state senators are doing their part to engineer a better future for Stony Brook University and Long Island.
New York state Sens. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) joined SBU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. Aug. 16 to announce the award of $25 million in state funding to the university for the initial phase of developing a new engineering building on campus — one that is estimated to cost $100 million in total. The 100,000 square-foot facility will include industrial-quality labs, active-learning classrooms and prototyping/manufacturing space.
“We have the opportunity to provide funding, sometimes discretionary, and this is a very strong investment.”
— John Flanagan
The official announcement was made at the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building with representatives of local engineering companies in attendance, including VJ Technologies, Inc., Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP, and H2M Architects & Engineers.
“We have the opportunity to provide funding, sometimes discretionary, and this is a very strong investment,” Flanagan said.
He thanked the owners and board members of the local engineering companies who traveled to Albany a few months ago to discuss the needs of engineering companies as well as the importance of recruiting talent and retaining students on Long Island.
LaValle, chairman of the Senate’s higher education committee, said he believed the new building will attract preeminent students to SBU, and thanked Flanagan for helping to secure the funds during a time when spare money isn’t plentiful
“I think it will go a long way in ensuring that we enhance where we are today in terms of providing students and faculty with an optimum state-of-the-art facility,” LaValle said.
Stanley recognized the senators as visionaries for acknowledging how critical the university is when it comes to building the technology that Long Island needs.
“I think it will go a long way in ensuring that we enhance where we are today in terms of providing students and faculty with an optimum state-of-the-art facility.”
— Ken LaValle
“The demand is tremendous,” Stanley said. “So, we really need to grow this school. We’re turning away qualified applicants from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences because we don’t have enough space and because we need more faculty to teach.”
Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said the number of students applying to SBU has grown 60 percent since 2012, and the university has become more selective due to the lack of space. Currently, engineering students need to score at least 1400 on the SATs and to be in the 95th percentile in their class.
The dean said the research conducted at the school, in addition to impacting the economic development on Long Island, also affects the state and nation. The university focuses on engineering-driven medicine, artificial intelligence discoveries and energy systems for sustainability.
“This is where we are going to develop the medicine of the future,” Sotiropoulos said, adding SBU wants to be the hub for the state in artificial intelligence research.
Sotiropoulos said as the university develops the new facility the curriculum will be reconstructed to build learning around projects that start early in a student’s college years and continue all the way to incubating start-up companies. He said one of the goals is to keep students local after graduation.
“We want to grow the size of the engineering workforce for Long Island and the state, but we also want to educate the new kind of engineers,” Sotiropoulos said.