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Stony Brook University

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The indoor facility is expected to play host to various Stony Brook University sports teams. Rendering from Stony Brook Athletics

It’s a perfect match.

A graduate of Stony Brook University has committed to a matching challenge grant to help raise money for the Stony Brook Foundation and Stony Brook Athletics as they work to collect $10 million to fund an indoor training center on campus.

Glenn Dubin, a 1978 grad, teamed up with his wife Eva to announce the $5 million pledge in the form of a 1:1 matching grant he said would hopefully give a boost to the fundraising campaign. Once completed, Stony Brook Athletics said it planned on breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility and complex near LaValle Stadium.

“With this challenge pledge, I hope to inspire Seawolves friends, fans and family to support current and future Stony Brook student-athletes,” Glenn Dubin said in a statement. “We wanted to kick-start this campaign and rally the Stony brook community around the athletic department. Stony Brook Athletics has substantial and significant aspirations for the near future, and excellent facilities are a necessary component to realize these aspirations and achieve success.”

In a statement, Stony Brook Athletics said the new facility would include a 100-yard indoor multi-purpose synthetic turf practice field, as well as innovative lighting, film equipment, sound and video systems and a 90-foot ceiling clearance height. The building was also designed for multiple uses, with the intention of hosting all Stony Brook intercollegiate athletic teams’ practices throughout the year.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Stony Brook University, applauded the Dubins for their generosity and said their matching challenge opened the door for more donors to play their part in making the new facility a reality.

“Over the past decade, Glenn and Eva Dubin have shown incredible vision and had a tremendous impact on Stony Brook Athletics,” Stanley said. “This new challenge match gives others the opportunity to play an active role in the success of our student athletes and our athletic program.”

Stony Brook University Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron said the new building was an integral part of the college’s five-year plan through an initiative known as Together We Transform, which was launched in 2015 as an aggressive strategic plan to have Stony Brook recognized as a premier NCAA Division I athletic department.

“Our objective is to positively transform the life of each student-athlete,” he said. “And this project will benefit the more than 435 student-athletes that comprise our teams. I am extremely grateful to the Dubin family for their belief in our program and for their sincere generosity.”

The G. & E. Dubin Family Foundation previously donated $4.3 million to Stony Brook Athletics back in 2010 for the creation of an 8,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility named the Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center, which already opened in 2012. Glenn Dubin, who played both football and lacrosse at Stony Brook University, has remained a staunch supporter of the Seawolves athletic club as a regular attendee at men’s lacrosse and football games. He also donated $1 million to Stony Brook in 2005 to create the Glenn Dubin Endowed Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students from Washington Heights, particularly students from P.S. 132, where he attended elementary school.

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Will Tye celebrates as he competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU
Will Tye competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU
Will Tye competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU

Former Stony Brook University tight end Will Tye made history on Sunday when he became the first former Seawolves player to appear in a game in the National Football League. Tye was signed to the New York Giants’ active roster off the franchise’s practice squad on Saturday.

The tight end made his debut in the first quarter and was in on multiple plays, including being the target of Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning on a passing play in the second quarter. In the game, he caught the ball three times for 40 yards.

The Middletown, Conn., native played for Florida State University before transferring to Stony Brook. He played in 23 games for the Seawolves and pulled down 79 catches for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns in his two seasons. He also returned 30 punts for 166 yards.

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Professors Gil Hanson and Malcolm Bowman are awarded the Guardian of the Glade certificate by Paul Siegel, center, for their many years of work to ensure that the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve remains forever wild. Photo from Joe Ryder

By Carolann Ryan

The Fourth Annual “Fire and Water” Party and Membership Reception was held on Thursday, Sept. 24, at Stony Brook University, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve.

This special event was presented by The Friends of Ashley Schiff Park Preserve — a membership organization dedicated to the managing and promoting of the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve — for its educational and research value with students, faculty, staff, and the community.

The reception recognized students and several members of the community for their efforts to continue the legacy of Dr. Ashley Schiff.

Schiff was a dedicated professor of political science and avowed naturalist in the early days of Stony Brook University. In the early fall of 1969, at the age of 37, he died suddenly and unexpectedly. To honor him, in 1970, a 26-acre woodland often walked by Professor Schiff and his students, was set aside and dedicated in his memory to be “forever wild.”

The reception, held at the Simons Center Café on Stony Brook’s campus, began at 5:30 p.m. This year’s awardees included Drs. Susan and Daniel O’Leary, Malcolm Bowman, and Gil Hanson, as well as the presentation of undergraduate scholarships to Stony Brook students involved with promoting the preserve.

Following the welcome and introductions, the awards ceremony commenced.

To begin, two Stony Brook undergraduate students were awarded the 2015 Ashley Schiff Scholarship Awards. Alexandrea Van Loo and Andrew Fiorenza participated in a yearlong project where they installed cameras throughout the nature preserve to detect foot traffic patterns from both humans and animals to determine how much the preserve is used.

This year’s Appreciation Award was presented to Drs. Susan and Daniel O’Leary for their contributed time and resources in efforts to beautify the area surrounding Stony Brook’s psychology building. Both psychology professors at Stony Brook, the O’Learys planted azaleas and spruce trees, the same plants Schiff had planted with his students in 1969 around the then-new Roth Pond. Presenting the award was Schiff’s wife.

The final award of the evening, the Guardians of the Glade, was presented to both Bowman and Hanson. They were recognized for their heroic efforts in raising awareness for the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve. Professor Bowman, who teaches at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook, has worked for more than 15 years writing articles and forming committees in order to raise public awareness about the preserve. Professor Hanson, from the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook, used the preserve as a place to mentor graduate students in their studies of environmental and geological systems on Long Island for many years. These men were honored for keeping Schiff’s legacy alive.

Following the awards, invited guest speaker Carl Safina to speak and sign copies of his book. The ceremony was preceded by a wine and cheese reception. The event was free, but donations were gratefully accepted.

The preserve is located in the southern campus between Roth Quad and the Marine Science Research Center. It can be easily accessed through pathways located across South Loop road from Roth Quad and just north of Nassau Hall, near the Marine Sciences Research Center.

Join the Port Jefferson Free Library on Sunday, Sept. 20, for a discussion of Harper Lee, the author of one of the most popular books that deal with race relations in the United States, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The southerner recently released her second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” 55 years after her first was published. The story, like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is seen through the eyes of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch and returns the protagonist and hero Atticus Finch, Scout’s father. The books are set in the fictional Maycomb, Ala., the first in the 1930s and the second in the 1950s.

Both books are loosely based on the hometown and life experiences of Lee.

In the library program “Harper Lee: A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma,” Stony Brook University professor emeritus Michael Edelson will present an illustrated talk of Lee’s life and work, including unpublished writings. Edelson will use interviews, film clips and photos analyzing both books and the Oscar-winning 1962 film “To Kill a Mockingbird” starring Gregory Peck as Atticus.

Copies of each book will be available for those who attend the program, which starts at 2 p.m.

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A scene from ‘The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor.’ Photo from PJDC

The arrival of cooler weather signals the start of a perennial favorite, the Port Jefferson Documentary Series.

Supported by the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Suffolk County Film Commission, the PJDS begins its 22nd season on Monday, Sept. 21, at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. The fall series, which will run through Oct. 27, marks the program’s 11th anniversary and the 22nd season of documentaries.

“We are very, very excited,” Lyn Boland, co-director of the film committee that has arranged the documentary series since 2005, said in a recent phone interview. Along with Boland, the committee — nicknamed the Film Ladies — includes co-director Barbara Sverd, Wendy Feinberg, Honey Katz, Phyllis Ross and Lorie Rothstein.

Seven award-winning documentaries will be featured this season, each complemented by a guest speaker who will answer questions at the end of the screening. This year’s selections will explore topics such as genocide, drug cartels, the online black market, art, tradition, cartoons and government cover-ups.

The process of choosing the documentaries is labor-intensive.“[The volunteer committee] gathers the movies from several different sources,” Boland explained. The members go to film festivals like the Hamptons International Film Festival and “try to personally grab one of the directors from one of those films. … We did that with ‘Meet the Patels,’ which was at the Hamptons last fall, and we showed it in the spring and it’s opening in theaters in September. So that’s like the dream sequence.”

‘Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict,’ Photo from PJDC
‘Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict,’ Photo from PJDC

Other festivals they regularly attend include the Tribeca Film Festival, the Stony Brook Film Festival and the American Film Institute’s festival in Washington, D.C. “So we try to go to festivals, we keep an eye on what’s going on in the news and we keep an eye long distance on the big festivals like Toronto, Sundance,” Boland added. “We also get a lot of emails from documentary organizations.”

The committee aims to screen films that people could not easily find elsewhere, so they avoid films that are streaming on services like Amazon or on television, for example.

When selecting the films, “We look for a great story that needs to be told,” Boland said. “We look for a film that’s well made because we really want to keep the standards up. We look for a subject that we haven’t shown too much of; something that’s new. We look for balance in the season. We also have to worry about our budget, being sure that we can afford the speaker and afford the distribution fee.”

Boland is most excited about the screening of the action-drama “Cartel Land.” She called the film — whose credits include executive producer Kathryn Bigelow, who directed “The Hurt Locker” and “Point Break”  — “an amazing story.”

“For a documentary to come out and be picked up by somebody who is as famous as she is and who is a feature director, it’s just an additional testament to how amazing this film is.”

The first five documentaries will be screened on Mondays at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, at 7 p.m. The last two will be screened at the Charles B. Wang Center on the Stony Brook University campus at 6 p.m., also on Mondays. Doors open one half-hour before showtime. Tickets for all films are $7 and will be sold at the door. Admission is free for undergraduate students at the Stony Brook screenings.

The group is always looking for volunteers of all ages to help out at the event.

“We want this to go on beyond us and it would be great to have enough volunteers to have a continuing staff that keeps renewing itself,” Boland said.

For more information or to volunteer, call 631-473-5220 or visit www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com.

Film schedule
• The fall season will kick off at Theatre Three with “Deep Web” on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. The documentary reveals the inside story of Ross William Ulbricht, the convicted 30-year-old entrepreneur accused of being the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” creator and operator of the online black market Silk Road. Winner of Best International Feature at the Global Visions Festival, the film explores “how the brightest minds and thought leaders behind the deep web are now caught in the crosshairs of the battle for control of a future inextricably linked to technology, with our digital rights hanging in the balance.” Narrated by Keanu Reeves, the guest speaker will be director Alex Winter, who played Bill S. Preston, Esq. alongside Reeves in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

An image from ‘Love Marriage in Kabul.’ Photo from PJDC
An image from ‘Love Marriage in Kabul.’ Photo from PJDC

• The second film in the series, “Very Semi-Serious” by Leah Wolchock, to be screened on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at Theatre Three, delves into the history of The New Yorker magazine’s cartoons and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the cartoon department. Cartoon editor Bob Mankoff provides “revealing access to his weekly pitch meetings where aspiring and established cartoonists present their work, and where pride is left behind, as hundreds of submitted cartoons get rejected.” It is the winner of the best Bay Area documentary feature at the Golden Gate Awards following the San Francisco International Film Festival. Guest speaker will be New Yorker cartoonist and former Stony Brook resident George Booth, who is featured in the film.

“Cartel Land,” to be screened on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Theatre Three, focues on the Mexican drug war, especially vigilante groups fighting Mexican drug cartels. The film focuses on Tim “Nailer” Foley, the leader of volunteer border patrol group Arizona Border Recon, and Dr. José Mireles, a Michoacán-based physician who leads the Autodefensas, one of the vigilante groups. Matthew Heineman won the Best Director Award and Special Jury Award for Cinematography for the film in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The guest speaker will be producer Tom Yellin.

The fourth film, titled “The Russian Woodpecker,” will be screened at Theatre Three on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. The documentary follows Ukranian artist Fedor Alexandrovich, who believes the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 was an elaborate government cover-up designed to mask a failed 8-billion-ruble antenna, known as the “Russian Woodpecker,” intended to interfere with Western radio frequencies and located near the radioactive site. Rich with Soviet history and the stories of the area’s former residents, this documentary chronicles the history of one of the most chilling events of our time as well as Alexandrovich’s attempts to spread the word of his theory. Winner of the World Documentary Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Director Chad Gracia will be the guest speaker of the evening.

• The series continues on Oct. 19 with a screening of “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict” at Theatre Three at 7 p.m. Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland uses recently unearthed audio recordings from 1978-79 of the art collector’s last interviews and archival photos to create a portrait of one of the most powerful women in the history of the art world. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring. Guest speakers will be producers Dan Braun and David Koh. Gallery North in Setauket is co-sponsoring the event.

“The Killing Fields of  Dr. Haing S. Ngor,” to be screened at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., is seen through the eyes of one of the most well-known survivors of the Cambodian genocide, Dr. Haing S. Ngor. The film recently won the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The guest speaker will be Dr. Ngor’s niece, Sophia Ngor Demetri, who escaped from Cambodia with Dr. Ngor and appears in the film, and his nephew, Wayne Ngor, who narrates the film.

• The final film in the series, “Love Marriage in Kabul,” will be screened at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. The film follows the quest of an Afghan-Australian woman, Mahboba Rawi, as she “passionately negotiates and challenges old traditions” to make a love marriage happen in Kabul. The film provides a rare glimpse into the courtship and marriage customs of Afghanistan. In English and Persian with English subtitles, this film was the winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Sydney Film Festival. The guest speaker, via Skype, will be producer Pat Fiske.

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Professor Helen Benveniste. File photo from SBU

Sleeping doesn’t just provide a break from the daily grind, prevent you from chowing down on more Oreo cookies, or keep you out of trouble when it gets dark. It may also serve an important brain-cleaning function, getting rid of tau and beta amyloid proteins.

Merely shutting your eyes and letting the sandman sprinkle dust on your forehead may not be enough. You might actually help your brain, over the long term, with the way you sleep.

Helene Benveniste, a professor of anesthesiology and radiology and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology at Stony Brook University, recently conducted research on anesthetized rodents, tracking how the glymphatic system worked in various sleep positions. The animals were better at flushing tau and beta amyloid proteins from their brains when they slept laterally, or on their sides, than when they slept on their stomachs. Resting on their backs wasn’t as efficient as sleeping on their sides, although it was better than face down.

These proteins aren’t just a part of everyday maintenance. They likely play a role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological problems, Benveniste said.

Since Benveniste published her study in the Journal of Neuroscience in early August, she has received a flood of emails from around the world, including from Brazil, France and Colombia, with people asking about various sleep positions and neurological disorders.

The Stony Brook professor said it is too soon after this study to come to any conclusions about sleep or preventing cognitive disorders. For starters, she and a research team that included scientists at the University of Rochester, NYU Langone Medical Center and Stony Brook conducted the studies on animal models, rather than on humans.

“In general, the rodent is a pretty good model for core aspects of human brain function,” said Dennis Choi, the chairman of the Neurology Department at Stony Brook. The specifics, however, can differ from one species to another. As a result, Benveniste said, “I don’t think anybody should panic” about the way he or she sleeps.

Scientists know that in the glymphatic pathway, cerebrospinal fluid moves through the brain and exchanges with interstitial fluid to get rid of waste. In the studies with rodents, the face down position seemed to divert the cerebrospinal fluid away from the brain, Benveniste said.

The research could be another step toward understanding how sleep might help with the human glymphatic system.

An anesthesiologist who does clinical work one day a week, Benveniste said she started thinking about conducting this kind of study a few years ago. Benveniste is a “good example of a physician/scientist,” Choi said.

Two years ago, a study by a co-author on the paper, Maiken Nedergaard from the University of Rochester, showed that sleep or general anesthesia enhances the clearance of waste from the brain of rodents.

“Since I am an anesthesiologist, I immediately thought about how body/head positions during anesthesia might affect clearance,” Benveniste said. The data took over a year and a half to collect and analyze.

“The quantitative aspect of this system should not be overlooked. To find out how these [proteins] are moving through the brain is a huge issue,” she said. The collaboration with Jean Logan, senior research scientist in the Department of Radiology at NYU “enabled us to move forward.”

Benveniste used a dynamic contrast MRI method to calculate the exchange rates between the cerebrospinal fluid and the interstitial fluid. The next step in these studies is to move toward the human brain. Benveniste said she is working with colleagues at the National Institutes of Health.

Just from observing wildlife outside the lab, Benveniste said many animals tend to sleep in what she and her team found was the optimum position for clearing waste in rodents: on their sides. “Even elephants lie down in recumbent, lateral positions,” she added.

As for Benveniste, she said she naturally sleeps on her right side. She said she’s well aware of how well she slept during the night. If she wakes up after getting enough rest, she said she thinks, “this was a good night’s sleep. This was good for my brain.”

Benveniste, who lives in Northport with her husband, Peter Huttemeier, is also an advocate of exercise for brain health, although she doesn’t suggest marathon running. “I do think this may be affecting the cerebrospinal fluid flow dynamics,” she said, adding that she wants to take up yoga.

Benveniste is eager to continue to build on this sleep study. “The workings of this system so far has been an amazing exploratory adventure,” she said.

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David Smith receives a medal for his finish in the inaugural Hercules on the Harbor 10K. Photo from Kara Hahn

David Smith will be remembered as a Stony Brook staple whose avid passion for action was as inspiring as it was endearing, close friends said this week.

Smith drowned while swimming in the waters he loved off West Meadow Beach on Aug. 28 despite the attempts of many to save him, witnesses said. He was 79.

A professor emeritus at Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science, Smith had noticeably appeared to be having difficulty while swimming near Aunt Amy’s Creek in East Setauket, spurring several onlookers to attempt to come to his rescue. Warren Smith, a resident who was at the scene, said there were many who helped in one way or another, but the professor emeritus did not survive.

“He was a well-known nature lover and often swam, ran and hiked,” Warren Smith said in an email. “The night of the day he died, owls came, and they hooted all night long.”

Smith received his doctorate from University of Wisconsin, Madison. He came to Stony Brook in 1966 and established the computer science department in 1970, the university said, adding that he will be remembered as “a staunch supporter of the department and an innovator in computer science.”

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) remembered Smith as a jack of all trades who was active in the greater North Shore community well beyond the university, participating in the Gallery North Wet Paint Festival and working as an advocate for Forsythe Meadow forest.

“He was an extraordinary individual, academic, artist, athlete, advocate, volunteer and overall great guy,” Hahn said.

Louise Harrison, of the Peconic-based Conservation & Natural Areas Planning and former co-chair of the Coalition for the Future of Stony Brook Village, said Smith had recently taken up swimming as a substitute for running, since his knees were bothering him.

“Dave was with the coalition from the beginning and never missed a steering committee meeting or an opportunity to go to town planning board or legislative hearings in support of our cause,” Harrison said. “He volunteered to be our process server, a critically important role, for our original Article 78 against the planning board. This was an unfamiliar task and yet Dave was willing to give it a go and he made sure our petition was properly served within a very limited time period.”

Harrison said Smith never missed a coalition event and joined the group this July at the official opening of Forsythe Meadow County Park/Nora Bredes Preserve’s walking trail at 52 Hollow Road in Stony Brook: “I am especially thankful Dave was able to attend that event because he was our strongest and most vocal advocate for restored access to the forest, which he once had enjoyed from the village center during his daily runs.”

Moving forward, Harrison said she was considering ways her group could properly remember Smith, which may include dedicating a trail or portion of the trail at Forsythe Meadow in his honor.

File photo

An animal rights group has a bone to pick with Stony Brook University.

The Beagle Freedom Project, a national laboratory animal advocacy group, has filed a petition in the state Supreme Court against Stony Brook University with hopes of compelling the school to provide documents relating to Quinn, a dog being housed at the university for animal testing and research. The group, alongside supporter Melissa Andrews, made a Freedom of Information Law request to Stony Brook for documents as part of their “identity campaign,” which allows individuals to virtually adopt dogs or cats being held or used in experiments.

The petition accused Stony Brook University of failing to provide a full response to the FOIL request, providing only five pages of heavily redacted documents. Among the five pages provided was a form appearing to indicate that Quinn and his littermates had been purchased from Covance Research Products, Inc., the group said.

Currently, most universities routinely euthanize all such “purpose-bred for research” animals, the group said. In a statement, a spokesman for the Beagle Freedom Project said the group hopes that the documents help to identify opportunities to provoke post-research adoptions of healthy laboratory dogs and cats.

The petition also challenged Stony Brook University’s claim that it has no further documentation relating to Quinn, pointing out that certain documents are required to be maintained by the Animal Welfare Act and that other publicly funded universities responding to similar requests had produced hundreds of pages of documents. In the petition, BFP and Andrews argued that Stony Brook University and the other respondents did not articulate a particularized or specific justification for denying access, as required, and that there is no such justification.

“Stony Brook is either lying about the records they are keeping or they are in violation of federal recordkeeping requirements,” said Jeremy Beckham, research specialist for the Beagle Freedom Project. “Either way this is troubling and the taxpaying public, forced to fund these experiments, have a right to hold this school to account.”

Lauren Sheprow, a spokesman for Stony Brook University, said the university was unable to comment at this time.

The petition asked the Supreme Court of the State of New York to compel Stony Brook University and the other respondents to provide complete, unaltered documentation concerning Quinn. The Manhattan-based law firm Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP is representing BFP and Andrews in connection with the petition, through its pro bono program.

Through the Identity Campaign, the Beagle Freedom Project has uncovered a troubling pattern of laboratories using animals redundantly or unnecessarily for research or experimentation, providing these animals with poor veterinary care, and other abuses, a spokesman for the group said.

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By Dexter A. Bailey

This fall, the Stony Brook Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary — five decades as a crucial catalyst during Stony Brook University’s transformation into one of the world’s leading universities (now ranked in the top 1 percent), helping advance globally significant research and innovation.

Since the foundation was created in 1965, Stony Brook University has grown from a school with 500 students into a prestigious institution of higher education with a diverse student body of more than 24,000.

Many donors helped lay the groundwork for Stony Brook’s evolution by providing scholarships to top undergraduate and graduate students, funding centers recognized around the world for learning and research, and attracting and endowing professors who are leaders in their fields.  These three factors have been instrumental to the university’s becoming a major economic engine for the region. It is the largest single-site employer on Long Island, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion.

In just 50 years, the foundation has raised more than $800 million in gifts — including more than $68.5 million in student financial aid, keeping college affordable for all students. Although New York State support is generous compared with other states, only 18 percent of the university’s total annual operating budget comes from Albany, making the foundation’s philanthropic partnership ever more critical.

“The Stony Brook Foundation, and the philanthropic funds it raises from our friends and alumni near and far, has been essential to the university’s incredible trajectory,” said Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “This partnership has helped us to attract and retain the best students and faculty, push the boundaries in research, strengthen our signature STEM and liberal arts programs and ensure excellence in all we do.”

Philanthropy has funded world-renowned centers and institutes, including the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, the Global Health Institute, the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Institute for Advanced Computational Science, the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

Next year, a new research facility, the Medical and Research Translation (MART) building, will open with support provided in part through the foundation. It will double the university’s capacity to deliver cutting-edge cancer care on Long Island, while generating an additional 4,200 jobs. In addition, donors from the community have supported construction of the future new home of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, which is expected to open in 2017.

Stony Brook would not be the university it is today without the generous philanthropic support from donors who recognize the incredible return on their investment in the deserving students, faculty and special academic community at Stony Brook. With the support of the Stony Brook Foundation, the university, Long Island and the state of New York will continue to prosper together.

Dexter A. Bailey is the senior vice president for advancement at Stony Brook University and the executive director of the  Stony Brook Foundation.

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A group of new Stony Brook medical students display their first stethoscopes, donated by the school’s alumni association. Photo from Stony Brook University School of Medicine

The 132 first-year students of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine Class of 2019 — the largest ever in the school’s history — officially began their training with the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony.

At the Aug. 23 event, the incoming medical students received their first physician-in-training white coats and took the Hippocratic oath for the first time. The Class of 2019 is a talented and diverse group coming from New York State, eight other states, and around the world.

Only 7.4 percent of the total 5,255 applicants were accepted. A larger portion of students in this class, compared to previous incoming classes, already have advanced degrees. A total of 23 hold advanced degrees, including one Ph.D., one Doctor of Pharmacy, 18 masters’ and three Masters in Public Health.

“Today is a celebratory and symbolic day for all of you. As you receive your first white coats, enjoy the honor and responsibility that comes with wearing the white coat,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president of Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “Medicine is a field unmatched in the range of emotions you will experience. You will be struck by many firsts — your first newborn delivery, your first sharing of a diagnosis of cancer, the first patient you will see cured, and your first patient death. And never forget that your journey will require lifelong learning, as you take part in many advances in the art and the science of medicine in the years to come.”

Among the many accomplished members of the Class of 2019 include Tony Wan, the son of Chinese immigrants, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right after high school. He served two tours in Iraq — where his duties included providing first aid to fellow soldiers.

He then left the military and pursued college at CUNY-York College, where he graduated as class valedictorian in 2012. After seeing too many of his fellow Marines with life-changing injuries, he’s motivated toward becoming a neurologist specializing in traumatic brain injuries. Wan said he particularly wants to work to improve the care of veterans.

Persis Puello, a mother of two and the oldest incoming student, at 34 years of age, is also part of the 2019 class. She earned advanced degrees from Columbia University, a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition; and from Stony Brook, a Master of Science in Physiology and Biophysics. Her career as an athletic trainer and nutritionist inspired her to work toward becoming an orthopedic surgeon and, eventually, a team doctor.

She credited support from her husband and her sister for enabling her to raise her two young children, ages 3 and 8, while pursing the challenge of a career in medicine.

Nicholas Tsouris, who grew up in Stony Brook and is a former professional lacrosse player, was part of a team of fellow students hailed by Popular Mechanics magazine as “Backyard Geniuses” for their invention of a spoke-less bicycle. After graduating from Yale, he worked on Wall Street while playing major league lacrosse, later deciding to pursue medicine.

The school has steadily increased its incoming class size over the past several years in order to address the significant shortage of physicians nationally, as cited by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

New to the ceremony this year was the presentation of a stethoscope to each student to accompany with their white coats. The school’s alumni association donated the 132 stethoscopes for the event.

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