Stony Brook Foundation turns 50

Stony Brook Foundation turns 50

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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.