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Judith B. Greiman

Judith Greiman, center, with Joan Dickinson, SBU’s director of university community relations, and Michael Arens, assistant vice president for government and community relations. The three executives were attending community service day Aug. 21 outside the Staller Center. Photo from Stony Brook University

It didn’t take long for chief deputy to the president of Stony Brook University, Judith Greiman, to impress her new boss.

When Maurie McInnis was interviewing for the job as president, Greiman drove her around and had breakfast with her.

The two spent a “good bit of time together,” McInnis said. “I immediately thought to myself, ‘If I’m lucky enough to get this position, I would be lucky if I could keep [Greiman] in that role.’ It was not a long evaluation process. She [is] an incredible asset.”

TBR News Media is pleased to recognize Greiman as a Person of the Year for 2021 for her tireless work at Stony Brook University.

Greiman is “behind the scenes doing her work with little fanfare, but she makes a tremendous impact,” said Carol Gomes, CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital.

Gomes cited Greiman’s decision making and her relationship with government agencies that work in tandem with the university. She also said Greiman has the university’s, community’s and students’ best interests at heart whenever she makes a decision.

Greiman’s colleagues are impressed by her dedication to work.

“I’m usually the second-to-last person to leave the suite,” said Braden Hosch, associate vice president for Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. Greiman “is the last.”

Hosch knew her before the two joined Stony Brook University, when he was chief academic and financial officer at the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education and Greiman was president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges. The two interacted regularly, sometimes on different sides of an issue.

“She always won,” Hosch recalled. “You want to make sure she’s the person in your corner.”

Hosch suggested that McInnis’ decision to keep Greiman as her chief of staff is a testament to Greiman’s deep institutional knowledge. She started her Stony Brook tenure on July 1, 2015, which is exactly five years to the day before McInnis joined the university.

Judith Brown Clarke, vice president for Equity and Inclusion and the chief diversity officer, appreciates the support she has received from Greiman.

Greiman is “so gracious with ensuring that she’s working with me on these strategies,” Brown Clarke said. “If I was doing it by myself, there may be some things I would think, not knowing the culture, that I may come up with a different solution.”

A bowl of rocks sits on the desk of SBU President Maurie McInnis. Judith Greiman collected the rocks and asked SBU vice presidents to share a single word for each one. Photo by from Judith Greiman

In addition to keeping the big picture goals in mind, Greiman had a well-received idea the week McInnis was inaugurated.

Greiman knew McInnis believed in the rocks, pebbles, sand metaphor for work. A management philosophy, the rocks represent the bigger picture goals or principles, while the pebbles are smaller issues and the sand represents even less significant but necessary items. Filling a bowl with rocks leaves room for sand and pebbles. Putting sand in first, however, could make it harder to include the necessary rocks.

“As a leader,” McInnis said, “we will be well served by understanding that you need to remember what your priorities are. Make sure you’re allocating your time toward those priorities,” which are the larger rocks.

“It’s a visual way to remind yourself that you have to think of the big rocks,” McInnis said.

Keeping this lesson in mind, Greiman collected rocks and asked the vice presidents to share a single word for each rock. Greiman gave McInnis a bowl of rocks with a word on each. The bowl sits on her desk.

Greiman’s word was “humor,” Gomes used the word “strategic,” while Brown Clarke shared a Japanese word that means a way of recognizing the beauty in imperfections.

“That’s how I see DEI,” Brown Clarke said. Filling imperfections in society with something of value can “make it beautiful.”

McInnis was thrilled with the gift.

While Greiman works such long hours that McInnis has urged her, unsuccessfully, to take time off, Greiman helps provide balance, humor, peace and muffins for her staff.

A talented baker, Greiman has provided those members of the staff who can or do eat sweets with goods she bakes at home.

Hosch savors her blueberry muffins with fresh ginger, while Brown Clarke enjoys the chocolate chip cookies.

McInnis, who remains active by kayaking and can’t eat most of the foods because of a gluten allergy, is grateful for everything Greiman brings to the proverbial table.

“I could not hope for a better person to work with,” McInnis said. “Not only does she have such an incredible command of all the issues, both the internal campus issues but also the external issues, but she does so with this amazing presence.”

McInnis said her deputy’s sense of humor “tends to set everybody right in the room. She is a very centered individual [who] has the ability to build the team and help everybody work through even the most difficult of situations.”

In the fall, OLLI classes were contained in the Social & Behavioral Sciences building, the Charles B. Wang Center, above, and Student Activities Center this fall. Photo from Stony Brook University

Continuing education students in Suffolk County recently found out speaking up can garner better results.

Students and workshop leaders enrolled in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University, a program that offers workshops, lectures and activities to retired and semiretired individuals, breathed sighs of relief when SBU representatives informed them at a June 27 meeting at the university that all OLLI classes will remain on campus. A few months ago, due to increased enrollment of SBU and OLLI students, it was proposed by university representatives that some OLLI classes be held off campus and members were told they could no longer park in the lot reserved for staff and faculty.

“There are some questions. So, I think there’s room for tweaking here.”

— John Gobler

Judith Greiman, chief deputy to SBU president and senior vice president for government and community relations, said while all classes will be held on campus, they will only be scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays instead of every weekday. Class duration will also be changing from 75 minutes to 60. OLLI students will be required to use the metered parking lots where they will need a hang tag, so they won’t have to put coins in the meters. The new parking arrangement will mean an added $75 in OLLI fees per semester.

The changes came after complaints from members and several meetings with Greiman, SBU community relations director Joan Dickinson and OLLI representatives, according to past OLLI president Robert Mirman. He said both sides had to bend a little.

“It’s understandable that the students of the university have priority, and they’re growing, there’s no ifs, ands or buts,” Mirman said. “But the majority of our members, the feedback that we got, was that they would prefer to be on campus.”

Workshop leader John Gobler said he believes the new plans are an improvement over initially proposed ideas, but said he and other members feel issues still exist. The new schedule has an hour break between classes, which will cause a good amount of downtime for those who take more than one course a day. He said at the June 27 meeting, members complained about the additional $75 a semester fee. Not everyone brings their car since they carpool, others need to park in handicap spots at the university and metered parking is limited, according to Gobler. Mirman said overall the $75 additional fee per semester will be less expensive than using the meters.

“The misperception, on the part of some, was that somehow the university didn’t want people on campus.”

—Judith Greiman

“We do have the support of the university, and they’re trying to help us, I’m sure,” Gobler said. “There are some questions. So, I think there’s room for tweaking here.”

Gobler also has concerns about equipment since classes will be offered solely in the Charles B. Wang Center, Student Activity Center and Social & Behavioral Sciences building, where the rooms don’t have the same technology equipment as other buildings. The one benefit of OLLI classes taking place in the three buildings instead of various buildings is OLLI members will know where their class location is as soon as they register. In the past, they had to wait until SBU
students completed registration to know where a class was going to be held.

Dickinson said current discussions with OLLI representatives has led to helping members become more involved with volunteer and community opportunities. She said many didn’t realize there were university events they could take part in like an international science competition where members can meet with the participating students and see their projects. She said many agencies in the community reach out to SBU and ask for help with reading to local students, musical performances, hosting campus tours and more. Those same volunteer opportunities will exist for OLLI members.

“Those kinds of connections and becoming more a part of the campus will be there,” Dickinson said.

Greiman said the university is happy to work with OLLI.

“The misperception, on the part of some, was that somehow the university didn’t want people on campus,” Greiman said. “In fact, we very strongly support the program and see the OLLI members as ambassadors and as part of the Stony Brook family.”

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By Judith B. Greiman

With the new year comes a new policy at Stony Brook University, and we hope it will inspire some resolutions for 2016 — all campus locations including Southampton and Manhattan are now 100 percent tobacco-free.

Stony Brook strives to maintain a respectful, safe, healthy and clean community. We’re following the lead of more than 1,000 colleges nationwide, including several SUNY schools that have already implemented tobacco-free policies. Our new policy is also consistent with the greater cultural shift toward smoke- and tobacco-free public places, such as restaurants, hotels, parks, airplanes and sporting venues.

The tobacco-free policy applies to all students, faculty and staff as well as visitors on campus, including vendors, volunteers and contractors, attendees at all our events (such as Seawolves football games and shows at the Staller Center for the Arts) and families and friends of students, faculty and staff.

Products that may not be used on campus include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, pipes, hookah-smoked products and oral and smokeless tobacco.

The University started researching and developing best practices for implementing a tobacco-free policy in 2013. Working groups and an advisory council involving a cross-representation of campus, including students, contributed to the new tobacco-free policy and initiative.

Our new initiative, An Air of Respect, addresses going tobacco-free with a supportive approach that recognizes not only the negative health and environmental effects of using tobacco products but also the real challenge tobacco users face when trying to quit.

Judith B. Greiman is Chief Deputy to the President and Vice President for Government and Community Relations at Stony Brook University.