Of course, far more important is the quality of the undergraduate academic experience, and there we can be very proud, even as we know we have a long way to go. The new Reinvention Center, which grew out of the Boyer Report, makes us a leader as we forge a national network of research universities to share information about undergraduate education. We have some of the best teachers anywhere; indeed some of our best researchers are also some of the best teachers, which is the way it ought to be. This year we have distinguished additions to the faculty, including Richard Leakey and the Emerson String Quartet. We have a new department of Asian and Asian American Studies. The opening of the residential college, which brings together freshmen interested in information and technology studies, is the first step in the Provost’s undergraduate plan, focused on initiating residential colleges or other structural learning communities for all freshmen. Our living-learning communities and Honors program, as well as WISE, continue to challenge students to do their best. Now we need to build new special programs, which bring together bright students with shared interests, more programs which draw the brightest to Stony Brook.
Frankly, although we have made a glorious beginning, we have a long way to go to be a leader in implementation of the Boyer ecommendations, even if the Boyer Report gave Stony Brook a natural advantage by virtue of my chairing the Commission. Too many of our students still do not have the opportunities we owe them. I think we cannot use financial constraints as an excuse—we have to find innovative ways, such as the new residential college, to make things happen. The best private institutions have more financial ability to move quickly on the undergraduate agenda—and everything else—but expenditures do not equal excellence; ingenuity and determination count. So I would challenge us to continue the drive to make Stony Brook a great place for undergraduates. It is a battle that we have begun well; we’ve made tremendous strides; but we’re not finished yet.