“I am pleased to say that we continue to attract some of the best and brightest students in the country and around the world.”
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Now let’s talk about some good news. I am pleased to say that we continue to attract some of the best and brightest students in the country and around the world.
In terms of our freshman class, it is the best in the University’s history. Almost 28,000 first-year students applied for a class of approximately 2,700 freshmen, and an additional 4,723 transfers applied for one of our 1,200 transfer seats (Chart 6). Academically, the 2010 freshman class has a higher mean high school grade point average and average combined SAT scores than last year’s outstanding freshman class. To give you some perspective on the increasing quality of our incoming students, the SAT scores of Stony Brook freshmen have improved by almost 80 points since the year 2000 (Chart 7).
Equally important, new students are attending Stony Brook from across the country and around the world. According to admission records, the number of out-of-state freshmen increased from 15.5% last year to 18% this year (Chart 8). And we continue to be proud of the fact that we are the most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse of the SUNY Centers; we remain accessible and provide extraordinary opportunity for outstanding students (Chart 9). Stony Brook ties for second in the percentage of freshmen who receive Pell Grants, at 30%, which is nearly twice the median percentage at other public AAU institutions (Chart 10).
We began the 2010 fall semester with 23,916 students, 202 more than last fall. If enrollment patterns continue, we should come close to meeting our expectations for the fall (Chart 11). Just to give you a sense of our growth in recent years, we have some 4,800 more students than we had just 10 years ago. We are proud that we have provided a Stony Brook education for more students, and we would like to continue to do so. That being said, we are at a crossroads. To maintain the level of quality that is expected from a top tier institution and to do what is right for our current students and faculty, we have decided to cap our undergraduate enrollment—for now. This is not a step we take lightly. The intent is to keep the student-faculty ratio from increasing so we don’t overburden our professors and undermine student access to the courses they need to graduate.
The quality of our students represents a continued source of pride for Stony Brook. And one of the reasons they come here is because of our outstanding faculty, and the national and international recognition that they bring to this institution. While there is not enough time at this event for me to appropriately outline even a small part of the many accomplishments of our faculty over the past year, I would like to share a select few of our most recent faculty achievements so that you will know the brilliance that sits among you today.
President Barack Obama selected Elizabeth M. Boon, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). In addition to receiving an invitation to the White House to receive her award from President Obama, Dr. Boon will receive $200,000 per year for five years to continue her research.
Jennifer L. Anderson, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, received a coveted Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research as part of the research team for “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North” that aired on the PBS series Point of View.
Professor John Parise from the Department of Geosciences was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Distinguished Scholar Award for 2009-2010, which will allow him to pursue his studies on the synthesis of novel materials at high pressure while visiting the Department of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.
Joanna Fowler, Senior Chemist, Director of the Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation, and Biological Imaging Program atBrookhaven National Laboratory, and adjunct faculty member in Stony Brook’s Department of Chemistry, was awarded the National Medal of Science at a White House ceremony. She was one of nine researchers named by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in science.
Daria Semegen, a Professor from the Department of Music, won the 2009 Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership in Rochester, New York, site of the Susan B. Anthony House National Historic Landmark.
Three Stony Brook University professors—Philip B. Allen, Barbara V. Jacak, and Alan Tucker—were named 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows.
Stony Brook University Mathematics Professor Dennis Sullivan was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize in Mathematics for his innovative contributions to algebraic topology and conformal dynamics.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) elected Eric W. Kaler, Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vice President of Brookhaven Affairs, as one of 68 new members and nine foreign associates.
The Emerson String Quartet, Stony Brook University’s resident ensemble, won its ninth Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for its May 2009 recording “Intimate Letters,” released by Deutsche Grammophon.
Lorna W. Role, Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, and member of the Central Nervous System Disorders Center in the Centers for Molecular Medicine at Stony Brook, was named a winner of the prestigious Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her proposal for light-induced deep brain stimulation of cholinergic neurons involved in degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Please join me in congratulating these and other faculty members for their outstanding efforts in teaching, research, and service.