Donor Stories: Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD and Dr. Ellen Li
Stony Brook University President, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., a nationally prominent expert in infectious diseases, and his wife Dr. Ellen Li, a renowned gastroenterologist and researcher who holds a joint faculty appointment at Stony Brook and at Washington University in St. Louis, announced today that they are making a $125,000 donation to establish the Ellen Li and Samuel L. Stanley Jr. Endowed Scholarship in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. This merit-based scholarship will provide critical financial assistance to young people who have received their undergraduate degree through Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program/Advancement on Individual Merit (EOP/AIM) and who aspire to careers as physician-scientists.
Dr. Stanley and Dr. Li have been personally involved in EOP/AIM since coming to the University in 2009. Dr. Li serves as a tutor and advisor to EOP/AIM students, and President Stanley is an ardent advocate of the program, which provides access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students.
“Ellen and I strongly believe in EOP/AIM; we have always aspired to help students in this program,” said Dr. Stanley. “Many of the students in this program come from underserved and at-risk communities and due in part to EOP/AIM, Stony Brook graduates 65 percent of our Hispanic students and 70 percent of our African American students – more than almost any other public university in the country. To be able to play a role in our EOP/AIM students’ continuing education and help them realize a dream is extremely important to us.”
Dr. Li echoed these sentiments, adding that she and her husband take special pride in the fact that the Endowed Scholarship in their name will benefit well-qualified underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students desirous of a career in medicine and research.
“While the percentage of Hispanic and Black students enrolled in medical school has grown over the last year or two, we want to encourage even greater diversity,” she said. “Having aspiring physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who represent the communities in which they may eventually serve, would have a profound impact on the health and well-being of these communities.”
The Stanley/Li gift will have double the impact because it will be matched by the Simons Foundation, increasing the total value of their scholarship gift to $250,000. Last month, philanthropists Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation made a $150 million donation to the University – one of the largest to any institution of public higher education and the largest gift in the history of Stony Brook and in the history of the State University of New York. Part of the Simons Gift was an Academic Excellence Challenge Grant to match donations intended for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, to retain and recruit outstanding faculty, and to enhance academic programs, institutes, and centers of excellence.
Dr. Stanley also expressed his gratitude to Jim and Marilyn Simons for establishing the Challenge Grant; an “inspiration to the entire Stony Brook community to join together in fulfilling our potential to be among the greatest public research universities in the country, a place where unparalleled heights in research, education and discovery are reached.”