“If we are to realize the benefits of our increased revenue from NYSUNY 2020 and our new levels of philanthropic support, we must continue to find ways to do things smarter, cheaper and better.”
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During my inauguration speech I spoke only briefly about philanthropy and how important it would be for Stony Brook University. What I suspected then, and know now, is that we will not achieve our goal of being one of the best public universities in the world without philanthropic support. In some sense, it represents the margin for excellence — we can do a good job with State support, but we will not be great without the support of our friends and alumni. During the past three years I have put fundraising front and center at Stony Brook University. Thanks to the remarkable gift from Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation, we are now investing in excellence across both campuses. The match component of the gift has inspired giving to Stony Brook across Long Island and the country, and we are reaping the benefits.
Since my arrival at Stony Brook University we have booked 36 gifts of $1 million or more and secured nearly $235 million total in gifts. Many of these funds will be used to help us recruit and retain the best faculty, by creating endowed professorships and start-up packages that allow us to compete with the best universities in the world. I am proud to say that we have already more than doubled the number of endowed professorships at the University, and tripled the number of endowed professorships in the humanities and arts. And we continue to push for funds to support graduate education and undergraduate scholarships so we can recruit and support the best students in the land.
Frankly, I am humbled and honored that so many individuals believe in our vision and believe that Stony Brook University is worth supporting. We have much more work to do, a match to complete and many important areas to support, but I am very confident that we can do it, and I want to acknowledge Dexter Bailey, our Vice President for Advancement, who has brought a new level of professionalism and success to our fundraising efforts. Dexter, thanks to you and your team. I also want to thank all of the senior leadership of the University and our faculty who have worked hard to help obtain the funds to help us achieve our goals.
Project 50 Forward
Three years ago we were dealing with what would become more than $90 million in budget cuts to Stony Brook University. I realized that if we were to preserve the academic heart of our University, we would have to become more efficient and effective on the administrative side. We could not afford duplication of administration or academic effort, ineffective procurement, stultifying hiring practices or wasteful spending. Our staff was hard working, and we were lean compared with our peers, but we were not always efficient and not always cost effective. I used a gift from the Stony Brook Foundation to initiate Project 50 Forward, our effort to re-engineer Stony Brook’s administrative side for excellence. I am pleased to say that under the leadership of Senior Vice President Barbara Chernow, we continue to make great progress in this area. This has been an inclusive process, with input from faculty, staff, students and the senior leadership team. To date we have achieved savings of nearly $13 million annually, and these are monies that find their way back into student support and our academic mission.
I want to particularly thank those staff members who have embraced this process and helped us achieve these remarkable cost savings while preserving the effectiveness of our support services. Many thanks to each and every one of you. I want to emphasize that there is much more to do, and if we are to realize the benefits of our increased revenue from NYSUNY 2020 and our new levels of philanthropic support, we must continue to find ways to do things smarter, cheaper and better. Simply put, Project 50 Forward is critical to our future success.