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Governor Hochul's State of the State Address

January 6, 2022

Dear Stony Brook Community,

As this University and New York State gear up for another ambitious, productive, and, as has become the ‘20s guarantee, challenging year, I am delighted to write to you today with exciting news. Along with my Stony Brook University colleagues, leaders, and friends, I watched Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address yesterday with great anticipation, knowing that so much of this institution’s future is critically linked with the health and vitality of New York itself.

I felt her words profoundly when she said that it is a time to do things differently and to share success. And today, Stony Brook University and the SUNY System have many successes to share.

It’s important to note that at this point the following are just proposals—the details and final actions taken will be clarified over the next few months during the legislative process. But Governor Hochul has set an ambitious agenda for legislators to consider, and I wanted to outline a few of the things that will impact our community in a positive way.

The Governor has proposed that Stony Brook University and the University at Buffalo be officially designated as the two flagships of the SUNY System. This designation would recognize our University’s essential role in driving scientific advancement, clinical care, employment, and socioeconomic mobility across the State—four things that are central to our University’s identity. We are grateful that Governor Hochul shares both our ambition and our mission to build a world-class institution in which diversity, equity, inclusion, and access are integral priorities.  “We must seize this moment to revitalize SUNY,” she said. “…lifting up students from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds while at the same time transforming the institution into a global, 21st century educational leader.” In making the flagship designation proposal, she notes that this will help each institution work to meet the goal of $1 billion in federal research funding by 2030.

Governor Hochul’s proposal also seeks flexibility in how we are regulated, calls for funding for scientific labs through a new SUNY-wide Labs for the Future initiative, and notes that there will be funding to attract world class faculty and researchers. All of this, plus funding for the proposed Grand Challenges initiative that will encourage cross disciplinary research on the world’s biggest challenges, helps to set up Stony Brook to enter the world stage as a powerhouse research and entrepreneurial institution.

As Stony Brook continues to innovate for a greater world, we’ll focus on building on our interdisciplinary strengths and encouraging collaboration. We will have the Governor’s support for matching funds toward the construction of a new multidisciplinary engineering building and a partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Lab to launch NeuroAI, an initiative that combines neuroscience and artificial intelligence to make breakthrough discoveries.

Governor Hochul also outlined a healthcare plan aimed at rebuilding and growing the state’s healthcare workforce by 20% through support for higher wages and for healthcare capital infrastructure and research laboratories. The plan also calls for increased training, attracting students by providing financial support for the education of healthcare professionals who work in New York State, supporting career flexibility for direct care workers, investing in digital innovation, making affordable healthcare coverage available to everyone, expanding and improving access to prenatal and postnatal care, establishing a state master plan for aging, and strengthening addiction, suicide, mental health and domestic violence services.

I am grateful to Governor Hochul for her support of Stony Brook through her flagship designation proposal and for her support for significant investments in health care and higher education. And of course, I am grateful to you: the staff, students, faculty, healthcare experts, physicians, and researchers who make this University great. Achieving the support proposed by Governor Hochul will help us improve student outcomes, drive innovation, and ultimately create not only a brighter, healthier Stony Brook but also a brighter, healthier New York.

We will be sure to update you on important developments as the legislative session continues. I look forward to working with Governor Hochul, legislative leaders, and our SUNY leadership as we move forward into an auspicious 2022.


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Maurie McInnis