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Leading — and Learning — Through Change

A Message from Dr. Maurie McInnis

July 1, 2020

I am very excited and proud to join the Stony Brook community as your sixth president.

Stony Brook’s reputation as a university simultaneously dedicated to the success of its diverse student body and to making the world a better place through cutting-edge research is well-known. Since I was named as the next president, I have gotten to know the community in a way that I would not have otherwise. I am moved by the indefatigable dedication to serving our community, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, and share what I have come to see as your unwavering commitment to working together to create a just, humane, and equitable campus.

I am motivated to work with this community and to rise to the challenges at hand as we build a great future together for our students, faculty, staff, patients, and the local communities we serve. We face challenges unlike any we have ever seen in the modern age: including a pandemic and global economic catastrophe. The resolve and commitment of our faculty and staff who improvised and did all that was possible to keep last semester moving and by our students who worked to continue their education despite the challenges that economic dislocation and remote learning created was so impressive.

I am also inspired by and strongly committed to upholding our mission and values related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. It’s one of the things that drew me to Stony Brook University. And it is a commitment I take very seriously, especially at this moment when the impact of racism and inequality have galvanized national attention and we have an opportunity to lead the call for and demonstrate meaningful change. Working under the guidance of our Chief Diversity Officer and with input from the campus at large, we will strengthen the actions and commitments arising from the University’s Diversity Plan. It is critical now and always that we deliver on our values of celebrating diversity, raising awareness, and fostering mutual respect and understanding for all our community members.

And I am ready and eager to enter into energetic collaborations with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to hear about our challenges, explore our opportunities, and envision our future. The coming year will present enormous challenges. Meaningful listening and the development of strong partnerships must guide our work together as we navigate these difficult times.

I am deeply grateful for Michael Bernstein’s leadership as Interim President. He has ably led this institution through the stormy headwinds of the pandemic, and the monumental task of shifting to remote instructions and supporting Stony Brook Medicine as it cared for thousands of patients battling COVID-19. I so appreciate his willingness to serve Stony Brook into next year as our Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. I believe we will accomplish much together.

We have all been sorely tested by past challenges and, undoubtedly, there are many more to come. The road upon which we travel is rocky and the hazards along our journey are unknowable. Our plans must be robust yet adaptable. Please join with me in modeling patience, understanding, and gratitude when we face the inevitable changing circumstances. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead in these troubled times because it is in such times that the true quality of a community is revealed.

Yes, we have work to do: combating racial injustice, fighting COVID-19, supporting students in their education, growing research and scholarship, and building a brighter future for New York. The Stony Brook community that I have come to know these past few weeks will be able to face our current challenges with the same strength and determination demonstrated throughout the course of the young history of this superb institution.

Together we are Stony Brook Strong.


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Maurie McInnis, PhD
President, Stony Brook University