Looking Forward to Seeing You in Person
August 11, 2021
Dear Members of the Stony Brook Community,
It is wonderful to be fully returning to in-person work, teaching, and learning. Already you can feel the excitement as people reunite with their friends, thank their colleagues, and plan together for the future. I’ve had the chance to meet some of you in person who previously were faces on a Zoom screen. From eating ice cream at one of our recent social events to enjoying music at the reopening of the Staller Center, I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to be together as a unified and active campus. Whether you are an employee just returning to the office this month, an essential worker who has been steering the Stony Brook ship the whole way through, or a new member of our campus community, you are critical in helping Stony Brook advance its mission.
Certainly, the latest developments associated with COVID require us to regularly assess the situation and shift our response where necessary, as we have done consistently throughout the pandemic. We have learned a lot about how to keep our campus safe and now have the addition of effective vaccines to help in this effort. I’m confident that we will thoughtfully navigate our return to the campus safely. And there is plenty of important work for us to do, together.
Never before has the importance of the research done at public universities like ours been more apparent. I take seriously Stony Brook’s role in leading us into a brighter, more equitable, and sustainable future. While our healthcare workers were pushed to their highest potential this past year — caring for patients across our community and administering more than 460,000 vaccines — our interdisciplinary approach to scholarship has us positioned as one of the best public research universities in the country. We are the clear leader in the SUNY system in innovation and ranked as one of the most effective institutions in the world in promoting social mobility and opportunity. Our collective efforts are creating a community that reaches across departments, campus locations, social divides, and across the globe for knowledge and discovery.
Through the collaborative work of our staff and faculty, we were able to thrive during one of the most difficult years in memory. We were able to celebrate breakthrough discoveries, provide for the community, work to close the gender gap in STEM, create growth and opportunity for our underrepresented students, and foster mentorship between our university and our neighbors on Long Island. Thanks to your shared accountability and teamwork, Stony Brook has emerged with the momentum to reach higher and make an even greater positive impact on our world.
Now, as we turn to the fall with a renewed vigor and purpose, there’s an opportunity to use this power of collaboration to further the impact and international reputation of Stony Brook. We have demonstrated that we are stronger together; we are at our best when we bring a dynamic, integrated approach to our work, service, and scholarship. I’m proud of the way Stony Brook maintained this environment through a year of remote work, but I also know how essential it is that we now return to campus and continue to build this institution into one of the most exciting public universities in the world, ready to foster student success, support one another, forge new pathways for social and economic equity, and innovate solutions for our 21st century challenges.
Stony Brook is planning for a future of great change and great potential, and I know that we can lead the world into this new era, determining how we treat one another, how we treat our planet, and how we ensure the health of the next generation. You are an essential part of this effort. I couldn’t be prouder to work alongside you, in person, in this important academic year. So, I’d like to end by offering a warm welcome back to campus. I can’t wait to meet you all.