October 15, 2021
Dear members of the Stony Brook community,
I am both thrilled and honored to serve as the sixth president of Stony Brook University. In my first year, I’ve seen firsthand the indomitable spirit of our campus community as we have navigated difficult times. I’ve developed a deep appreciation for our university’s legacy of innovative research and how that legacy continues to shape our commitment to inquiry and exploration. In the classes I’ve taught here, I am amazed and energized by our students’ hunger for knowledge and desire to contribute to our society. I’ve witnessed our incredible healthcare professionals support our community during one of history’s most significant public health challenges. And I’ve been gratified to work alongside so many talented and dedicated leaders and staff members who are committed to making this campus a safe and welcoming place for us all.
I invite you to take part in next week’s exciting inaugural events, which culminate in the Inauguration Ceremony on Saturday, October 23. Next week is a celebration of Stony Brook’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters.
The festivities begin with the Opening Reception at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on Monday, Oct. 18, at 2 pm, with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell and the exhibition Dos Mundos: (Re)Constructing Narratives.
Pindell, who is the subject of the Zuccaire Gallery’s first-ever Faculty Artist Spotlight, is an internationally acclaimed artist who has taught at Stony Brook since 1979. Her powerful work has been exhibited extensively, and the spotlight features two of her works.
Dos Mundos is a SUNY traveling exhibition that features 12 artists that center stories at the fringe of public attention: hidden sanctuaries, subcultures, painful identities, far-away homes, spirituality, transcendence, broken promises, and all too easily ignored social ecologies.
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, the symposium “Health Education and Healthcare Disparities: A Critical Look at an Interdisciplinary Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” will be held at 1 pm in the MART Auditorium on East Campus. Presented as an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort from several schools within the Health Science Center, the symposium will discuss efforts to reduce disparities in healthcare and outcomes due to race, ethnicity, physical ability, or sexual orientation.
On Wednesday, October 20, at 3 pm I will deliver the University Senate Presidential Lecture “The Shadow of Slavery in American Public Life” in the Charles B. Wang Center Theatre. I will discuss two research projects — one focused on Virginia's role in the American slave trade; and one focused on slavery at the University of Virginia — including the public engagement that helped make visible the hidden legacy of slavery.
The lecture will be followed by a viewing of an exhibit I curated, “To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade,” which examines the American slave trade before the Civil War through the works of British artist Eyre Crowe.
The Inaugural Symposium “Tackling Inequality in Higher Education: Past & Present” takes place Friday, Oct. 22, at 3 pm in the Della Pietra Family Auditorium in the Simons Center. It will focus on the historical context and lasting impacts of inequities in students’ preparedness, resources, and access to college and graduate school.
The Inauguration Ceremony is at 11 am, Saturday, Oct. 23, in Island Federal Arena, and everyone is invited to attend. In my inaugural address I plan to look back on this university’s proud history, discuss the opportunities and challenges we face today, and talk about our plans to leverage our achievements and resources to position Stony Brook at the forefront of the nation’s leading research universities.
Our Homecoming celebration begins at 12:30 pm with the Homecoming BBQ. The football game between the Seawolves and the University of Richmond Spiders is at 3:30 pm. The artistically inclined can take part in the Art Crawl, which begins at 1 pm and includes guided tours of our university galleries.
Being a part of our university community is an incredible experience, and I look forward to working with all of you to ensure a bright future for Stony Brook University and the community we serve. Please join us for as many inaugural events as you can. It’s going to be a great week!