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Society for College and University Planning Focuses on Stony Brook’s Rapid Route to Excellence at Regional Symposium

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SCUP 2014 North Atlantic Regional Symposium presenters and organizers
SCUP 2014 North Atlantic Regional Symposium presenters and organizers

Stony Brook University’s illustrious development held the spotlight during the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2014 North Atlantic Symposium, titled “Building Excellence from the Ground Up: Stony Brook’s First 50 Years” and hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn Stony Brook on October 24.

“What drew us to Stony Brook University was the chance for industry practitioners and experts to hear the story of developing one of the premier research institutions in the country,” said Bob Joy, SCUP North Atlantic Regional Council member and managing principal at JMZ Architects and Planners, P.C. “Fifty years is a very impressive amount of time for so much development to occur both academically and physically.”

The one-day symposium featured presentations by Stony Brook administrators and industry professionals who played key roles in developing the college campus since its groundbreaking in 1960.

“In just a little more than 50 years, the University has come a long way,” said Senior Vice President for Administration at Stony Brook University Barbara Chernow, opening the symposium. “I am very proud of this University ­— especially proud of the staff, project managers, architects, and planners you will meet and hear from today.”

Presentation topics spanned the University’s comprehensive planning, its rapid growth during the ’60s and ’70s, its various building renovation and construction projects, its creation of an alma mater in the face of being called a “commuter campus,” its future objectives as described in the 2013–2023 Facilities Master Plan and its ongoing sustainability efforts beginning with a physical “greenification” process.

“What is it like to be a human being walking around this campus? That is the question that drove our development,” said Frederick Bland, managing partner at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP, the firm responsible for refreshing Stony Brook’s campus appearance in the late ‘90s and 2000s. “Introducing a softer landscape made for a friendlier campus.”

Attendees to the symposium included architects, engineers, construction planners and managers and higher education administrators representing SCUP’s North Atlantic Region, which covers Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“It’s incredible to have a top-100 university in the community,” said local environmental planner Jessica Zanca, referring to Stony Brook’s ranking in U.S. News & World Report. “Stony Brook’s development benefits both the university itself, as well as how the community embraces it.” Zanca attended the symposium with colleagues from VHB Engineering in Hauppauge, NY.

Kristen Nyitray, Special Collections & University Archives head speaks about Stony Brook University development efforts at the symposium.
Kristen Nyitray, Special Collections & University Archives head speaks about Stony Brook University development efforts at the symposium.

Following the presentations, attendees chose to either visit the University’s Research and Development Park including the Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology and the Advanced Energy and Research Technology Center, or take a walking tour through the main academic campus highlighting various improvements including the new Campus Recreation Center and newly renovated Stony Brook Arena.

“Stony Brook today is the result of spectacular growth during the two decades following 1960. The campus took shape during extraordinary upheavals in social attitudes and economic conditions,” said Special Collections & University Archives Head Kristen Nyitray during her presentation. “To the credit of its original planners and campus leaders, Stony Brook has evolved into an institution of exceptional quality and vitality. As the only major research university on Long Island, it has served as a catalyst for economic development.”

— Brian Smith

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