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Despite COVID-19 Challenges, Stony Brook Celebrates Students Virtually with Winter Degree Conferral

Feature president mcinnis commencement 2020 feature
President mcinnis graduation photo 2020
President Maurie McInnis

​STONY BROOK, NY, December 18, 2020—After months of hybrid  learning during the COVID pandemic, thousands of Stony Brook University students were awarded degrees at the Winter Virtual Degree Conferral Celebration. The Degree Conferral was webcast on Friday, December 18 at 6:30pm, ET.  

Candidates, with their families and friends, were invited to participate in the live-streamed celebration as Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral and Professional, Medical Degrees and Graduate Certificates were bestowed. 

During her first graduation address, President Maurie McInnis commended the newly-designated alumni for their fearlessness during these trying times.

“You were brave enough to start at a new school; brave enough to make mistakes, learn new things, and share your opinions. You were brave enough to take risks and allow your minds to change. You were brave enough to excel through this most difficult year in contemporary memory. And you were brave enough to take the leap of faith that is inherent in any commencement,” she said.

In addition, former Stony Brook Southampton faculty member and internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, recognizing his talents that also include achievements as a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, satirist, children’s book author and graphic novelist. After he left the Village Voice where he worked for 42 years, Feiffer joined Stony Brook’s MFA program in Creative Writing and Literature where he taught ”Humor and Truth,” one of the program’s most popular classes. 

After receiving his honorary degree this evening, Feiffer said, “When I started on that first day [of teaching at Stony Brook Southampton], I said ‘You have a license to fail and if you don’t take advantage of that license, you really will fail. But if you take chances; if you fall flat on your face; if you just reach out to what you can’t do, I’m going to help you learn how to do it and we’re going to have a very good time together’ and in the years that I taught, we did have a very good time together failing our way upward.”

Pre-recorded remarks for the Conferral Celebration were provided by Interim Provost Fotis Sotiropoulos and Deans from each of Stony Brook University’s Schools and Colleges. For the first time in history, several students from the Renaissance School of Medicine (RSOM) at Stony Brook University conferred their degrees and took their Hippocratic oath during a December ceremony, administered by Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Dean, RSOM and Sr. Vice President of the Health Sciences. 


About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. With more than 26,000 students, 2,700 faculty members, over 200,000 alumni, an academic medical center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, it is one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The University embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education of the highest quality, and has been ranked among the top 35 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The University’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Stony Brook is one of only eight universities that has a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the University totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@stonybrooku).

Contact: 631 372-4338

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