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Excitement and Promise: Students Welcomed Back to Campus

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President Maurie McInnis takes a photo with students at the First-Year Student Convocation on August 23 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Photos by John Griffin.

Stony Brook University welcomed new and returning students back to campus for the 2023-2024 academic year, with a variety of events and programs highlighting what it means to be a Seawolf.

President Maurie McInnis presided over the First-Year Student Convocation August 23 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium and the Transfer Student Convocation August 25 at the Staller Center Main Stage, noting that the students are coming to Stony Brook “at a moment of incredible excitement and promise.”

In the last year alone, we have led the State as a flagship research institution, started the groundbreaking New York Climate Exchange, received a history-making endowment gift, welcomed our inaugural class of Simons STEM Scholars, and hired internationally recognized and prize-winning faculty,” she said.

McInnis also emphasized to the students that the university community is here to support them on every step of their journey.

“Our foundational strength is the support and consideration we demonstrate for one another,” McInnis said. “We show up for one another. We are neighborly. We remain open and curious about one another. Here we cultivate the heart and the head.”

McInnis told students about her own undergraduate journey, when a class on ancient Greek art redirected her academic path, changing her major from biology (she wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon) to art history, and leading to a new calling as an educator.

McInnis encouraged students to cultivate their curiosity and challenge themselves.

Take classes outside of your comfort zone,” she advised. “Challenge yourself to not only figure out what you want to do after you graduate, but why you want to do it. The people who are most satisfied with their careers are the ones who feel a deep connection to a sense of purpose.”

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The First-Year Student Convocation also included performances by the KBS and L’Afrique dance teams, an address by student speaker Zaya Daniel, remarks by Dean of Students Ric McClendon and Executive Vice President and Provost Carl Lejuez, and the presentation of the Celebration of Teaching Awards. Students ended the event by taking a class photo on the football field.

The Transfer Student Convocation at Staller Center featured a performance by the Spirit of Stony Brook band and an address by transfer student speaker Daniel Cavanin.

Students began moving in on August 21, and once they were settled in, they had plenty of activities to choose from during the “Weeks of Welcome (WOW)” put together by the Division of Student Affairs. Events and programming include an outdoor roller rink at the Student Activities Center (SAC) Plaza, movies, games, musical performances, comedy, food, athletic events and much more.

Visit SB Engaged for a complete list of WOW events. New students also have access to an online guide to everything Stony Brook at the Welcome to SBU website.


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President McInnis helped students move into their campus residences on August 21.

Students also took part in New Seawolf Welcome Week, an experience geared toward getting them acclimated to Stony Brook and introduce them to faculty, staff, and fellow students. Each student has a unique schedule of assigned workshops as well as “Choose Your Own” workshops.

The Center for Service Learning and Community Service held its third annual Community Service Day on August 26, as students volunteered for a slate of 16 service projects that benefited the campus and the local community. Campus Dining also had a special schedule of culinary events for Welcome Week.

Fall semester classes began Monday, August 28.



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