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President’s Message Urges Strength through Adversity

Michael Bernstein

Interim President Michael A. Bernstein has released a message updating the community and encouraging strength through adversity as we cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The message reads:

Dear University Community,

We are, to say the least, confronted by a unique array of complex, volatile, and disturbing challenges.  As we take steps to position our University to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to update you on our recent efforts.  In every step we take, our primary goal is to ensure your safety and well-being.

Over the last few weeks, we have made difficult but critical decisions, such as moving to remote learning, extending Spring Break, and closing on-campus housing. Such actions were taken to protect those most vulnerable to the Coronavirus infection, to foster the ongoing success of our students, and to sustain our work as a research university and academic medical center. We are also working to resolve human resource and work-related issues to best facilitate these outcomes.

We will strive to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19. The Stony Brook University website News page contains our latest-breaking news items. Our frequently updated Coronavirus Information page, patient information page and FAQ page address a variety of topics, including distance learning, tech support, academic program updates, patient care, travel guidance, and evolving regulations regarding sponsored research.

I also encourage you to watch our weekly “Beyond the Expected” podcast as we spotlight the work of experts and campus leaders framing our pandemic emergency response protocols. The first episode covers the impact of the Coronavirus on health and wellness, clinical, and economic conditions and offers an historical perspective. Our next podcast episode will stream on Facebook Live tomorrow – Wednesday, March 18 – at 1PM – featuring a conversation with Richard (‘Rick’) Gatteau, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Marisa Bisiani, Assistant Vice President for Student Health, Wellness, and Prevention Services; and Lawrence (‘Larry’) Zacarese, Assistant Chief of the University Police and Director of University Emergency Management.

We will give you access to critical news as quickly as we can as we collaborate closely with the New York State Governor’s Office and our SUNY counterparts. Up-to-date information may also be found at the websites for the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Please allow me to close by saying how very proud I am of our entire University community.  Every constituency of the “Seawolf Nation” has come together, in the midst of an unprecedented and extremely difficult situation, striving to do what is best on behalf of our multiple missions in education, research, scholarship, art-making, healthcare, and community and professional service.  Through it all, every step of the way, I ask that you also rigorously uphold our values of civility and respect for diversity, embracing all segments of our community, in care, commitment, and solidarity.

I wish I could tell you the worst is passed. There is no question some very tough days lie ahead. At the same time, it is clear that our University will persevere, evolve, and ultimately thrive – demonstrating through grit, determination, and hard work what is truly great about public higher education in our state and nation.

Thank you for doing all that you do on behalf of the University we love and the communities we serve.

With great admiration and respect, I wish you and all your loved ones safety and health!

With my warm regards,


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