Annual Event Honors Laurie Landeau and Robert Maze
More than 500 guests gathered on April 11 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City to honor Laurie Landeau, VMD, MBA, and Robert J. Maze, PhD, at the 24th Stars of Stony Brook Gala.
Hosted annually by the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees, this year’s celebration recognized the meaningful impact of Landeau and Maze on the university and marine environments. Through their deep knowledge and passion, the couple drives big ideas to address the most pressing real-world issues affecting water quality, fisheries, aquatic animals and ecosystems.
“This is really the biggest honor I’ve ever received, and I’m delighted to share it with my husband,” said Landeau. “While the purpose of the evening is to celebrate student scholarships, tonight is also a celebration of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.”
The 2023 Stars of Stony Brook Gala raised an impressive $2.1 million to provide vital scholarships to hundreds of Stony Brook University students. Since 2000, the annual Stars of Stony Brook Gala has raised nearly $70 million to support scholarships and programs of academic and clinical excellence.
“All the funds raised tonight will support scholarships to enable a new generation of deserving students to attend Stony Brook University,” said Richard Gelfond ’76, Stony Brook Foundation chair and CEO of IMAX Corporation. “Through your support, we will open doors to life-changing experiences for students who would otherwise not be able to attend this excellent university.”
Landeau and Maze join a distinguished roster of scholars, politicians, celebrities and luminaries honored at the Stars of Stony Brook Gala. The roster includes President Joseph Biden; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco; John L. Hennessy, MS ’75, PhD ’77, the president emeritus of Stanford University; Nobel Laureate C.N. Yang; actors Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Jane Fonda and Ed Harris; IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond ’76; and award-winning conservationist Patricia Wright.
“I am amazed by the deep thought and the brilliant vision that lies behind every contribution Laurie and Bob have made, every insight they have shared, and every student they have helped,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “Together, they bring a combination of wisdom, compassion, thoughtfulness, and generosity that is rare and so incredibly valued. With their leadership, we are building a bright future for Stony Brook. Our vision is being fueled by Laurie and Bob and all of you here tonight.”
Landeau and Maze’s leadership and support of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) are made even more meaningful by their deep knowledge of and passion for the field. Landeau, a noted aquatic animal veterinarian, and Maze, an expert in ecological parasitology, have a long and meaningful relationship with Stony Brook University, beginning when Landeau brought the AQUAVET® program in aquatic animal medicine to the university’s Southampton campus. Since that initial connection, the couple has supported SoMAS by establishing the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program, the Maze-Landeau Fellows Program, the Minghua Zhang Early Career Faculty Innovation Fund and originating the Dean’s Fund for Success.
“SoMAS faculty are truly fantastic, but when you spend time with students, you realize what makes Stony Brook so important,” Landeau and Maze remarked.
The couple noted that they traveled to Long Island last week to attend the PhD thesis defense of one of the Maze-Landeau Fellows. They spoke proudly about this student, who was in the audience and whom they mentored over the last six years, noting her sophisticated molecular research techniques, the eight publications already under her belt, and the many choices ahead for a post-doc.
SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. said, “Stony Brook has a stellar record of preparing generations of students for success through its world-class educational offerings, indelible research and first-rate service and support. The Stars of Stony Brook Gala is an annual opportunity to celebrate the university’s excellence, and raise additional funding for student scholarships to ensure those with the potential to excel have the financial means to do so. My congratulations to the Stony Brook University community for another successful event.”
Landeau is the president and director of the Laurie Landeau Foundation, LLC, and the Ralph Landau Foundation, both of which specialize in supporting science and technology. Maze sits on their boards with her. Their relationship with SoMAS and Stony Brook has flourished over the years — Maze chairs the SoMAS Dean’s Council, while Landeau is vice chair of the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees.
Their most significant investment has been in the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program. Landeau and Maze quickly realized this program had the potential to elevate the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and promote it as a world-class institution. The couple has also focused their support for SoMAS on attracting the best graduate students and innovative younger faculty throughout the school, recruiting a new dean who could invest strategically in the school and establishing the Marinetics Endowed Professorship.
This endowed researcher would study the interplay between disease and environment and the implications of ocean acidification and temperature stress on marine animals, primarily bivalves, at the Marine Animal Disease Laboratory. They would also collaborate with scientists worldwide to show how clams respond to infection and how farmers can breed parasite-resistant clams.
As a result of the vital efforts of Stony Brook’s talented researchers and the incredible philanthropic support of Landeau and Maze, Shinnecock Bay has been designated as a Global Hope Spot by Mission Blue, an organization founded by Sylvia Earle, famed marine biologist and the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Bay is the first Global Hope Spot in New York state, the only one near a central metropolitan region and one of just three along the Eastern Seaboard.
“Our remarkable students are Stony Brook University. They are our future. In them, we will find the next moonshot opportunities,” said McInnis. “And with those opportunities, they will take Stony Brook — and the world — to new and incredible heights.”