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Stony Brook Goes Far Beyond the Expected

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As Stony Brook University continues its ascent as one of the nation’s preeminent research universities, there are so many reasons to be proud. Recently, Stony Brook faculty and students have been recognized for numerous prestigious honors, including five National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards, three Goldwater Scholarships, and 11 NSF graduate research fellowships. The University continues to be recognized for its strengths across college rankings, most recently by Money and Essence magazines as one of the top 50 colleges offering the best value for African American students. The Stony Brook men’s basketball team won a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, and as a HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Champion, the University is gearing up for more activities in support of the UN Women’s HeForShe global initiative for gender equality.

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FAR BEYOND comes to life on the Stony Brook campus.

It’s this momentum that is captured in Stony Brook’s new brand strategy — FAR BEYOND — which debuted on April 20 through new on-campus banners, an updated University homepage, advertising and other elements.

“Our community recognizes the groundbreaking work and outstanding scholarship that take place on our campus every day,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Equally important is ensuring that people outside of Stony Brook — peers, the public, media, legislators — see the full breadth of our story and recognize the drive and growing reach and impact of our University. FAR BEYOND provides a sustainable platform to tell our story and attract the best and brightest students, faculty and staff; connect with alumni in a more meaningful way; increase philanthropic support; and extend the University’s impact and visibility around the world.”

“We have so much to be proud of and celebrate in the remarkable accomplishments of our students, alumni, faculty and staff,” President Stanley continued. “That excitement deserves to travel beyond our campus, and FAR BEYOND enables that in a clear, compelling way.”

According to Stony Brook’s Vice President for Communications and Marketing and Chief Communications Officer, Nicholas Scibetta, FAR BEYOND is a long-term strategy that will advance key University goals and important initiatives. “The FAR BEYOND framework coupled with Stony Brook’s existing strong visual identity — including the Stony Brook shield logo and other graphic elements — provides the University with a narrative and visual foundation to be more powerful and distinct in our communications,” said Scibetta. “They capture Stony Brook’s unique personality and empower us to articulate its compelling story to our most important audiences locally, nationally and globally.”

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Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, fourth from right, joins students as FAR BEYOND is unveiled on campus.

Driven by Research
The University-wide strategy is the result of a comprehensive effort that began in 2014. The collaborative process included a deep market research component and discussions across campus to engage and solicit feedback from Stony Brook community members. Their input and direction was critical to the research and creative process, shaping the direction and approach.

Through surveys, focus groups and forums, the University uncovered insights from prospective and current students, faculty and staff, alumni, donors and other important constituents such as parents, higher education peers, school counselors and regional business leaders. Key findings included:

  • Audiences see Stony Brook as a driven, imaginative community in which students, faculty and staff are committed to understanding and advancing issues critical to society and the world.
  • Stony Brook’s leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine is recognized as a strength, but there is an opportunity to drive greater awareness of other programs.
  • Those closest to Stony Brook — students, faculty and staff — have a tremendous pride in Stony Brook and embrace the University’s global, hard-working community. They expressed a strong desire for the University to tell its diverse story in a bolder more distinctive way.
  • Outdated perceptions about Stony Brook’s past — for example, being predominantly a commuter school and having large class sizes — still prevail.
  • The University’s value in delivering a high-quality education while maintaining a level of access and affordability and serving underrepresented populations is a key differentiator.

This rigorous process was designed to give insight into how these audiences perceive the University and the communication strategies that offer the best opportunities to engage them more deeply. These findings were critical to informing the strategy and are at the foundation of the FAR BEYOND framework.

“FAR BEYOND encapsulates the strengths of Stony Brook in terms of its STEM programs, and focuses the University on the next phase of its meteoric rise to one of the premier research universities in the country,” said Edward L. Feldman, president of the University Senate. “It emphasizes future global development in the arts, humanities, athletics and medicine as well as Stony Brook’s collaborations with the Turkana Basin Institute, Brookhaven National Lab and Cold Spring Harbor Lab. This is enormously helpful as we try to recruit competitive faculty, staff and students for the future.”

Dynamic Storytelling
FAR BEYOND is built around Stony Brook’s ethos as a driven, imaginative community, relentlessly pursuing tomorrow’s big ideas. Stories of the University’s groundbreaking work and accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and alumni will be featured throughout this multiyear initiative. This includes an initial series of narratives that will be used in the FAR BEYOND launch that focus on:

  • Stony Brook’s commitment to provide access to a high-quality education and to serve as an engine of social mobility
  • Global reach and impact as evidenced by the University’s cross-disciplinary work in Madagascar
  • Stony Brook’s position as part of the management team of a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Innovation and breakthrough care provided by Stony Brook Medicine
  • Local impact of applied research in Shinnecock Bay that has reach and influence globally

These remarkable stories are brought to life through dynamic visuals and video that are at the center of the first expressions of FAR BEYOND. These and other features about Stony Brook’s many different programs will be reported across the Stony Brook website, in the new redesigned Stony Brook University Magazine, social media and other digital platforms.

“There aren’t enough words to describe my excitement. FAR BEYOND really captures our ideas as a university and watching it come to life was stunning,” said Cole Lee, president of the Undergraduate Student Government who is majoring in political science. “This process has been all about collaboration and ideas, being inclusive and listening to our stories. FAR BEYOND perfectly embodies the myriad stories, our values and passion at Stony Brook. It’s about what makes us Seawolves and what makes Stony Brook University so special.”

“FAR BEYOND showcases Stony Brook as a flagship research university, where diversity and student empowerment are valued,” said Vahideh Rasekhi, president of the Graduate Student Organization and PhD Candidate in linguistics. “FAR BEYOND is in line with the vision our students hold in making Stony Brook an inclusive environment that encourages students to be innovative, challenge assumptions, promote intellectual communication, and advance scholarship across disciplines.”

Bringing FAR BEYOND to Life
FAR BEYOND can now be seen on the Stony Brook campus and will be fully implemented across the University over time. Banners, posters and opportunities to share Stony Brook stories on social media are rolling out as is a new look for visual approach and templates and resources to help the campus consistently communicate about Stony Brook. Various forms of advertising will amplify the launch around the campus and broader community.

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Students proudly wear FAR BEYOND T-shirts.

A redesigned homepage for stonybrook.edu marks the beginning of an extensive overhaul of the University’s digital media platforms. Designed to meet the needs of prospective students and connect with the entire Stony Brook community, the homepage tells the Stony Brook story in a much more current, engaging way.

The new homepage is fully responsive, which means it will work equally well on mobile phones, tablets and desktops. Featured at the top of the page is a visually arresting area designed to showcase the stories that communicate FAR BEYOND.

News and features are promoted next on the home page, in an eye-catching visual grid entitled, “We’re Making Bold Moves.” These features are designed to reflect the full range of the University’s academic excellence and community engagement, from the latest scientific discoveries to advances in humanities and the social sciences. The six categories of stories included at any given time are not permanent; rather, an extensive list of subject matter representing a wide array of achievements by Stony Brook students, faculty and staff will be consistently rotated through over time.

“Higher education is a very competitive environment, and being able to communicate who we are and what students can accomplish at Stony Brook is a game changer,” said Rodney Morrison, associate provost for enrollment and retention management. “FAR BEYOND truly differentiates Stony Brook from our peers. Students, parents and the guidance counselor community will now have a clear sense of the kind of experience Stony Brook offers and the community we are building.”

The campus community can expect to see additional elements in the coming months as the University shows the world how Stony Brook goes FAR BEYOND the expected.

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