Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Baigent passed away on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 1, according to an email sent to the campus community Sunday evening.
Baigent was on a voluntary leave of absence, a Sept. 28 email sent by President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. to the campus community, said, after 11 years as vice president and more than 24 years of service at the university overall. In last week’s email, Stanley expressed the beginning of a search to fill a senior management position within the Office of Student Affairs.
“He had wonderful relationships with colleagues inside and outside of the division,” Associate Provost for Academic Success Richard Gatteau said in an email, “always focused on being student centered. He challenged us all to work as a team and had enormous respect for his staff who work tirelessly to support each student’s success.” Baigent, who was Gatteau’s direct supervisor for years, was viewed as a leader and as someone who was always very supportive and encouraging, Gatteau said.
In his tenured post, Baigent maintained a core set of values, which he geared toward the position. Among them were providing opportunity, access and inclusiveness to students, faculty and staff, and enforcing personal and community responsibility, Stony Brook’s website states. Baigent was an advocate for diversity, focusing his attention on the understanding of the student body, helping advance and re-envision the Office of Institutional Research.
“As a result of Dr. Baigent’s leadership, Stony Brook’s Division of Student Affairs is lauded as one of the best in the nation,” he said.
Baigent first joined Stony Brook University in 1993, as the associate president for student affairs. In 2006, he became the vice president of the same post. During his time here, he served on the chairmanship of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, as a member of its board of directors and on its foundation board. He also served as a member of the EDUCAUSE Advisory Committee on Information Systems and Services and sat on the International Senior Practitioner’s Council. Further, Baigent previously served as the former president of the Faculty Student Association.
“It is with profound sadness that I must write to inform the campus community of the passing today of our colleague and friend, Peter Baigent,” Stanley said in his email.
“Throughout his twenty-four year career at Stony Brook University Peter consistently demonstrated an unyielding commitment to advocate for, serve and support all students, helping to empower them to pursue and reach their career goals and personal aspirations,” Stanley wrote. “Whether it was policy creation, staff development or creating and engendering a welcoming community, Peter’s vision and top priority always remained clear – care for our students and keep them safe.” Stanley credited Baigent for helping coordinate the university’s efforts to increase retention and graduation rates.
“He will be missed by all of us,” Gatteau said.
Funeral and memorial services details will be posted on the Student Affairs website as they become available.
Baigent’s cause of death has not yet been made public. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Correction: Oct. 2, 2017
In a previous version of this story, The Statesman stated that Baigent was 91 in a caption. He was 71 years old.