Stony Brook University announced its sixth president on March 26 after a nearly year-long presidential search, according to a campus-wide email from State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Kristina Johnson.
Maurie McInnis, who is currently the executive vice president and provost at the University of Texas, was unanimously elected to the position by the SUNY Board of Trustees. She’ll officially assume the presidency on July 1.
“This is an exciting moment for Stony Brook, and I’m confident Dr. Maurie McInnis will take the university to even greater heights in its unique role in fostering innovation, creativity and research that impacts the state, country and the world,” Johnson said in a press release.
McInnis is the second woman to head Stony Brook since the university was founded in 1957. Before going into administration, she taught art history and American studies with a focus on the intersection of art and politics in early America.
In her current role at the University of Texas, McMinnis oversees more than 51,000 students and 3,000 faculty members across 18 colleges and schools. Comparatively, Stony Brook University currently has more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students across 16 colleges and schools, with more than 1,700 faculty members.
She’s served as provost at the University of Texas since 2016 and worked for nearly 20 years before that at the University of Virginia.
McInnis currently manages the University of Texas’s libraries, museums, archival collections, research centers and academic support units, according to a press release. She also spearheaded several diversity and inclusivity initiatives at the university, including establishing a Vice Provost for Diversity position.
Stony Brook University launched its own Diversity Plan in May 2016, after SUNY passed its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy in 2015. The university funneled at least $1.6 million dollars into the plan this year and hired a new chief diversity officer, Judith Brown Clarke, who started the position in February.
McInnis is assuming the presidency at an unprecedented time in Stony Brook University’s history — the university has gone remote for the rest of the semester. Right now, the future looks uncertain.
Johnson acknowledged Interim President Michael Bernstein’s role in navigating Stony Brook through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Interim President Michael Bernstein continues to lead the Stony Brook campus in extraordinarily uncertain times as the coronavirus evolves further,” she said. “I am grateful to him for his thoughtful leadership.”
Stony Brook University Hospital staff are expected to stay in university dorms, and Island Federal Arena may be used as a field hospital to increase capacity.
“Ordinarily, an announcement of a president is time for campus ceremony and I had certainly hoped to be with you on this day, meeting the entire Seawolf community,” McInnis said. “But of course that’s not our current reality. We’re all focused on responding to the current public health crisis, which is so difficult in New York.”
Clarification, 3/27/20 5:48 p.m.: An initial version of this article said that the university announced McInnis would be assuming the presidency “today;” that was changed to March 26, the date the announcement was sent.