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Stony Brook University

SBU: History and Timeline

Information and Resources about the History of Stony Brook University.

Timeline: 1965-1969

John Toll becomes the second President of the University, which is now called SUNY Stony Brook.

Alumni Association is established as a not-for-profit corporation.  It is chartered to engage all Stony Brook alumni, students, and other constituencies to foster a lifelong intellectual and emotional connection between the University and its graduates, and to provide the University with goodwill and support.

The Stony Brook Foundation is established as a not-for-profit corporation under New York State Education Law. It is chartered to collect and manage gifts from private and other non-state resources to supplement state funding of SUNY Stony Brook. 

Students choose ‘Patriots’ as the new name for SUNY Stony Brook’s athletic teams.

C.N. Yang, Nobel laureate, joins the SUNY Stony Brook faculty. He is appointed ‘Einstein Professor of Physics,’ one of only ten Einstein Professors in New York State. 

SUNY Stony Brook is selected to be the site of the New York State Marine Sciences Research Center.

September: The 1st Vice President of the Health Sciences, Edmund Pellegrino, is charged with establishing a medical center at Stony Brook University that includes a tertiary care hospital.

On October 27, Governor Nelson Rockefeller attends ground breaking ceremonies for three new buildings: Graduate Engineering, the Computing Center, and the Earth and Space Sciences building. 

The 1st Professor of Medicine appointed to Health Sciences is Dr. Alfred Knudsen.

Construction is begun on a bridge that is to connect the Student Union, Library, and what will later be the Fine Arts Center.

SUNY Stony Brook’s Center for Continuing Education conducts its first classes. 

G building, the first dormitory, is renamed in honor of Washington Irving and Eugene O’Neill.

On December 7, students hold a demonstration in protest against the Army’s Selective Services. 

Buildings on West Campus are filled to capacity. University President John Toll pushes for construction of new structures to hold burgeoning student population.

West Campus doubles in size, adding dormitory space for 3,000 students and nearly three million square feet of non-residential space to campus.

On January 17, the Suffolk County Police Department carries out ‘Operation Stony Brook’ at 5 a.m. 198 police officers arrive on campus for a ‘drug bust’ that results in the arrest of 35 young adults, 24 of whom are SUNY Stony Brook students.

Classes begin in September with 6000 students and 572 faculty members. 

Dr. Pellegrino becomes Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Vice President for the Health Sciences, and recruits heads for the four other schools: Ellen Fahy, Nursing; Edmund McTernan, Allied Health Professions; Sanford Kravitz, Social Welfare; J. Howard Oaks, School of Dentistry. He also recruits Emil Frey, director of HSC Library.

Drs. Pellegrino and Knudsen create an "ideal" institution on paper to include five schools: Medical (now known as School of Medicine), Nursing, Dental Medicine, Social Work, and Allied Health Professions (now known as the School of Health Technology and Management); they commit to open the schools by September 1970.

Pellegrino proposes temporary buildings be constructed to hold classes and administrative offices. He also proposes to have students do clinical work at hospitals throughout Long Island, such as Long Island Jewish in New Hyde Park, Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow, VA Medical Center in Northport and Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.

The Departments of Biochemistry, Pathology, Psychiatry, Family Medicine, Microbiology, Surgery, Medicine and Pharmacology are established from 1968-74.

On January 15, Professor H. Bentley Glass, noted geneticist, becomes President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science while in the second of his three years as President of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. This is believed to be the only time one person has simultaneously held these two prestigious positions.

The Eighth International Congress of Crystallography convenes at SUNY Stony Brook. Among the major papers is a full analysis of the structure of insulin and a scientific analysis of the first moon rocks. 

Dr. Jan Kott is appointed to the faculty of the English and Comparative Literature Departments. Dr. Kott authored more than 300 books and articles and is credited with revitalizing the production of modern theater in his native Poland.

On March 19, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organizes a Library sit-in for students’ rights. Hundreds of students participate; twenty-one are arrested after refusing repeated requests by President Toll to leave the building. 

On May 15, the University gatehouse is burned and a security car overturned as student unrest continues.

In anticipation of future developments, Peter Rogatz is named director of University Hospital.

Timeline: 1965-1969