Collection Facts

Extent: 
34 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1950 - present
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a State University of New York (SUNY) flagship, opened in 1957 as a college for the preparation of secondary school teachers of mathematics and science. The first, temporary campus was located in Oyster Bay on the grounds of Planting Fields, a Gold Coast estate. The State University College of Long Island at Oyster Bay opened on September 16, 1957 with 144 first-year students and 14 faculty members.

The preparation of the Stony Brook campus began in 1959, when the SUNY embarked on a $150 million building program on acreage of woodlands in Stony Brook donated by Ward Melville. The construction coincided with issuance of the 1960 Heald Report, a study of New York State's higher education programs commissioned by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. This report recommended that a major new university center be established on Long Island. On April 8, 1960, Governor Rockefeller, Ward Melville, and Frank C. Moore, Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, participated in the formal groundbreaking ceremony in Stony Brook. The new campus was designated a university center on June 6, 1960 and subsequently renamed the State University of New York, Long Island Center. Just a few years later, the mission of the university expanded, and the Stony Brook campus opened on September 16, 1962 with 780 students enrolled in its programs.

In the past six decades, the university has grown tremendously and is now recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship. The combined efforts of its dedicated students, faculty, and staff have led to the fulfillment of the mandate given by the State Board of Regents in 1960 to become a university that would “stand with the finest in the country.”

Scope of Collection

The Stony Brook University Archives Digital Collection consists of primary source materials from the University Archives that documents the history of Stony Brook University.