Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., MD
President, Stony Brook University
On July 1, 2009, Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, became the fifth president of Stony Brook University, taking the helm of one of the nation’s most prestigious research institutions. One of just 62 members of the invitation-only Association of American Universities, Stony Brook is recognized for its innovative programs, groundbreaking discoveries and integration of research with undergraduate education.
A Seattle native, Stanley has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biological sciences (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago. After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1980, he completed his resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He went to Washington University in St. Louis in 1989 for a fellowship in infectious diseases in the School of Medicine, eventually becoming a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology in recognition of the collaborative nature of his research. A highly distinguished biomedical researcher, Stanley was one of the nation’s highest recipients of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research focusing on enhanced defense against emerging infectious diseases. He is an expert in the biological mechanisms that cells employ when responding to infectious agents such as parasites, bacteria and viruses — a process commonly called the inflammatory response. In 2006, Stanley was appointed Vice Chancellor for Research at Washington University, serving in that position until he was appointed President of Stony Brook University. Since becoming President of Stony Brook University, Stanley has focused on obtaining the resources necessary to enable Stony Brook to attain the next level of excellence. He was a champion of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation, which will help Stony Brook hire more than 240 new faculty over the next five years. Making fundraising a priority, Stanley had the most successful year in Stony Brook University’s history, anchored by a remarkable gift from Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation, the sixth-largest gift to a public university ever recorded. Stanley has made philanthropic support of faculty a priority and has significantly increased the number of endowed professorships at the University. A champion for Long Island’s economic development, he serves on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, working to improve Long Island’s economy, with a special emphasis on supporting projects related to the smart grid, energy storage, renewable energy, information technology and biotechnology.
Stanley served on the SUNY Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which played a pivotal role in shaping the development of SUNY’s new Strategic Plan that will guide SUNY for the next five years and the University for the next ten. As vice-chair of Brookhaven Science Associates, which co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory with Battelle Memorial Institute, Stanley joins the leaders of a select group of prestigious academic institutions, including Princeton, Stanford, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, in co-managing and collaborating with a national laboratory. He also serves on the boards of the SUNY Research Foundation, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and NJ, and the Long Island Association. He is Chairman of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which advises the United States government on issues related to the communication, dissemination and performance of sensitive biological research. Stanley was a member of the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council at the NIH and a member of the NIH Director’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and as an ambassador for the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research and has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Science from Konkuk University in Korea.
Stanley is a champion of academic and industry collaborations, knowing the enormous economic potential of successful university and corporate partnerships. With his extensive experience as a researcher, a patent holder and a former leader of technology transfer, Stanley brings an invaluable perspective to the emerging field of translational research. He also continues to work as a strong advocate for federal funding of basic research, working through organizations such as the AAU and The Science Coalition to promote the critical role of University research in innovation and discovery.
Stanley is committed to helping Stony Brook’s economically disadvantaged students and has been a champion for Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which helps economically disadvantaged students graduate. He has traveled with students to Albany and Washington, DC, to advocate for increased state and federal funding of student financial aid. Stanley’s wife, Ellen Li, MD, PhD, is a distinguished biomedical researcher and gastroenterologist. In addition to her roles as a clinician and scientist, Li tutors EOP students in chemistry and has served as a mentor for many students interested in biomedical research. Stanley and Li have four children.