Stony Brook University Provost Michael Bernstein was named interim president...

Stony Brook University Provost Michael Bernstein was named interim president Thursday. Credit: SBU Communications/John Griffin

State University of New York trustees appointed Provost Michael Bernstein as Stony Brook University's interim president Thursday as the search gets underway for a permanent replacement for outgoing President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

Bernstein will start in the interim post on or about Aug. 1, according to a notice posted on the university's website. SUNY trustees approved his appointment during a public session in Albany.

Bernstein, 64, who was named Stony Brook's provost in October 2016, has overseen numerous initiatives aimed at supporting the university’s missions in research, scholarship, art-making and teaching. He has put special emphasis on measures enhancing diversity and inclusion, according to the university.

"I am filled with enormous gratitude for the opportunity to serve Stony Brook University in this new role," Bernstein said a statement. "Our University is a spectacular place — and it flourishes today due to the impact of an exemplary decade of accomplishment, growth and excellence that is Sam Stanley's legacy."

Stanley, who has taken the president's post at Michigan State University, said Bernstein has made "extraordinary contributions to every aspect of the University" in his three years as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“His decisive and energetic leadership has been welcome and needed, and Stony Brook University is fortunate to have his steady hand at the helm going forward," Stanley said in a statement.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson has said she will work with the trustees board to assemble a committee to conduct a national search for a permanent leader at Stony Brook, which has a student body of more than 26,000 and faculty of about 2,700.

Last month, Stanley announced he would become Michigan State's president on Aug. 1. Stanley, 65, will take charge of a 50,000-student university that has operated with acting or interim presidents since January 2018, when Lou Anna Simon resigned in the fallout of the sex-abuse scandal over former campus doctor Larry Nassar’s molestation of female gymnasts and other athletes.

Bernstein came to Stony Brook from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he served as the John Christie Barr professor of history and economics and provost and chief academic officer from 2007 through 2016.

His teaching and research interests focus on the economic and political history of the United States, macroeconomic theory, industrial organization economics, and the history of economic theory.

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