New Stony Brook University President Maurie McIinnis.

New Stony Brook University President Maurie McIinnis. Credit: Stony Brook Media Relations

Stony Brook University has named a new president, Maurie McInnis, a cultural historian who serves as executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin.

Her appointment was announced Thursday, following approval of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

McInnis, 54, has focused her work primarily on the history of slavery and abolitionist art. She has published extensively on American art history, and has served as curator for multiple museum exhibitions.

She holds a bachelor's degree with highest distinction in art history from University of Virginia and a master's degree and Ph.D., also in art history, from Yale University.

"I am so honored to have been selected," McInnis said.

"I know this comes at a really weird time — and it can be hard to focus on the future while we are thinking about the health of Stony Brook, Long Island, New York and the world," she said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

McInnis will start July 1. Her base salary will be $695,000, according to a resolution approved by SUNY trustees.

McInnis becomes the sixth president of Long Island’s largest university amid a global pandemic that has touched New York particularly hard with thousands of confirmed cases and rising fatalities.

As president, McInnis will oversee Stony Brook Medicine, including five health sciences schools, three hospitals, and 120 community-based health care settings.

She is expected to play a key role in economic development on Long Island.

Stony Brook also is a co-manager of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

McInnis will be the second woman to lead the 26,000-student public institution. Shirley Strum Kenny, an English scholar, served as Stony Brook president from 1994 to 2009.

McInnis succeeds former president Samuel L. Stanley, a biomedical researcher, who stepped down in May 2019 to become the president of Michigan State University.

“It is now as important as ever to support all our campuses with strong and proven leaders who can quickly navigate challenges, such as the impact of the Coronavirus, and keep our students on a path to the world-class higher education they expect,” said SUNY chairman Meryl Tisch.

“Dr. Maurie McInnis has demonstrated experience and the characteristics of such a leader, and we are entrusting her to lead and inspire the students and faculty of Stony Brook University for years to come,” Tisch said.

Kevin Law, president and chief executive of the Long Island Association and a Stony Brook alumnus who led the presidential search committee, said McInnis's experience in public research institutions will be of "tremendous value" to Stony Brook.

“I look forward to helping Maurie get acclimated on campus, on Long Island and in our state,” Law said.

James H. Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies and a former mathematics professor, said in a statement he had "every confidence that Maurie will uphold the University’s mission and lead the campus forward, strengthening its reputation as a world-class public university and research institution.”

Simons, a,major donor to the university, also was a member of the search committee. 

McInnis has spent four years at the University of Texas, where she serves as chief academic officer to 51,000 students and 3,000 teaching and research faculty across 18 colleges and schools.

She is responsible for strategic planning and the university’s academic division, which has a budget of $1.8 billion.

McInnis also oversees the university’s libraries and museums, archival collections, research centers and academic support units, and is involved in fundraising.

She is married to Dean Johnson, a former telecom executive. They have two children, Ian, a Princeton University student, and Fiona, a student at Suffield Academy in Connecticut. 

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