Stony Brook Southampton

Stony Brook Southampton is a campus location of Stony Brook University, located in Southampton, New York between the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on the eastern end of Long Island.

Stony Brook Southampton
AffiliationStony Brook University
ChancellorCarla Caglioti
ProvostRobert Reeves
82 acres (330,000 m2)
ColorsRed, White


Southampton College, Long Island University

Southampton College in May 2006

Southampton College was founded in 1963 by Long Island University. It had its own station on the Long Island Rail Road until 1998 when the station was dismantled because it was lightly used.

From 1993, Robert F.X. Sillerman served as the Chancellor, replacing Angier Biddle Duke, ambassador to Spain under Lyndon Johnson. Sillerman took the job on two conditions: that the college scrap ill-defined liberal-arts programs and focus on marine science and creative writing, and that he lead publicity. He named Kermit the Frog as the 1996 commencement speaker: 31 newspapers picked up the story, a free marketing bonanza that raised the college's profile and drew hundreds of new admissions.

The refocusing on the marine science curriculum garnered the campus several accolades, including being named in 1998 as the Cousteau Society's sole North American Affiliate.[1] In the course of the campus's tenure under Long Island University, it produced 34 Fulbright scholars, most of which hailed from the Marine Science program.

After many years of fiscal mismanagement, the University announced a multimillion-dollar capital campaign, launched a new interdisciplinary CORE curriculum and the construction of a new library (almost completed) to re-vamp the campus. After one year of a 10-year plan however, Long Island University officials ceased all plans and Long Island University decided to effectively close the campus. This forced most students to either move to University's Nassau County location, C.W. Post Campus or transfer elsewhere.

Although protests and advocacy including a rally by the non-profit Save The College at Southampton and the student-led organization The Orphans of L.I.U. (Long Island University) made numerous headlines with their actions, Undergraduate Programs ceased and all but a few campus buildings were shuttered by the end of Summer 2005.

When Long Island University announced its plans to close the campus, in 2005 the Shinnecock Indian Nation filed a suit seeking return of 3,500 acres (14 km2) including both the campus and the golf club. There were local concerns that either the land would be taken over by the Shinnecocks for a casino, or that the land would be used for a housing development in the Hamptons.

The undergraduate Marine Biology department was moved to the control of Stony Brook University in summer 2005, and from the fall 2005 SUNY began offering an undergraduate marine sciences program, with teaching and research facilities at the campus leased from LIU.

Stony Brook Southampton

Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton

On March 24, 2006 the State University of New York (SUNY) announced a final agreement for the purchase of the 81-acre (330,000 m2) Southampton College property from Long Island University (LIU). SUNY paid US $35 million for the 84-acre (340,000 m2) campus and its waterfront facility for its famed Marine Biology department, as well as the NPR affiliated WLIU FM 88.3 radio station.[2] In the agreement to take over WLIU is to continue its LIU affiliation and move from its broadcasting studios in Chancellors Hall by April 2010 to another location on Hill Street in Southampton. The station has an agreement to have its broadcast tower on the campus through 2024.[3] The Mill Hill I windmill (1814) was moved here in 1890 from Mill Hill at Windmill Lane and Hill Street in Southampton. The Shinnecocks claim the land from Mill Hill to Shinnecock hills golf course as land ceded them by treaty.[4]

Southampton College Windmill cottage

In 1957 the playwright Tennessee Williams rented the 3-story mill cottage and while there wrote “The Day on Which a Man Dies”, a fictional play loosely based on his friend Jackson Pollock.[5] The play languished after completion in 1960 in the college archives and was sold by Williams in 1970 to the University of California, Los Angeles. A new version re-written by the playwright in 1972 was performed in 2001, the first performance of the original in 2009 was presented by the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center at the Ross School in East Hampton.

Under the new ownership of Stony Brook University starting with a class of 200 in August 2007, the campus featured an innovative curriculum devoted to issues of sustainability and the environment. Southampton’s interdisciplinary academic programs focused on issues of ecological sustainability, with undergraduate majors in Environmental Studies, Marine Sciences, Marine Vertebrate Biology, Ecosystems and Human Impact, Environmental Design, Policy and Planning and Sustainability Studies. A minor in Business Management with a focus on environmental sustainability was also offered through Stony Brook University's College of Business, and a five-year Fast Track BA/BS-MBA program is also offered in partnership with the College of Business.

800 students were registered for the fall 2010 semester. However, in April 2010, Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley announced his decision to shut down the branch, due to major state budget cuts and the need for better targeting of funds. The academic programs and students were relocated to the main campus. The undergraduate population staged letter campaigns to raise community awareness and protest the decision. Stanley came to the Southampton campus shortly after the decision to meet with the student body.

Six undergraduate students and a non-profit community group filed a lawsuit in NY State Supreme Court to block the closure of the college. The lawsuit was filed against Stony Brook and Stanley, claiming the decision to close the campus was procedurally illegal. On August 30, 2010, the court ruled that the university violated regulations and improperly closed the campus. The students won the lawsuit, but unable to contest financially due to the costs associated with instigating further litigation, agreed to a small settlement. They were permitted to complete their studies on-campus, but not live there. Stanley visited each student's home to personally apologize.

As of 2015, the Stony Brook Southampton campus has grown and even prospered. Programs have been added back and the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York approved a long-awaited partnership agreement between Southampton and Stony Brook University hospitals that will ultimately result in a new Southampton Hospital on the Shinnecock Hills campus, a move that likely will bring the most activity those grounds have ever seen.[6]

Arts Program

The Stony Brook Southampton Campus is currently home to the Graduate Arts Program which offers three graduate programs, undergraduate and graduate marine sciences, health technology and management programs. All of the programs at Southampton Arts are defined broadly, to foster exploration of artistic expression in fields outside traditional program borders, and to promote collaboration between disciplines in the creation of original work.[7]

Interdisciplinary study, small class size, and one-on-one advising form the foundation of the Southampton Arts experience, where close student-faculty relationships are a priority. Students are offered practice in teaching, publishing or arts administration to further their real-world knowledge in the industry, and also gain admission to the Southampton Summer Arts Conferences.[8] There are approximately 310 students currently enrolled.

Faculty includes Julie Sheehan (Creative Writing MFA Director), Christine Vachon (Film MFA Director), Robert Reeves (author), Roger Rosenblatt, Lou Ann Walker (author), Melissa Bank, Star Black (poet), Annette Handley Chandler, Billy Collins, Jules Feiffer, Neal Gabler, Emma Walton Hamilton, Ursula Hegi, Matthew Klam, Daniel Menaker, Susan Merrell (author), Marsha Norman

Manhattan Track

Students accepted into the program may earn an MFA degree by combining coursework at the Manhattan facility during fall and spring terms, and at the Southampton campus during summer by participating in the prestigious Southampton Writers Conferences and International Theatre Workshops. The Manhattan Track is for talented writers seeking advanced training in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, memoir, directing, playwriting, screenwriting, and acting.[9]

Southampton Writing Conference

Stony Brook Southampton also hosts the prestigious Summer Writing Conferences, which attracts renowned authors from around the world to teach and participate in Creative Writing Workshops, which take place in two sessions throughout July. Remaining hours are devoted to lectures, readings, performances workshops and panel discussions featuring faculty members and distinguished visiting authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Participants also enjoy a myriad of formal and informal social gatherings— author receptions, an open-mic night, breakfasts, lunches and dinners under the tents, and an issue launch of The Southampton Review.[10]

Semester by the Sea: Southampton Arts

Students at Stony Brook have the option to enroll in a 10-week intensive at the Southampton campus for 15 credits. The Semester by the Sea program is arranged around the objective to complete a creative project. The 15-credit load entails five courses, including two writing workshops, two literature courses, and a final project in filmmaking, theater, fiction or poetry. Workshops are limited to groups of 12. During final project, students get individualized attention, with a mentor/advisor to guide them.[11]

Young Artists and Writers Project

The Young Artists and Writers Project (or YAWP, formerly the Young American Writers Project) created by Stony Brook Southampton's MFA in Creative Writing and Literature Program, is dedicated to mentoring middle and high school students in the development of creative expression and critical thinking through writing. The YAWP curriculum sends professional writers and writing teachers into Long Island schools with a variety of innovative, inter-disciplinary writing workshops, including Playwriting, Screenwriting, Poetry, Personal Essay, Fiction, and Visual Arts. YAWP Programs are offered throughout the school year, and can be custom designed to fit the needs of an individual school. They can be offered in "push-in" format, as enrichment to Creative Writing, English, Theatre or other academic classes, as extra-curricular programs or in retreat format. YAWP programs can be particularly effective for at-risk students, or for those who find writing and communications skills challenging in the traditional academic environment.[12]

School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

The SUNY School of Marine and Atmospheric Science also operates on the Southampton campus. The primary focus of the SoMAS faculty and students is on fundamental research designed to increase understanding of the processes that characterize the coastal ocean and the atmosphere. The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences is also committed researching solutions to problems that result from society's interactions with the environment. The Southampton location allows access to a variety environments for research ranging from the open ocean to the waters of the largest metropolitan area in the United States, as well as the resources at the nearby National Weather Service, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.[13]


  1. "Cousteau Society To Name Southampton College its North American Affiliate in Ceremonies This Sunday in La Rochelle, France". Southampton College. 5 June 1998. Archived from the original on 24 February 1999.
  2. "Stony Brook University Completes Purchase of Former Southampton College Property". Stony Brook University. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  3. "LIU Triumphant - Dan's Papers - August 17, 2007". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved Apr 1, 2019.
  4. "Why Shinnecock Hills is One of America's Historic Golf Courses".
  5. Lipson, Karin (31 July 2009). "Warning Signs Before the Wreck". The New York Times.
  6. "After Nearly Closing In 2010, Stony Brook Southampton Has Grown And Prospered". 11 February 2015. Retrieved Apr 1, 2019.
  7. "About the Program". Stony Brook Southapton. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  8. "Academics". Stony Brook Southampton. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  9. "Manhattan Track". Stony Brook Southampton. Retrieved Apr 1, 2019.
  10. "2013 Southampton Writers Conference". Stony Brook Southampton. Archived from the original on 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
  11. "Semester by the Sea: Southampton Arts". Stony Brook Southampton. Archived from the original on 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
  12. "Young Artists and Writers Project". Stony Brook Southampton. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  13. "About Us". School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. 2015-08-09. Archived from the original on 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-10.

Further reading

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