Press Releases

May 18, 2003
$60 Million Investment, New Provost and New Curriculum Mark Implementation of a Bold Strategic Plan for Southampton College of Long Island University

Putting dollars, talent and intellectual energy to work to create a college of national academic prominence

Darren Johnson
(631) 287 8313
Fax: (631) 283 4081

Southampton, NY - In an initiative that will prove highly beneficial to Southampton College of Long Island University, the University's Board of Trustees today announced the implementation of a strategic plan that includes the commitment of $60 million for capital improvements, the naming of a new provost and the introduction of a new core curriculum. "There is a solid foundation upon which to build this renaissance at Southampton," declared Dr. David Steinberg, president of Long Island University. "The College, which has produced 37 Fulbright Scholars in just 28 years, is already known for its renowned programs in the marine and environmental sciences and English and writing. With this new plan in place, we have the synergy of financial support, talent and intellectual spirit to propel Southampton to a new level that will enhance our students? experience."

Long Island University and Southampton College officials broke ground on the College's new Bishop-Burke Library Learning Center on Sunday, May 18, at a special pre-commencement ceremony. The $10 million, 29,600-square-foot building will be part of a bold $60 million investment plan for Southampton College that is driving an ongoing academic and physical renaissance on campus, which was announced at the ceremony. Pictured (l-r): Southampton College Acting Dean Charles Hitchcock, Long Island University Chair of the Board of Trustees Roger Tilles, Southampton College Head Reference Librarian William Roberson, Provost Daniel Rodas, Kay Burke, Children's School Director Kathy Bishop and her husband Congressman Tim Bishop, Chancellor Robert F.X. Sillerman and his wife Laura Baudo Sillerman and Long Island University President David Steinberg.


$60 Million in Capital Improvements
Long Island University's trustees have approved a $60 million investment that will fund improvements to the physical plant over the next five years, launching the most ambitious fundraising effort in the College's history, and the largest philanthropic initiative ever undertaken on Long Island's East End.

Southampton College Chancellor Robert F.X. Sillerman and his wife, Laura Baudo Sillerman, have pledged $20 million through their Tomorrow Foundation to ensure the success of this venture, over $15 million of additional pledges have already been made. "The Sillermans' leadership and unprecedented contribution will serve as a catalyst to provide funding for Southampton College's strategic plan for transformation," stated Roger Tilles, chair of Long Island University's Board of Trustees.

Monies raised will make possible the construction of a series of new buildings, the first being the Library/Learning Center, for which ground will be broken during this year's commencement festivities. The $10 million, 29,600-square-foot building will be an "environmentally friendly" facility that will feature a geothermal energy system. The library's capacity will double, and high-tech resources will be added, including wireless connectivity and multimedia capabilities, changing the facility from a warehouse of information into a destination for learning.

Other capital projects include the construction of a new $13 million, 65,000-square-foot recreation center that will serve Southampton College students and members of the surrounding community; a $12.5 million renovation of Wood Hall, the student union; and the construction of the first of four buildings in a new $9.5 million dormitory complex. Each dorm will be approximately 45,000 square feet and will house 300 students in suites.

A new $3.5 million structure at the Marine Station will include at least seven laboratories and will house two classrooms, office space and a 1,000-square-foot marine mammal holding facility. Once the new Library/Learning Center is completed, the old library building will be renovated for use as an education center to accommodate the writing program at a cost of $3 million. In addition, construction of the Center for Environmental Conservation, in conjunction with a $5 million solar aquatic waste treatment plant, is slated; the facility will use sustainable and "green" technology. A total of $5.5 million in upgrades to extant infrastructure such as roadways and utilities also will be executed. "These capital improvements will enrich the students" experience at Southampton College, while providing accessible resources for high school students and residents in the surrounding communities," explained Dr. Steinberg. "It is all part of the renaissance now being created at the new Southampton College."

Leadership for a New Era
The College has named a new provost, Dr. Daniel J. Rodas. A former assistant vice president for administration at Duke University, Dr. Rodas earned degrees from Williams College, Harvard University and Stanford University. He offers a diverse background in higher education, which includes experience in policy development, financial and business affairs, and the management of administrative staff. "Dr. Rodas is ideally suited to shepherd the College through this transformation," said Dr. Steinberg. "He possesses the strong leadership qualities that will be needed to create a new Southampton College for the 21st century."

Dr. Rodas, who officially joined the College on May 1, will work with faculty leaders to oversee the changes that will take place. "I am excited about the challenges of this new role. Southampton College already has had great success because of its outstanding academic programs, its unique location and the highly personalized attention it has long offered its students. We will join together to continue this tradition of excellence, while striving to strengthen the College's financial base, its physical facilities and its ties to the larger East End community."

New Core Curriculum to Promote Academic Excellence
Over the past year, University administrators and trustees have partnered with Southampton College administrators, faculty members and students in a highly successful collaborative effort to create a new vision for the College. This plan will support Southampton College's mission to create an environmentally sustainable and humane world through critical thinking, creativity and global citizenship. Sweeping academic changes are expected to be approved over the summer. The new core curriculum will emphasize academic excellence and interdisciplinary and experience-based learning that will take full advantage of Long Island's marine, environmental, literary and artistic wealth. Revisions and restructuring of upper division majors also are part of the plan. "It is very rare in higher education that a college has the opportunity to redefine itself," said Mr. Sillerman. "We are at a unique juncture today. The imminent transformation of this College is upon us. It will create a student-centered, rich learning environment that will set the standard for liberal arts colleges nationally."