Norm Pusslin

And the Beat Goes On

Norm Prusslin ’73 keeps the music playing


By Shelley Catalano

Stony Brook’s impact on the music scene continues to reverberate today, thanks to another alum, Stony Brook staff and faculty member, Norm Prusslin ’73, who recently celebrated his 50th year of service to the campus community.

Janis Joplin Poster

One of the SBU concert posters on display in the museum.

Prusslin — who managed WUSB-FM radio from its inception in 1977 to 2006 and is currently its faculty advisor — co-founded the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) in 2003. LIMEHOF has celebrated the contributions of Long Island music icons such as Joan Jett and Dee Snider for the past 20 years through induction ceremonies, but didn’t have a permanent home until November 2022 when it opened its 8,800-square-foot museum in Stony Brook Village. The museum showcases memorabilia and provides programming featuring those influencers and many others — including the university, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 — and its most well-known rock offspring, Blue Öyster Cult, inducted in 2008.

How does a university find its way into a music hall of fame? According to Prusslin, by being the leading venue in the Northeast to feature some of the most legendary bands of the late ’60s and ’70s.

“When those early shows were being held here, the industry was very different. The campus was very different. Many shows were held in the gym (before there was an arena) because we didn’t have many division-level teams, so it was available much of the time. The Student Activities Board (SAB) could do two shows a week, even on short notice,” Prusslin said.

“The word about Stony Brook really rang far and wide. Now legendary bands played here for the first time. Jefferson Airplane’s first New York area concert was here at Stony Brook. The Grateful Dead’s first paid gig on the East Coast was here at Stony Brook. And, of course, Blue Öyster Cult got their start here. So there’s a lot of history,” he continued. “Plus SAB always had a wonderful mix of music. It just wasn’t rock music. They had folk musicians, blues musicians, gospel performers. They really were very proactive to bring bands here that were breaking and that were likely going to be very big.”

Prusslin recalled an experience in 1978 when folk star Joan Baez performed a great show. “I went to the show and I got there a little early and I noticed that Baez was wearing a jacket that said ‘Coney Island Girls.’ I grew up in that area, so I thought that was interesting,” he said. “The next day I’m driving on campus and in the distance I see a woman hitchhiking and she was wearing a ‘Coney Island Girls’ jacket. It was Joan Baez! I gave her a ride to where she was staying nearby at the Three Village Inn, so that was a wonderful experience.”  

But more than the performances, it was the students who made the biggest impact, Prusslin added. Because of the excellent productions, major artists wanted to keep coming back to play at SBU. “I might be biased because I’ve lived through so much of it and I’ve seen how the music industry has evolved, but Stony Brook clearly was a very important player in those years, especially in terms of being able to set the template as to how a college concert enterprise should work,” he said. “SAB always had the best sound. They had the best lighting and they put out the best programs.”

Those concert-producing experiences, he added, helped guide many Seawolves into successful jobs in the music industry. In addition to Mary Beth Medley, her friend James Moyssiadis ’70 became a famous lighting director (see our exclusive profile on our digital site). Another alum, Jason Hanley ’93, MA ’95, PhD ’11, is a vice president at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. What’s more, Prusslin is not the only SBU alum on the LIMEHOF board of directors: Ernie Canadeo ’77 is chair and Rob deBrauwere ’87 is third vice chair.

For more information about the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, please visit Its latest exhibit highlights the career of another musician with an SBU connection, the legendary Billy Joel, who earned an honorary doctorate from SBU in 2015. 

To learn about Prusslin’s Stony Brook history, read this SBU News story.

Memorabilia from Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Memorabilia from Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Memorabilia from Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Memorabilia from Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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