News from Upstate

April 5, 2010
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Former Syracuse-area congressman to receive honorary degree, address graduates at Upstate

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Former U.S. Rep. James Walsh, who last year retired from a 20-year career in Congress, will address graduates and receive a Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree from the State University of New York at the 2010 Upstate Medical University Commencement May 22.

Walsh, who represented New York’s 25th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 2009, currently is a government affairs counselor for K & L Gates LLP law firm in Washington D.C.

“We are proud to award this degree to Mr. Walsh,” said David R. Smith, M.D., president of Upstate Medical University. “Jim Walsh became one of the greatest supporters of academic science. While the majority of research funding at Upstate comes by way of peer-reviewed grants from such agencies as the National Institutes of Health, private foundations and the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Walsh has quietly, systematically and effectively helped the Upstate campus and its scientists through the Congressional appropriations process. In the past seven years, Mr. Walsh has provided cutting-edge equipment and capital construction funds that have helped Upstate scientists to take their work to a new level.”

During his two decades in the House of Representatives, Walsh served on numerous committees, including the House Appropriations Committee and was the ranking member on the committee’s subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services.

Among Walsh’s most significant contributions to the scientific community at Upstate and to Central New York are:

• The appropriation of more than $68 million in federal research funding for the creation of New York State’s Center of Excellence initiative in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook.

• A $1 million allocation for the purchase and outfitting of an X-ray diffraction laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, giving the Upstate New York region one of the finest facilities in the country and propelling the Upstate/SUNY ESF and Syracuse University Structural Biology degree program from idea to reality.

• More than $1 million has been directed to Upstate’s Department of Emergency Medicine to establish a Center for Emergency Preparedness. Much of the center’s attention has been focused on the innovative alternate Emergency Department being created at the New York State Fairgrounds, but this allocation also gave the Upstate team the opportunity to expand on their traditional EMS and first-responder training activities in a new facility on campus.

• A grant that allowed the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology to define the structure and expertise for a Developmental Exposure to Alcohol Research Program. This year that department has seen new and renewed grants totaling nearly $3 million come into the department.

Other projects that have gained from the appropriations process are the Institute for Cardiovascular Research, the Gait Laboratory at the Institute for Human Performance and the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center.


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