Upstate News

June 27, 2006
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Board of Trustees names David R. Smith, MD, President of SUNY Upstate

Albany, N.Y. – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today unanimously approved SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan’s nomination of David R. Smith, M.D., former chancellor of Texas Tech and former Texas Commissioner of Health, as president of Upstate Medical University.

“David Smith rose to national prominence through his leadership ability, experience in children’s medicine, public health policy, and as the chancellor of the Texas Tech University system. We are very pleased to have a one of the country’s foremost educators and health-care professionals lead Upstate Medical University,” said Board Chairman Thomas F. Egan. “The State University of New York continues to enjoy an excellent record of success in attracting top academic and administrative talent from all over the country.”

“My colleagues and I are very impressed by Dr. Smith’s tremendous record of success and pleased that the Upstate Medical University search committee and University Council have brought Dr. Smith to New York. I am confident that Dr. Smith will excel as the next president of Upstate Medical Center,” said Ryan.

“I am grateful for Chancellor Ryan’s nomination and the Board of Trustees’ approval of my appointment to this very important and distinguished position. I am looking forward to leading Upstate Medical Center toward future accomplishment and advancement,” said Smith. “Central New York is a wonderful place to live and work, and my wife and I have roots here. In fact, the opportunity to become actively involved in the Syracuse and Binghamton communities was an important part of our decision to come to SUNY.”

SUNY Upstate Medical Center educates more than 1,200 students in four colleges – Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions and Nursing – as well as more than 450 graduate physicians in residency and fellowship training programs. The Center’s clinical science faculty attend to 140,000 patients each year at University Hospital and thousands more in outpatient clinical facilities. In both the basic and the clinical sciences, there is participation in more than 400 funded research projects.

Upstate Medical University’s Binghamton clinical campus is a community-based branch campus for clinical medical education. It was developed to provide an innovative medical education program emphasizing the national and state initiatives to train greater numbers of generalist physicians with an emphasis on primary health care, as well as preventive medicine and health maintenance.

David R. Smith is an accomplished heath care professional and academic administrator with an impressive record of public service. From July, 2001 until February, 2006 he served as Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. As Chancellor, Dr. Smith developed a strategic plan with a student-based focus that included an accountability scorecard for the System. Under his leadership, the Texas Tech System launched, in 2004, an aggressive five-year $450 million academic and research initiative designed to garner and invest resources in three critical areas: people, technology and facilities.

Prior to serving as Chancellor, Dr. Smith served for more than five years as President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Dean of the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. During his tenure as President, more than $150 million was secured from fund raising to improve the academic and research enterprise of the Health Sciences Center, the faculty was expanded and federally funded research tripled. Before his service at Texas Tech University, Dr. Smith served for five years as the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health, an agency with a $7 billion annual operating budget. From 1989 to 1992, Smith served as the Senior Vice President of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and as the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care Program.

A native of Ohio, Dr. Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and chief residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1985.

Dr. Smith has served on numerous local and national boards throughout his career. In 1996, he was the recipient of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Nathan Davis Award, the organization’s highest award for outstanding public service. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes in White Plains, NY and, in January 2005, he began his tenure on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC).

Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., stepped down as president of Upstate Medical Center June 1, 2006. He is currently serving as interim president of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 414,000 students in 7,669 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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