SUNY Upstate Medical University Portrait Collection

This virtual exhibitions provides a look at the fine art portraits found in the SUNY Upstate Portrait Collection. The portraits are featured on the timeline according to the date the work was painted. Biographical information for the subjects is provided along with the name of the artist. The University’s Portrait Collection features individuals of prominence in the history of Upstate dating back to the days of the Syracuse University College of Medicine. The subjects of these portraits include administrators, faculty, and alumni whose lives serve as an inspiration to the Upstate Community. The portraits are indicative of the culture of the University over time and serve as vignettes of the University’s priorities throughout its history. ;xNLx;

William Tomlinson Plant M.D. (1837 - 1899)

William Tomlinson Plant M.D. graduated from the Medical College of the University of Michigan in 1860. He was commissioned as an assistant naval surgeon by President Lincoln during the Civil War; after the war he moved to Syracuse where he worked at a private practice. When the Syracuse University College of Medicine was established in 1872, Dr. Plant was made professor of Medical Jurisprudence. He subsequently became professor of Clinical Medicine and professor of Pediatrics. He was chairman of the Department of Pediatrics until he retired. He wrote frequently, especially in the realm of diseases of children. In addition to his private practice, teaching, and administrative duties he also served as registrar for the College of Medicine for many years.

David G. Murray (1930 - )

David G. Murray M.D. F.A.C.S. received his medical degree from The School of Medicine of Washington University in St. Louise in 1955. Dr. Murray served with the US Navy from 1956-1958 before completing a residency in general surgery at SUNY Upstate. He did a residency in orthopedic surgery at the State University of Iowa and joined the faculty of SUNY Upstate as assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery in 1962, a position he held until 1986 and again from 1990 to 2000. In 1966, Dr. Murray became the founding chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Murray was a pioneer in total hip and knee replacement surgery and he chaired the NIH Consensus Development Conference on Total Hip Replacement in 1994. Dr. Murray designed, developed, and patented the variable-axis knee prosthesis, which for many years was referred to as the “Syracuse knee.” He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Academic Surgery in 1979 and the Distinguished Service Professor award from Upstate in 1989. He was made the 77th President of the American College of Surgeons in 1996. In 2000, he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He retired from Upstate that same year.

Robert B. King M.D. (1922 - 2008)

Robert B. King M.D. graduated cum laude from the Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1946. He completed his graduate medical education in Surgery and Neurosurgery at Washington University, after which he completed a fellowship in Neurology and Neuropathology at the National Hospital, Queens Square in London. Dr. King was awarded the Neurosurgeon of the Year Award from the American Academy of Neurological Surgery in 1979. He was at various times chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and chairman of the American Board of Medical Specialties. While leading the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in 1981, he founded the Neurosurgical Research and Education Foundation. He came to SUNY Upstate in 1957 as director of the Neurological Program and he served as chairman of Neurosurgery from 1966-1987. Dr. King was made medical director of University Hospital and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education in 1989. The Robert B. and Molly G. King Endowed Professorship in Neurosurgery is presented by SUNY Upstate to honor his contributions.

Carlyle F. Jacobsen Ph.D. (1902 - 1974)

Carlyle F. Jacobsen Ph.D. completed his doctorate in Psychology, with minors in Neurology and Physiology, from the University of Minnesota in 1928. His work with the frontal lobe in chimpanzees was pivotal to the field and would be crucial to other scientists interested in frontal lobe functions in humans. Dr. Jacobsen was awarded the Howard Crosby Warren Medal for distinguished service in Experimental Psychology and was a joint recipient of the Bronze Medal from the American Medical Association in 1938. Dr. Jacobsen taught at Yale, Cornell, and Washington University School of Medicine, where he began his work as an administrator. In 1950, Dr. Jacobsen became executive dean for Medical Education for the new SUNY system. He was directly responsible for development of both the Upstate and Downstate campuses. He served as the first president of both schools and was also the dean of the Upstate College of Medicine at this time. Dr. Jacobsen was responsible for Upstate in its infancy and shepherded milestone projects like the construction of University Hospital, establishment of the School of Nursing, and the naming of Elizabeth Blackwell Street. Dr. Jacobsen retired in 1967, but continued to be influential to medicine in Central New York, serving as the executive secretary of the Hospital Review and Planning Council Inc.

Frederick Hyde M.D. (1809 - 1887)

Frederick Hyde M.D. received his medical degree in 1836; he then established a modest practice out of Cortlandville, NY. He was often called to consult on cases and to perform surgeries around Tompkins and Cortland Counties. Dr. Hyde’s notoriety grew when he was party to one of the first mal-practice suits on record in New York State. As his reputation spread, he was offered the position of chair of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women from the Medical Department of Hobart College (the name adopted by Geneva College in 1851). He was appointed professor of surgery in 1852. Dr. Hyde, along with Dean John Towler M.D., approached Syracuse University to negotiate the purchase of the medical school in 1871. Dr. Hyde was then hired by the new Syracuse University College of Medicine as professor of Surgery and the rest of the faculty elected him the first dean of the new college, a position he held until his death in 1887.

Frederick B. Parker Jr. M.D. (1936)

Frederick B. Parker M.D. completed his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He joined the faculty at SUNY Upstate in 1971 and was named chair of the Department of Surgery in 1990. Dr. Parker retired as chair of the Department of Surgery in 2001. He was a member of the board of the Upstate Foundation for fourteen years, where he took leadership roles on the capital campaigns for Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Upstate Cancer Center. In 2015, he was given the President’s Award for Philanthropic Service, Individual and the Frederick B. Parker Jr. M.D. Endowed Lecture in Cardiothoracic Surgery has been established in his honor. A classroom in the Setnor Academic Building was also named for Dr. Parker.

Margaret L. Williams M.D. (1923 - 1985)

Margaret L. Williams M.D. graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. Dr. Williams was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania from 1954-1970 when she and her husband Dr. William J. Williams moved to Syracuse. Dr. Williams joined the Upstate faculty in 1970 and was named professor of Pediatrics in 1975. She was the medical director of the neonatal intensive care nursery at Crouse-Irving Memorial Hospital until she co-founded the Upstate Regional Perinatal Center. She was founder and director of the Margaret Williams Developmental Evaluation Center in Syracuse and was the recipient of the Post Standard Woman of Achievement in Medicine award in 1975. She was honored by the Onondaga County Medical Society, the March of Dimes, and was cited as a woman of distinction in medicine by New York State Governor Mario Cuomo.

William J. Williams M.D. (1925)

William J. Williams M.D. served in the Navy during World War II and was assigned to the hematology lab at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia. It was here that he developed an understanding for the relationship between the laboratory and clinical applications and an appreciation for the microscope; a career in academic medicine was born. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1949 and remained there until 1969, serving as the chief of the Hematology section and professor of medicine. In the 1960s he began as editor-in-chief of William’s Hematology which is one of the definitive English-language textbooks on hematology. Dr. Williams came to SUNY Upstate in 1969 as Edward C. Reifenstein Professor of Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine. He served in this capacity until 1992, when he stepped down as chair, but retained his professorship. Dr. Williams served as dean of the College of Medicine from 2002-2004, and was named a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in 2002.

Wilfred W. Westerfeld Ph.D. & Sc.D. (1913 - 2010)

Wilfred W. Westerfeld Ph.D. received his doctorate in biochemistry from St. Louis University in 1938 and was a National Research Fellow at Oxford University and Columbia University. He served as an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School before joining the Department of Biochemistry at Syracuse University College of Medicine in 1945 as professor and chairman. He was appointed acting dean for the College of Medicine from 1956-1957 and was made dean of the College of Graduate Studies in 1956. Dr. Westerfeld also served as acting president in 1967 until he resigned from that position in 1968. Dr. Westerfeld lead a coalition of U.S. medical educators to the University of Saigon in South Vietnam to advance medical education in that country. Dr. Westerfeld retired from SUNY Upstate in 1979.

Joseph P. Whelan M.D. (1933 - 2013)

Joseph P. Whalen M.D. received his medical degree from SUNY Upstate in 1959; he also completed his internship in internal medicine and his residency in radiology with Upstate. He served on the faculty at Upstate from 1963-1967, but left to take a position with Cornell University Medical College. He was appointed professor and chairman of their Department of Radiology in 1976. The 1970s brought big changes to the field of radiology and Dr. Whalen was a pioneer in the interpretation of anatomical relationships and disease using ultra-sound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Under his leadership, graduate medical opportunities in radiology at Cornell were some of the most sought after in the country. He authored over 200 peer reviewed articles and four textbooks over the course of his career. Dr. Whalen returned to Upstate in 1992 as the dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for Medical and Biomedical Education, a position he held until 1995. A sought after educator, Dr. Whalen held numerous visiting professorships at institutions like The Medical School of the University of Dublin and The Postgraduate School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland; The New York Academy of Medicine; The American College of Radiology; and the Royal Society of Medicine.

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