William J. Williams, MD

William J. Williams, MDOn the faculty since 1969, Bill Williams, MD, is known as the man with the bow tie and the gentle smile, as well as for his leadership at pivotal times during his tenure.

Dr. Williams was chairman of the Department of Medicine for 22 years. He served as interim dean of the College of Medicine from 1991 to 1992 and as dean from 2002 to 2004. In 2002, he was named a Distinguished Service Professor by the State University of New York.

"Dr. Williams has been a leader in every phase of internal medicine over the course of his career," says David Duggan, MD '79, a former student and current chair of the Department of Medicine. "He is an outstanding physician, an excellent teacher who demands that his students think clearly and express themselves well, and a noted scholar who has authored one of the most successful textbooks in the history of all medicine."

William J. Williams, MDIndeed, Williams, a specialist in hematology with a lifelong interest in research, is perhaps best known by those outside Upstate for editing what has served as the standard textbook in hematology at North American Medical schools for the last three decades. First published as Hematology in 1972, it was renamed Williams' Manual of Hematology in his honor with the 2003 edition.

At Upstate, Williams is known for providing a sound foundation in basic science, as well as for teaching the "intangibles."

"Just because someone knows how physically to take care of a patient doesn't mean they will automatically have a good doctor-patient relationship," he says. "Some of this is instinctual, but it also must be taught and explained to students—we can't just expect they will pick it up by observing."

That caring spirit is more than evident. "Dr. Williams is genuinely proud of his students and trainees with a fatherly pride that I have not seen the likes of in all of medicine or science," says Lori J. Mosca, MD '84, HS '87. "I could not believe how much he knew about each one of us on his team. He happened to be in Hawaii when the Ironman competition was going on, remembered that I was a triathlete, and brought me back a T-shirt. Who would ever think that the chairman of a department would do something like that?"