Upstate News

September 1, 2005
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., announces his intention to step down as president of SUNY Upstate in coming year

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In a brief letter addressed to the people of SUNY Upstate Medical University, Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., announced today his intent to step down from the presidency of SUNY Upstate about one year from now.

In the letter, Eastwood, SUNY Upstate’s longest-serving chief executive, noted that he will begin his 14th year as president in 2006 and that this was an appropriate time to leave the presidency to pursue other interests. Eastwood will remain on the faculty at SUNY Upstate. He said the exact date of the transition will be determined mostly by the arrival of his successor.

“I take great pride in all that has been accomplished by so many people during the time I have had the privilege of leading this university,” Eastwood wrote. “The future of Upstate is bright and promising and my heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you who had made it so.”

The Upstate Medical University Council, under Chair Robert E. Pietrafesa II, will establish a search committee soon to begin the process of identifying candidates to succeed Eastwood. The Council will be assisted by SUNY Systems Administration staff and will be charged with recommending his successor to Acting Chancellor John Ryan and the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Pietrafesa praised Eastwood for his leadership of the university as well as his contributions to the Central New York community during his presidency. “He has set a high bar for leadership in the world of academic medicine,” said Pietrafesa. “Greg Eastwood has served this university with the tireless pursuit of excellence. He has his signature on every aspect of the University’s success in research, education and healthcare.”

In 1993 Eastwood became the fifth president of SUNY Upstate since it joined the SUNY system in 1950. He has been an outspoken advocate for the university on all fronts, which has led to heightened awareness of the critically important public service missions that the state’s four SUNY academic medical centers play in their communities, the state and the world.

During his tenure, Eastwood has marshaled resources to renovate and improve the declining facilities and infrastructure of the university as well as expand with new construction. Among the highlights of his presidency are the openings of the first Gamma Knife Center outside of metropolitan New York City; the Institute for Human Performance; the soon-to-be dedicated Setnor Academic Building adjacent to Weiskotten Hall; and the Vertical Expansion of University Hospital that will include the CNY Children’s Hospital.

“As Dr. Eastwood steps down from his presidency, he leaves a legacy of enormous progress and a university that is poised for an even greater future,” said Ron Young, vice president for public and governmental affairs. “Upstate Medical University has thrived under his guiding hand.”

Under Eastwood’s tenure Upstate Medical University has more than doubled its operating budget from $325 million to $725 million today. Employment has increased from 4,700 to 6,300, making Upstate the largest employer in the area. Building and renovation projects have exceeded $200 million.

“Hence, not only has the name changed from Health Science Center at Syracuse to Upstate Medical University to bring about clarity of identity for the university as an educational, research, and healthcare enterprise, so has the image and reputation of the university been enhanced,” Young said. “Today, Upstate enjoys the benefits of collaborations with business and industry and universities on a local, national and international level. Greg Eastwood has brought prestige and much acclaim to the university and the Central New York community.”

Locally, Eastwood has lent his visionary leadership to various organizations and institutions. He currently serves as chair of the University Hill Corporation and on the boards of directors of the Metropolitan Development Association, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the CNY Hospital Executive Council, the Syracuse Community Health Center Foundation, the CNY Biotechnology Center, Syracuse 20/20 and Success By 6. He is also a member of the Onondaga County Medical Society.

Outside of Syracuse, Eastwood is a key figure in numerous medical organizations, serving as chair of the Biodefense Council; past chair of the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers; past president of the Friends of the National Institute for Nursing Research; past president of the Association of Medical Schools of New York; and past chair of the Upstate New York Coalition for Biomedical Research (UNYCoR). He is a member of several national associations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and the American Gastroenterological Association. He also serves on the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board 2 and the board of trustees of Case Western University.

Eastwood has received dozens of accolades and awards in recognition of his community service and leadership, including Citizen of the Year; Music Man of the Year; Crystal Ball Award for Marketing; the Charles D. Sherman Jr., MD, Award from the Student American Medical Association Section of the Medical Society of the State of New York; the Academy of Diversity Achievers Award from the Syracuse YWCA; the Arc Achievement Award from Arc of Onondaga; and special honoree recognition at the Syracuse Community Health Center Evening of Jazz.

Prior to becoming president of SUNY Upstate, Eastwood was dean of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga. He is a graduate of Albion College in Michigan and received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Boston University Medical Center. He also held faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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For a copy of Dr. Eastwood’s letter to the SUNY Upstate community go to: upstate.edu/president_letter

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