Chancellor Zimpher Announces the Resignation of Downstate Medical Center President John F. Williams

December 8, 2015

Brooklyn – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced the resignation of Dr. John F. Williams, who has served as the president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center for more than three years.

Chancellor Zimpher said:

“Dr. Williams inherited a public university and teaching hospital in the throes of financial distress—the most severe in its history—and it is thanks in large part to his dedicated and exemplary leadership that SUNY Downstate has persevered in the years since.

“Skip has overseen a successful restructuring of SUNY Downstate’s clinical operations and research enterprise, implemented a Performance Improvement Plan for the campus, expanded its academic accreditations and strategic partnerships, managed the controversial transition of Long Island College Hospital, and much more. Throughout his service to SUNY, Skip has always advocated for and acted in the best interests of SUNY’s students, faculty, and staff as well as the Brooklyn community.

“While a national search for the next president gets underway, I want to thank Skip for agreeing to stay on as president until the end of the academic year, in order to assist SUNY and the campus with this transition in leadership.”

President Williams said:

“It has been personally fulfilling and my great privilege to lead SUNY Downstate Medical Center, a university that serves not only students, faculty, and staff but also a surrounding community that is among the most diverse in the world.

“My entire career has focused on ensuring that high value and high quality healthcare services are accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances, and I have had the opportunity to further this goal at SUNY Downstate in partnership with a committed team of gifted, tenacious individuals who came together and worked relentlessly toward rebuilding this fine institution of higher learning following a period of severe financial distress.

“I am profoundly grateful to Chancellor Zimpher and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to lead SUNY Downstate for the last three years, and I am confident that the reforms and progress we have collaborated to make will have a lasting, positive impact on its students, faculty, and staff for many years to come.”

About SUNY Downstate Medical Center
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator. SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school. For more information, visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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