James Walsh to speak at Upstate Medical commencment

Former U.S. Rep. James Walsh to receive honorary degree at Upstate Medical University Commencement

Former U.S. Rep. James Walsh, who last year retired from a 20-year career in Congress, will address graduates and receive a Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree from the State University of New York at the 2010 Upstate Medical University Commencement May 22. Walsh also will address graduates.

Walsh, who represented New York's 25th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 2009, currently is a government affairs counselor for K & L Gates LLP law firm in Washington D.C.

"We are proud to award this degree to Mr. Walsh," said David R. Smith, M.D., president of Upstate Medical University. "Jim Walsh became one of the greatest supporters of academic science. While the majority of research funding at Upstate comes by way of peer-reviewed grants from such agencies as the National Institutes of Health, private foundations and the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Walsh has quietly, systematically and effectively helped the Upstate campus and its scientists through the Congressional appropriations process. In the past seven years, Mr. Walsh has provided cutting-edge equipment and capital construction funds that have helped Upstate scientists to take their work to a new level."

During his two decades in the House of Representatives, Walsh served on numerous committees, including the House Appropriations Committee and was the ranking member on the committee's subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services.

Among Walsh's most significant contributions to the scientific community at Upstate and to Central New York are:

The appropriation of more than $68 million in federal research funding for the creation of New York State's Center of Excellence initiative in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook.

A $1 million allocation for the purchase and outfitting of an X-ray diffraction laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, giving the Upstate New York region one of the finest facilities in the country and propelling the Upstate/SUNY ESF and Syracuse University Structural Biology degree program from idea to reality.

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