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SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall To Receive President’s Award at SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s 2019 Commencement

Former State Comptroller, U.N. Ambassador, and Chair of the New York City Board of Education Honored for His Lifetime of Public Service

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall

BROOKLYN, NY - From the humblest of beginnings in Boston, where he graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School as class president, to the Chairmanship of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, H. Carl McCall’s life has been a tireless journey of public service. This journey included serving three terms as a New York State Senator, as New York State Comptroller, as an Ambassador to the United Nations, and as President of the New York City Board of Education.

The first African-American elected to statewide office in New York,SUNY Downstate will honor Chairman McCall with this year’s President’s Award at its 2019 Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21at 3:30 pm at Carnegie Hall. He was appointed to the SUNY Board in 2007 and has served as Chairman since 2011.  He recently announced his intention to retire as Board Chair, effective June 30, 2019.

The President’s Award honors individuals who are distinguished within their medical or scientific discipline, in academia, in scholarship, and in public life.  

“SUNY has always been a beacon of light in New York State,” SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said when he announced his retirement. “Manning this lighthouse has been my deepest honor.”

"Chairman McCall has been a staunch advocate for the people—all people—throughout his esteemed career in public service,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “We have been fortunate at SUNY to have his leadership, intellect, expertise and deep commitment for the students we serve while leading our Board of Trustees."

“I am humbled to present the President’s Award to Chairman McCall,” said SUNY Downstate president Wayne J. Riley, M.D. “He is a passionate advocate for SUNY, for us here at Downstate, and for public education. It is a passion he brought to his constituents as a State Senator, as an advocate for human rights, and for state employees when, as State Comptroller, he managed more than $120B in pension funds to secure their retirements. I am indebted to Chairman McCall for his friendship, counsel, and support as we train a new generation of physicians, nurses, and health professionals here at Downstate.”

Chairman McCall, who also served as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and as the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, holds a Bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College, a Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary, and studied at the University of Edinburgh. He is the recipient of ten honorary degrees.

In addition to his record of service listed above, Chairman McCall has been a teacher, a banker, served in the United States Army,and was Chairman of the Public Higher Education Conference Board. 

In the private sector, he has served as a Vice President of Citibank, as a Corporate Director of the New York Stock Exchange, Tyco International, New Plan Realty Corporation, Ariel Investment and, presently, Athene Holding.

Following his retirement, Chairman McCall will teach a course at the University of Albany and complete work on a memoir that explores his more than 50 years of public service.



About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 376-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to University Hospital, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Health-Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit