Excellence fund in biology to assist student research

Halliday with studentsA Syracuse plastic surgeon has pledged $50,000 for an excellence fund for SUNY Oswego biology students. Dr. Douglas Halliday, a 1972 graduate of Oswego, aims to inspire students to go on to careers in science and medicine. 

His gift will offer grants to undergraduates to help them conduct scientific research. “I remember when we were students, scrambling for the money for supplies to carry on our work, even if it was $10 or $20 for test tubes,” he said.

Halliday was a pre-med student at Oswego and graduated with honors, going on to earn both his M.D. and Ph.D. doctoral degrees from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He is board certified in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery.

“I have a real warm feeling toward Oswego,” he said. “My closest friends now were students here then.” He still keeps in touch with emeritus faculty members like Augustine Silveira Jr. of chemistry and Jim Howard, former wrestling coach.

“I feel that Oswego really prepared me in so many ways to go on to medical school,” he said. “When I finished, I said if I ever could give back, I would. Now, I’m in a financial position to be more generous.”

Halliday gives back to Oswego in other ways as well. Last semester he was a guest speaker in the Science Today lecture series.

His generosity extends to more than his alma mater. With his colleagues in the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, he took part in a program to provide pro bono plastic surgery to disfigured children in Third World countries.

The group has also helped victims of domestic violence with free networking and surgeries. “A lot of people can’t get over the psychological trauma until the physical injuries are taken care of,” he told the Syracuse Herald-Journal in 1996.

For Halliday, it’s all bound up with being a doctor, part of the Hippocratic oath. With the new excellence fund at Oswego, he said he hopes to pass on this spirit to a new generation. “I hope they will come back someday and rekindle the whole thing themselves,” he said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Doctors, present and future—Dr. Douglas Halliday, a SUNY Oswego alumnus, talks with pre-med students at SUNY Oswego. Counterclockwise, they are senior Katherine Cook, juniors Nicole Wicksell and Erin Johnson and senior Vera Thompson. The plastic surgeon’s recent gift to the college will support undergraduate research in biology.

(Posted: Jan 25, 2006)