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Penn State’s Apparent Choice for President Resigns from SUNY

by and on November 08, 2013 7:00 AM

Update 12:20 p.m. This statement was just released by the public relations department at SUNY Upstate Medical University:

Dr. Gregory Eastwood has offered the following statement regarding Dr. David Smith’s intention to resign:

“Dr. David Smith has announced his intention to resign as president of SUNY Upstate Medical University.

As I move into my new position of officer-in-charge, I want to thank Dr. Smith for the many successes he helped secure during his time here. From the opening of the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital to the recent opening of the new Neuroscience Research Building and now the construction of the Upstate Cancer Center, he leaves a substantial legacy.

Upstate's mission goes beyond any one individual and together, as we declare in our mission statement, we will continue to improve the health of the communities we serve through education, biomedical research and health care. I thank you for your continued commitment to Upstate Medical University and support at this time.”

The president of the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University, who was reportedly set to become Penn State’s next president, resigned Thursday, according to published reports. This follows allegations of financial dishonesty.

Penn State was set to announce David R. Smith as its next president last Friday when trustees learned their choice may have been padding his state pay without authorization, according to a report in Capitol Confidential.

Smith was placed on leave Tuesday while SUNY investigated the report, which alleges that Smith received $349,295 in unauthorized benefits. The report alleges that Smith, and some members of his executive team, may have been receiving unauthorized payment from outside companies in addition to his $625,000 compensation from SUNY.

Capitol Confidential says the school released Smith’s statement of resignation Thursday:

“Over the past several weeks, I have been working with the leadership of SUNY as they conduct a review of all of sources of my compensation. As I recover from spinal surgery this week, I will continue to cooperate fully and do all that I can to bring the review to a swift conclusion. To avoid further distraction for the University from its important mission, I intend to submit my resignation as president of SUNY Upstate Medical Center, so that this great institution can move on to even greater success.”

President Rodney Erickson will retire by June 2014. A board of trustees committee has been searching for his replacement since last year. Penn State has remained quiet throughout the past week, repeatedly saying it will not confirm or deny that Smith was the university’s top pick for president.

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This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState.

Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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