Home Introduction Szasz Materials Debates Links/Related Items


From the program at Upstate Medical University graduation ceremonies, May 20, 2001

[see also Diploma, Citation, Recipient's Remarks]


ROBERT L. KING was appointed Chancellor of the State University of New York in December 1999 following a unanimous vote by the University's Board of Trustees. With a strong fiscal and service background, Chancellor King has launched a five-year campaign to attract $5 billion in new resources for the University system, which is comprised of 64 campuses. Unveiled during his first State of the University Address, Chancellor King's plan targets investment in four major areas: $1.5 billion in sponsored research, $1 billion through private fundraising, a $2 billion capital construction campaign, and $500 million via increased campus-generated revenue. Chancellor King advocates these proposals as a means of moving SUNY into the front ranks of American higher education.

Prior to his University appointment, Chancellor King served as the state's budge director. Mr. King was responsible for development of the Governor's Executive Budget proposal and was the administration's primary advisor on management of New York State revenues. Before this appointment, Mr. King was director of the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform, where he designed state policies that promoted private-sector job growth in New York.

A native of Rochester, NY, Chancellor King holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He spent much of his law career as a prosecutor in both California and New York, serving with the Monroe County District Attorney's office. While there, he was lead attorney for the Organized Crime Strike Force, a U.S. Justice Department effort that put local mob leaders in prison. From 1987 through 1991, Chancellor King served as a New York State Assemblyman from the Rochester area. He also served as the Monroe County Executive prior to joining the Pataki Administration.

Chancellor King sits on the boards of the Center for Governmental Research and the Center of Integrated Manufacturing Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology and has also served on the board of the Monroe County Community College Foundation.


THOMAS S. SZASZ, M.D., is an internationally famous psychiatrist, author of 25 books, and libertarian philosopher of medicine. Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1920, he immigrated to the United States in 1938 and received his A.B. with honors in physics in 1941 and his M.D. in 1944, both from the University of Cincinnati. He trained in medicine at Boston City and Cincinnati General Hospitals, in psychiatry at the University of Chicago, and in psychoanalysis at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. From 1954 to 1956 Dr. Szasz served in the U.S. Naval Reserve. From 1956 until he retired in 1990, he was a member of the Department of Psychiatry at the SUNY Upstate Medical Center, as it was then known, and maintained a small psychiatric practice.

In 1961, Dr. Szasz's revolutionary book, The Myth of Mental Illness, claimed that "mental illness" does not exist because the medical criterion for illness is physical injury and the mind (not equitable with the brain) is not material. He claims that some people may be just plain "nutty" or even "mad," but that does not mean that they are diseased. Dr. Szasz argues that what is termed "mental illness" is really a contrivance of the medical community, government, and organized religion to control, oppress, and manipulate people. "Psychiatry," Dr. Szasz frequently states, "does not deal with diseases, but with conflicts between people."

Dr. Szasz continues to represent a viable, albeit extreme, alternative to mainstream sociopolitical philosophy of medicine. Alvan R. Feinstein, Sterling Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, writs that Dr. Szasz's most recent book, Pharmacracy, continues "his long quest . . . to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. . . . Whether you agree or disagree, and whether you are pleased or enraged, Szasz will provide you into an increasingly rare modern activity: critical thought."

Dr. Szasz has published hundreds of articles, letters, comments, interviews, debates, prefaces, and rejoinders. His 25 books include The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1965), The Myth of Psychotherapy (1978), Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences (1987), Fatal Freedom (1999), and Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America (2001).

Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility:
Copyright © 1998-2001 by the author of each page, except where noted. All rights reserved.