Meharry Medical College Names Auditorium in Honor of Riley

Dr. Wayne J. Riley shown with the sign naming an auditorium in his honor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

BROOKLYN, NY — Meharry Medical College (MMC), one of the nation’s oldest and largest historically black academic health science centers, today named the auditorium inside The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education in honor of its 10th president, Wayne J. Riley, M.D. In addition to the announcement of the new Wayne J. Riley Auditorium, MMC unveiled a portrait of Dr. Riley, painted by Nashville artist Jennifer Simpkins, as a part of its Presidential Portrait Project, an initiative led by the college to commission portraits of its chief executives.

Now, president of Brooklyn’s SUNY Downstate Medical Center (Downstate), Dr. Riley was appointed by The State University of New York Board of Trustees as Downstate’s 17th president in January 2017 and began his tenure in April.

Dr. Riley served as MMC President and Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2013. Among his many accomplishments as president, he secured an $18 million gift from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to establish the RWJF Center for Health Policy. This gift allowed for the development of three U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics and the groundbreaking on the Turner Center.

Under Dr. Riley’s leadership, Meharry’s endowment grew from $73 million to over $140 million. Additionally, generous donations to the college totaling $72 million earned MMC recognition by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education with a 2013 Circle of Excellence Award. 

Dr. Riley is now the 17th president of the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, where he also serves as a tenured professor of internal medicine, health policy, and management.

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