Who Was John R. Williams, Sr.?

Dr. John R. Williams, Sr. was a physician, medical scientist, hobby enthusiast in the arts and sciences, humanitarian, arborist, author and contributor to the civic and cultural betterment of greater Rochester. His life was devoted to scientific research, medical practice and voluntary efforts to improve the cultural and educational environment of his fellow men.

Dr. Williams served as Chief of Medicine at Highland Hospital for 30 years during which time the first complete unit for the study of metabolic diseases, chiefly diabetes, was established by him in 1916. He also established at Highland the first clinical laboratory at a private hospital in the country.

He was working in conjunction with the University of Toronto Medical School when Dr. Frederick C. Banting made his discovery of insulin there in 1923. As a result, Dr. Williams became the first physician in this country to use this new aid for diabetic patients. He was named to the consulting staff of Eli Lilly & Co., the designated manufacturer of commercial insulin.

After undergoing extensive renovation in 1979, the Health Sciences Library was dedicated in memory of Dr. John R. Williams, Sr.