William  Polf

William  Polf

’71 MA Hist/’73 PhD Hist
Education administration

William Polf has managed policy development and helped implement legislation at the state and federal levels in a host of higher education and health financing areas, such as university research, higher education financial aid, health reimbursement, and a variety of other topics.

Soon after graduating from the Maxwell School, Polf worked for the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in the NYS Education Department. He then moved on from that position and became a senior policy analyst for the Speaker of the NYS Assembly, specializing in real property taxation, school finance, and municipal debt. He became director of state relations for Columbia University in 1981, then subsequently became deputy vice president for external relations at the Columbia University Health Sciences, at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

During his time at Columbia University, Polf accomplished many things such as finding funding for the construction of the Schapiro Engineering building at Columbia, directing the development of the Audobon Biomedical Research Park at the Columbia Health Sciences, directing the effort to finance and reconstruction the NYS Psychiatric Facility at Columbia to become the Columbia School of Public Health, and finding funding for other major capital projects. Additionally, he directed the competition for, and development of, the NYS Center for Advanced Technology in Medical Informatics.

In 2000, Polf became senior vice president for external relations for New York Presbyterian Hospital. In his role, he created the department, which was responsible for government relations, public affairs, media, public relations, marketing, and community affairs. As well as, being responsible for directing the hospital's side of the joint clinical trials program with Columbia. In 2012, Polf retired from his position at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Polf obtained his bachelor's degree in political Science and history from San Francisco State University in 1967. In 1971, he received a master's degree in American history from the Maxwell School. Polf later came back to Maxwell and acquired a doctorate in American history as well. When asked about his experience at Maxwell, Polf had the following to say, "At Maxwell, I learned to think, write, research, solve complex problems, and finish what I start; all of which have served me well." He believes everything he learned at Maxwell provided an essential capability that enabled him to accomplish what he has set out to do. Polf has had the liberty of serving two terms on the Maxwell Advisory Board. Polf believes without the help of Syracuse University he would have not been able to attend graduate school and accomplish all that he has so far in life.  During his time with the school he held a Maxwell Fellowship, a University Fellowship and was hired to teach the introductory course to American history. Additionally, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship from Princeton University. All of this assistance allowed him to earn both his masters and doctorate degree in four years.

In addition to his work in his field, Polf is an avid writer that has written short stories that are now being published in various journals. His first book of short stories, "Magical Ballyglass and Other Stories," is available on Amazon for purchase. He is currently retired and living in North Carolina with his wife, Robin, a retired science and health writer, who will now be a docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art, in addition to working on her own art projects.