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Noel Williams Class of 1974

Awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
24 Apr 2024
Union news
 Noel Williams 1974
Noel Williams 1974

On  December 15th 2023, Professor Noel N. Williams (Class of 1974) was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the highest distinction the College bestows, recognising outstanding achievement in surgery.

Noel is the Rhoads-Harrington Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania where he has served as the Medical Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery for Penn Medicine for 20 years, leading one of the largest acaemic programmes in the US.

Having been born in Jamaica and having attended St. Hugh Prep in Kingston Jamaica, when aged 10 years, Noel entered Willow Park as a boarder as did older brother John and younger brother Peter. While in Blackrock College, Noel excelled in basketball representing Leinster and Ireland and in soccer being a member of the 1974 Leinster SCT winning soccer team with Daragh Coakley as captain. 

Following in his father’s footsteps, Noel graduated from Blackrock College in 1974 and RCSI in 1981, being accepted into RCSI on the day his dad died. After internship at the Richmond Hospital and pre-fellowship surgical training in Dublin, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania and Wistar Institute in Philadelphia as a Harrison Research Fellow. 

He completed registrar, senior registrar, and lecturer posts in Ireland before returning to the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 as Chief Resident. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery and Attending Surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. He rapidly rose through the ranks to Professor of Surgery in the GI Division and was named the Rhoads-Harrington Professor of Surgery in 2017.  

At Penn, Professor Williams specialises in minimally invasive surgery, and to date has performed more than 6,500 bariatric procedures. In addition, he serves as the director of robotic surgery and director of surgical simulation at Penn and he is the director of the Comprehensive American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institute.  

He is Associate Programme Director for the General Surgery Residency programme and has successfully placed more than 125 international graduates into surgical internships throughout the US, many of whom are graduates of Irish medical schools, including RCSI. 

Noel is married to Emma Meagher, granddaughter of William Meagher (Class of 1892). Noel and Emma have four children and 4 grandchildren and now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, USA.



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