When it came time to choose a career, the
young W. Benson Harer Jr. was
sure of one thing: he did not want to go
into medicine. He figured his father, W. Benson Harer Sr.,
C’17, M’21, a renowned Penn obstetrician
and former president of the Pennsylvania Medical
Society, would be a hard act to follow.
Despite his misgivings, Dr. Harer entered his father’s alma
mater in the fall of 1952. “My first year of medical
school was a dreadful bore,” he says. “But I stuck it
out. Then, it all got better because I met Pamela.” His
wife of 53 years graduated from the Penn’s College for
Women in 1956.
Coincidentally, Dr. Harer was studying labor and delivery
when the first of their four children was born. “My
view of Ob/Gyn transformed completely and I finally
understood my father’s passion. The field was about
watching a new life emerge. I decided that I did indeed
want to follow in his footsteps.”
Following his residency at HUP in 1960, Dr. Harer had a
successful private practice in San Bernardino, California,
for more than 30 years. Career highlights include serving
as president of the San Bernardino County Medical
Society and of the American College of Obstetricians
To celebrate his 50th reunion this year, Dr. Harer created
a charitable gift annuity benefiting the Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology. “I owe much of my success to
Penn, and I feel very fortunate to be a graduate,” he says.
In addition to returning to his “beloved campus” to
reminisce with old friends, Dr. Harer will also be a guest
speaker, leading a presentation on his other great passion
— the history and culture of ancient Egypt. He is
an adjunct professor of Egyptology in the humanities
department at California State University at San Bernardino.
He has written numerous articles on Egyptology, including
several that combine his knowledge of medicine
with his passion for ancient history and archeology.
Reflecting on his alma mater, his career in obstetrics
and his philanthropy to the School of Medicine, Dr. Harer
gratefully acknowledges the model his father provided,
“I am proud to follow in his path,” he says.
Dr. Harer’s charitable gift annuity helped him find a way to
make a significant gift, while obtaining a current income
tax deduction and the security of guaranteed, partially
tax-free lifetime payments. A charitable gift annuity is just one of many creative gift opportunities that benefit both the
School of Medicine and its donors.