Penn Medicine Office of Planned Giving

W. Benson Harer Jr., M’56

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 and Gynecologists.

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.

Penn Medicine
Office of Planned Giving
Christine S. Ewan, J.D.
Executive Director, Planned Giving
3535 Market Street, Suite 750
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309
215-898-9486 | Fax: 215-573-2186


Penn Planned Giving