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October 13, 2009, Volume 56, No. 07

Ms. Keeler, Exchange Student

Eleanor “Ella” Keeler, a British exchange student, passed away October 2 following being hospitalized due to a cardiac arrest while jogging. She was 20 years old.

The University College of London junior from York, United Kingdom, was majoring in history. She was a graduate of Tadcaster Grammar School. She came to Penn in September.

Ms. Keeler is survived by her parents, Christopher and Annette; a brother, Matthew; and a sister, Suzanne.

A memorial will take place on campus. Details were not available at press time.

Dr. Hess, Economics


Dr. Arleigh Porter Hess, Jr., professor emeritus of economics, passed away October 2 of heart failure. He was 91 years old.

Dr. Hess earned his BS and MA degrees in economics from Penn in 1939 and 1941, respectively. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he began teaching at Penn in 1945. He later  earned his PhD in 1949. That same year, he was appointed to Penn’s faculty as an assistant professor of economics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1955.

Prior to his promotion to full professor in 1985, Dr. Hess served in various administrative roles. In 1960 he was appointed assistant to the provost in budgetary affairs (under Loren Eiseley). He became vice provost for budgetary administration a year later. In addition, he had served as director of the College of General Studies and the Summer School programs and as secretary of the committee of deans.

Dr. Hess had also lectured at Swarthmore College and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He obtained emeritus status in 1988, but continued to teach part-time until 2001.

Dr. Hess was the 1987-88 chair of the 25-Year Club and served on University Council committees. He is the 1983 recipient of Wharton’s Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award for excellence in teaching.

Dr. Hess is survived by his daughters, Anne H. Gummerson and Elizabeth B. Hess; son, Richard P. Hess; and granddaughter, Elizabeth A. Gummerson.

Memorial donations may be made to the Christian Children’s Fund.

Dr. Raffensperger, Medicine


Dr. Edward C. Raffensperger, professor emeritus of medicine, passed away October 2. He was 95 years old.

Dr. Raffensperger received a BS from Dickinson College in 1936 and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1940. He completed his residency at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after which he served in the Air Force in WWII as a flight surgeon. He rose to the rank of Lt. Captain. He returned from the war to do his fellowship in gastroenterology at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Henry Bockus whom many consider to be the father of clinical gastroenterology. He then set up a practice at the Polyclinic in Harrisburg from 1948-1962 but was then recruited back to serve as the lead clinical gastroenterologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he remained.

In his tenure at Penn, Dr. Raffensperger held many positions. He was chairman of the medical board and the school admissions committee and served on numerous other committees. He rose to the rank of full professor and became emeritus in 1985. He received many awards over the years including the Distinguished Alumni Award at Dickinson College where he also served as a Trustee since 1958 and was a benefactor.

As a philanthropist, he along with his wife, Mary Ames Raffensperger (now deceased, Almanac July 12, 1983) who was a pioneer in rehabilitative medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, established a generous fund in that area at CHOP. At Penn, he established an endowment for educational funding of medical students. According to Dr. David Katzka, gastroenterologist and professor of medicine, “Dr. Raffensperger commonly quoted his mother who when asked by a young Ed, ‘what would you do if you had a million dollars,’ she gleefully replied, ‘I’d give it away.’ Clearly, he was greatly influenced by her advice.”

“Dr. Raffensperger was a great teacher. Students, residents and fellows always competed to be on his rotations. He trained several generations of gastroenterologists, many of whom went on to national and international fame. Dr. Raffensperger was warm and caring, yet a taskmaster at the same time, demanding clinical excellence and integrity from all he trained,” said Dr. Katzka.

For many years, he was the gastroenterologist for Philadelphia’s elite and Penn’s faculty. There is a yearly conference at Penn in his name in which some of the most difficult cases from medical schools in the Delaware Valley are presented and discussed. 

Dr. Raffensperger lost his wife, Mary, to cancer in 1983. He is survived by generations of friends, students, colleagues and patients.

A memorial service will be held at Penn, details to be determined. Contributions may be made to the Mary Ames Raffensperger and Edward Cowell Raffensperger Scholarship Fund at the University of Pennsylvania or to Dickinson College.



Almanac - October 13, 2009, Volume 56, No. 07