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February 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 23

Dr. Edwards, HR

At press time, Almanac was informed of the passing of Dr. Beverly Edwards, executive director of learning & education/communications in Human Resources. She died February 18 at the Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse at the age of 53. An obit will be published next week; a memorial at Penn will be also be announced.

Dr. Lambertsen, Medicine


Dr. Christian James Lambertsen, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Environmental Medicine in the School of Medicine, scientist, inventor, and environmentalist died February 11 at the age of 93.

Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania since the 1946, Dr. Lambertsen’s research focused on experimental therapeutics and human physiology. He founded Penn’s Institute for Environmental Medicine in 1968, where he conducted pioneering research in undersea and aerospace medicine. He served as director until 1985. Dr. Lambertsen was appointed as an instructor in the department of pharmacology in 1946. After serving a year as a visiting research associate professor at the University College in London, he was promoted to professor of medicine. He had also held an appointment in the School of Veterinary Medicine as a professor from 1976 to 1987.

Dr. Lambertsen is best known for inventing the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, the Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU), while a medical student at Penn. The LARU was used by the Maritime Unit of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II for underwater stealth operations. After he was awarded his medical degree in 1943, as a U.S. Army Medical Corps Captain, Dr. Lambertsen trained the first OSS operational swimmers and served as their medical officer. For that reason, Dr. Lambertsen is recognized nationally as the father of U.S. combat swimming.   

In recognition of these accomplishments related to underwater military operations, Dr. Lambertsen was awarded the Legion of Merit by OSS Chief Major William J. Donovan in 1945. He was awarded the U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret Award; the U.S. Special Operations Command Medal; and the Distinguished Public Service Medal of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2009, Dr. Lambertsen was honored by the OSS Society with its Distinguished Public Service Award. He was also a recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and in 1965, the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Merit. In 2010 he was awarded the John Scott Medal by Philadelphia’s Board of Directors of City Trusts for his invention of the underwater breathing apparatus known as SCUBA, which he first developed during World War II for use by the United States Navy while he was in the U.S. Army Medical Corps detached to the Office of Strategic Services.

In his scientific and academic activities, Dr. Lambertsen developed advanced decompression methods to support military and commercial undersea exploration, aerospace and industrial ventures, and founded the Undersea Medical Society (now Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society). Methods for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, that he and his scientific team originated remain at the forefront of medicine today. He was a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a member of the Cosmos Club and was active in numerous scientific organizations.

Dr. Lambertsen’s work included medical advisorships with NASA, the Navy, the Air Force, NOAA, the Smithsonian Institution, Air Products & Chemicals and oil exploration ventures.  He contributed to manned space flight as chairman of the nation’s Committee on Man in Space and as a member of the President’s Space Panel. More recently, he invented Inergen, the environmentally-friendly replacement for halon fire-fighting agents and with industry partners implemented its worldwide use to protect Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. 

Born in Westfield, New Jersey, Dr. Lambertsen earned a BS from Rutgers University in 1939.

He is survived by four sons, Christian, David, Richard and Bradley (all Penn alums); and six grandchildren.  

A memorial service will be held at Penn this spring, on a date to be determined. 

Mr. Netter, Netter Center


At press time, Almanac was informed of the passing of philanthropist Edward Netter, C’53, benefactor and namesake of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. He passed away February 16 at the age of 78.

Mr. Netter is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter, Vicki Fitzgerald; son, Don; and granddaughters, Arianna Nell and Samantha Charli.

Funeral services will be held at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Ave., New York, NY at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 23. Donations may be made to the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy at www.acgtfoundation.org



To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.


Almanac - February 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 23