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June Klinghoffer, 87, Physician and Educator

June 12, 2008
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June Klinghoffer

Klinghoffer, 87, a physician and educator, died May 3 following a cardiovascular-related illness.

Klinghoffer was best-known as a longtime teacher and role model for women physicians at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, later known as the Medical College of Pennsylvania; it was renamed when men were admitted in 1970. Her work and influence continued into the 21st century when the school became Drexel University College of Medicine.

A 1938 graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, Klinghoffer next attended the pre-med program at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1941. She was one of three women students in the program. Her positive experience at Girls' High with same-sex education encouraged her attendance at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1945.

After an internship and residency at what is now the Albert Einstein Medical Center, Klinghoffer returned to her alma mater on a fellowship, and remained there throughout her long career. She was an internist and specialist in rheumatology

Klinghoffer rose from a clinical assistant in medicine in 1948 to a full professor in 1969, holding the Ethel Russell Morris Chair in Medicine from 1987 to her retirement in 2000. Her devotion to her students is evidenced in her extraordinarily long tenure as director of the Junior Clerkship in Medicine and her position as director of Student Teaching Programs for the Department of Medicine.

In recent years, well into her 80s, she continued to participate in College of Medicine activities, serving on Drexel's Legacy Committee and as co-chair of the campaign to build a permanent home for the college's archives.

Klinghoffer received numerous awards, including the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Founders' Day and Alumni Achievement awards. A chair of medicine and professorship was established in her honor, as the June Klinghoffer Chair in Medicine. She was elected to the Girls' High Hall of Fame in 2006.

A bronze statue of Klinghoffer greets students, faculty and visitors to the College of Medicine's Queen Lane campus. But her most prized accolade came directly from her students: serving regularly as "oather" and "hooder" at commencement.

Klinghoffer is survived by son Robert Wenger; a grandson; and nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Sidney Wenger.

Memorial contributions can be made to: the Archives Building Fund, Drexel University College of Medicine, P.O. Box 8235, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

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