Denise and Dean Pappas, M.D., ’73

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Denise and Dean PappasDean Pappas, M.D., ’73 is the chief pathologist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, Mass. It’s been several decades, but he still remembers arriving at Franklin & Marshall College as a young Greek-American from a small town in suburban Philadelphia and quickly being exposed to a world much larger than the one he knew. 

“I saw the rings of Saturn through a telescope in astronomy class,” he recalls. “Then one of my professors, Dr. Richardson, traveled to Africa and brought back mud from the bottom of a prehistoric lake... and there I was, looking at the ancient world through an X-ray diffraction machine—the most modern technology available at the time. I had experiences like that throughout my college years at F&M.” 

He remembers the Green Room Theatre, studying in the library, and a huge concert—the Grateful Dead performed at F&M in April 1971. 
“The campus was filled with long hair, beads and tie-dyed shirts,” he says. “And the administration was asking, ’Whose idea was this?’” 
Pappas was committed to his studies and progressed rapidly. To graduate in three years, he took classes in the summer as well as during January term and added extra classes in the fall and spring semesters. He had always wanted to be a doctor, and he found the many science classes, while difficult, interesting rather than daunting. 

“Science was a challenge,” he remembers. “My friends and I studied together. Dr. Snavely (Fred A. Snavely, Ph.D., ’49) encouraged and engaged us—he was a great teacher—as we made it through chemistry, organic chemistry and physiology. I found out later that my background in science was amazing; I was definitely one of the better-prepared students in medical school.” 
Pappas went to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and met his wife, Denise, on a plane while traveling from Athens to Cairo after he graduated. He twice worked in Saudi Arabia as a pathologist, completing months-long stints there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He and his wife have two sons and a new granddaughter. 

Pappas credits his F&M education with putting him on the path to a successful and fulfilling life. That is the reason he and his wife give to the Franklin & Marshall Fund every year, and it’s why they recently decided to set up a deferred gift annuity with F&M. The deferred gift annuity will make payments to Pappas and his wife beginning in 2021. It will increase their income in retirement, and—after they both pass away—the remainder will benefit future students of Franklin & Marshall. 

“I feel very fortunate, and it all began with Franklin & Marshall,” he says. “I was a financial aid student, and I was given this chance. It really did set the course for my life. College is an unbelievable opportunity. Equal access to education facilitates social and economic mobility; if you don’t have a good education, you simply can’t move up. We will give someone else that chance through our gift.” 

To learn how to craft your own legacy gift to F&M, contact Mary Ann M. Cooke, J.D., ’90, Director of Gift Planning, at 717-358-4821 or mcooke@fandm.edu.