Ellis F. Friedman, M.D., ’63

Why I Give

Ellis Friedman, M.D., ’63 knew as a young boy growing up in Reading, Pa., that he wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor. But he had trouble deciding between the two careers. When he began his studies at F&M in fall 1959, he made sure he took the courses he needed to keep both options open.

“I was a government major, but I took all the pre-med courses, too,” he recalls. “I loved the government courses, but I also remember chemistry, biology and walking around campus to identify the 128 varieties of trees at F&M for botany class with Dr. Shively.”

At the beginning of his junior year, the F&M pre-med committee contacted Friedman and said his grades were good enough for them to recommend him for early admission to medical school at the end of his junior year. Friedman decided to apply, but he still wasn’t positive about his future path.

“Then, during fall semester finals, I received a telegram from the NYU School of Medicine, welcoming me,” he remembers. “And the first thing I did was take it to Professor of Government Sidney Wise, and ask him what I should do.”

Professor Wise told him to go to medical school.

“He looked at me, gave me his impish smile, and said, ‘You should go. You’ll make your parents happy, you’ll be happy, and we in the government department will always think of you as a traitor,’” Friedman says. “I had to take seven classes in the spring, but I did it and I started medical school the next fall.”

Friedman came back to F&M to walk in the Commencement ceremony in spring 1963. He wasn’t eligible for academic honors because he left early, but he was named Phi Beta Kappa.

After medical school came a five-year residency in orthopedics, service in the U.S. Air Force, marriage to the former Irene Stern, three children, and a 30-year private practice in orthopedics in Reading. The Friedmans are consistent donors to the Franklin & Marshall Fund. Recently, Friedman returned to F&M and met with current government professors.

“When I had a chance to meet with professors, and talk to a current student, I was just flabbergasted,” he said. “I loved studying in the government department; I learned so much I never knew. But the number of courses and what the students are doing today… I was just drooling. I would love to be a student now!”

Friedman never forgot his beginnings in the Department of Government at Franklin & Marshall College. That is why he and his wife decided to make a final gift to F&M, through their wills, to support an endowed fund for student and faculty research in the government department.

“Why do we give to Franklin & Marshall College?” he asked. “Because really, everything I have achieved in life was purely and solely because of F&M.”

To learn how to craft your own legacy at F&M, or for more information about bequests and scholarship funds, contact Mary Ann M. Cooke, J.D. ’90, director of gift planning, at mcooke@fandm.edu or 717-358-4821.