W. Geoffrey Lefferts MD, HU ‘69 and Susan Hiles Lefferts, RN, HU ‘67: Two New Colleges, Same Great Legacy
April 6, 2023
As graduates of Drexel University’s College of Medicine (COM) and College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) predecessor, Hahnemann University, W. Geoffrey Lefferts MD, HU ‘69 and Susan Hiles Lefferts, RN, HU ’67 have enjoyed great success. Geoffrey, now retired, spent more than 40 years in general medicine—spanning both education and patient care—and Susan worked as a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic before attending law school and eventually practicing in health care law, medical malpractice, and personal injury defense. Now, Geoffrey and Susan are honoring the place where it all began with a special gift, recognizing the people who made their dreams possible.
“Both of my parents graduated high school during the Great Depression, and they decided early on that they wanted their kids to go to college,” says Geoffrey. “They started saving early, and I was the beneficiary. Now, I hope I can help someone else in the same way.”
That generosity is demonstrated in the Lefferts’ recent bequest gift. The W. Geoffrey Lefferts M.D. and Susan Hiles Lefferts, R.N., J.D. Endowed Fund provides alternating scholarship support for students at Drexel’s COM and CNHP, and is named in grateful memory of their parents, William L. and Beatrice Lefferts, and Raymond and Jean Hiles, who allowed them to attend Hahnemann University debt-free. The fund also recognizes, Wilbur W. Oaks, MD, the Hahnemann University faculty member who provided Geoffrey with the best possible example and highest inspiration for a career in medicine.
Despite a career shift later in life, Susan recalls how her own professional journey was shaped by her years at Hahnemann. After attending nursing school, Susan went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing, drawing on the hands-on experience she gained working side-by-side with doctors at Hahnemann, which she also put to work years later as a lawyer. Susan even inspired her own mother to pursue a career in nursing.
“My parents were very happy that I could go off to nursing school,” she says. “In fact, my mother enjoyed hearing about my experience so much that she decided to become a nurse in her 40s.”
Now, as Geoffrey and Susan carry on the legacy started by their own parents, they find great comfort in that fact that their gift will grow, continuing to serve more and more aspiring healthcare leaders—at both of their alma maters—in perpetuity.
“There’s an old saying: it’s almost impossible to prevent a medical student from learning,” recalls Geoffrey. “I have a lot of confidence in these students, and I trust that each one will pick a field or a specialty for their own reasons. My greatest hope is that these recipients go on to serve their communities in the best way possible.”