Making an Impact with Planned Giving

When it came to picking a medical school for Robert Schnarrs, M.D., '82, it came down to one thing, Penn State College of Medicine "just felt right," according to Dr. Schnarrs. "I tell undergraduates and graduate students, as well as residents, to use their same gut feeling when considering their options for advancement."

When Schnarrs came to Penn State Hershey he thought he was going to be an oncologist, but experimental surgery courses made him wonder if there was another medical calling for him. Through his experiences with Bill Graham, M.D., who was his advisor, Schnarrs found his way to plastic surgery and was fortunate enough to eventually land in one of the top plastic surgery residencies in the country. "Ultimately I did end up in oncology, since the bulk of my practice deals with breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer."

The story of Schnarrs is not that uncommon to Penn State College of Medicine graduates. It is a setting that has "just felt right" to so many alumni who have also been impacted and shaped by their advisors and faculty members.

A few years down the road, Schnarrs found himself serving as president of the Penn State College of Medicine Alumni Society Board and "got an inside view of the ever increasing financial restraints that funding medical school was beginning to impose."  So he decided that it was time to establish a planned gift for student scholarship support at Penn State College of Medicine to help alleviate some of the $180,000 average debt that medical students build up before graduating. Schnarrs accomplished this philanthropic goal through a simple bequest in his will.

His additional motivation?

"Without some type of financial assistance, future generations of physicians may be decided more by who can afford it, rather than the best and the brightest. I don't know about everyone else, but I would prefer the latter option since that is who will be taking care of me."

If you would like information about leaving a legacy at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine through a planned gift, please contact Devon Dominick Johnson in the Office of University Development and Alumni Relations at 717-531-8497 or


Click here to read additional stories on the Penn State College of Medicine Alumni Update.