Robert F. Rohner, MD '52, HS '56

Robert F. Rohner, MD Robert F. Rohner, MD '52, HS '56, was a member of the Department of Pathology for more than 40 years, helping thousands of Upstate Medical University students develop the skills to diagnose and treat disease, as well as become thoughtful and caring physicians.

Dr. Rohner earned a reputation as an extraordinary teacher with a unique ability to personally connect with his students. "He made you want to do well for the sake of science," says Richard Cantor, MD '76, HS '79. "Even though he must have taught this stuff over and over he had a true zeal for teaching it. And whatever he taught you stuck forever."

Former students well-remember "Rohnerisms," his humorous and clever gimmicks for helping students memorize material.

Robert F. Rohner, MD"There is an impossible amount of factual material to be learned in medical school," says Rohner. "I tried to teach pathology as the basis for medical practice and the people who wanted to be medical practitioners responded. I went by the rule that any method of packaging the material in a digestible and retainable form was fair. Some of the
more delicate souls occasionally objected to a few of my packages."

But not many. "We filled the auditorium to hear him in those wonderful clinical-pathologic conferences," recalls former student Gustave Davis, MD '63. "In addition, he was certainly a friend and mentor to us scared young students."

As a result, Dr. Rohner received the Philip B. Armstrong Award—awarded by students to the basic science teacher who most influenced their lives—at least 18 times, had countless yearbooks dedicated to him, and was asked to give the oath at graduation more than a dozen times.

Says Rohner, "Medicine is indeed a higher calling. We mend bodies and minds and good doctors take a whack at mending souls as well. Teachers do the same."