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Graham Jeffries

(New Zealand & Magdalen 1952) (31 May 1929 - 10 July 2023)

Graham, the middle child of three boys was born May 31, 1929, to Harry and Florence Jeffries in Barmera on the Murray River in South Australia. He moved with his family to New Zealand at a young age. He graduated from Auckland University College and the Otago Medical School of the University of New Zealand. He was New Zealand Junior Champion and record holder in the High Jump and competed as a New Zealand representative in the British Empire Games in 1950.
As a Rhodes Scholar, he spent three years at Oxford University and completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Pathology in 1955. Graham was President of the Oxford University Athletic Club and competed as a high jumper in numerous track & field events against Welsh, Irish and US university teams. In 1954, his last year at Oxford, Graham participated in the meet where Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile world record.

In 1955, Graham married the love of his life, Elizabeth Jones of Pelham, New York, and returned to Oxford to continue his Residency Training in Internal Medicine. In 1958, he came to the United States as a Fellow in Gastroenterology at The New York Hospital – Cornell University Medical College. He joined the faculty and was appointed as Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology in 1967 and served as an attending physician at New York Hospital.

In 1969, Graham was recruited to be the founding Chairman of the Department of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA and served in the capacity until 1988. The early years of his chairmanship were devoted to the recruitment of faculty in the Department of Medicine, the development of patient care programs, and the teaching of medical students and residents. Over the next two decades, he institutionalized a strong, balanced academic program of patient care, teaching, and research that remains today.

A member of numerous scientific societies, Graham distinguished himself as a clinician, teacher, and clinical scholar. Author of more than eighty scientific papers, he served as editor or reviewer for leading medical journals and textbooks. In 1983 he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar in India, and in 1984, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Zimbabwe. Each year for 15 years since 1989, Graham and Elizabeth spent two months at a mission hospital in the highlands of Kenya with a group of medical students and residents.

He and Elizabeth raised their four children in Hershey and lived and worked there for over 53 years. Graham’s keen intellect drove his leisure pursuits. He had an extensive garden and especially loved orchids and feeding the birds. He collected grandfather clocks, blue & white Chinese porcelain, and other fine furnishings. He was an avid reader and loved researching medical history and family ancestry. He played racquetball, tennis, and golf at various stages of his life and enjoyed cooking and canning fruits and vegetables. Graham cooked the best New Zealand leg of lamb dinner and often invited medical students, residents, and friends to join in on family gatherings. He and Elizabeth enjoyed traveling the world with visits back to New Zealand and Australia to see family, as well as spending summers in their 2nd home in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. In his later years, he became a prolific painter, painting many of the places he visited throughout his life.