Remembering College of Medicine’s founding chair of pathology, Dr. Richard Naeye

Dr. Richard Naeye, founding chair and professor emeritus of pathology at Penn State College of Medicine, died last week at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Over the 40 years Naeye gave to Penn State Hershey, he played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the campus and its programs. He was instrumental in the development of the medical student curriculum, mentored numerous faculty, residents and staff, and contributed to science through his work in the area of placental pathology. A strong desire to help others served as a defining characteristic of his professional life. 

Naeye earned a bachelor’s degree at Colgate University and received his medical degree in 1955 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed an internship in medicine at The New York Hospital and a residency in pathology at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. In 1958, Naeye moved to the University of Vermont-Affiliated Hospitals in Burlington to continue his pathology training, joining the faculty of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1960. In 1967, he accepted the position of founding chair and professor of pathology at Penn State College of Medicine, serving on the faculty here until his retirement in 2008. 

Naeye was active in three principal areas of research: coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and pregnancy disorders with particular emphasis on placental abnormalities and fetal brain damage.The author of more than 270 scientific papers and 37 book chapters, he made significant contributions that advanced medical knowledge and practice in each of these areas. In addition to his accomplishments as a physician, scientist, teacher and administrative leader, Naeye was also a talented photographer who delighted in sharing this passion with colleagues. His legacy will endure, not just through his former students and colleagues, but also through the hundreds of his scenic photographs that grace the hallways of the Medical Center and College of Medicine.

Richard Naeye is survived by his wife, Patricia, and their children, Nancy Naeye Locke, Susan Naeye and Robert Naeye. A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced.

Last Updated December 19, 2013