Retired physician, veteran, 88, receives undergraduate science degree

December 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- This Saturday, 70 years after he started his undergraduate degree at Penn State, 88-year-old Charles J. Kasales will receive his diploma.

Kasales, a retired physician who attended Penn State's School of Chemistry and Physics from 1940 to 1942, will be awarded a premedicine undergraduate degree from the Eberly College of Science at the University's fall commencement ceremony on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 18, at the Bryce Jordan Center. Kasales is one of many students who left Penn State during World War II, when it was possible to enter medical school without an undergraduate degree. Many of these individuals, including Kasales, went on to receive medical degrees and had rewarding careers in the medical profession.

Kasales departed Penn State as a sophomore in 1942 before completing his undergraduate degree. He then entered Temple Medical School in that same year, receiving a doctor of medicine degree in 1946. He joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1943 as an Ensign H-V(P) and, after his medical school graduation in 1946, he enlisted into the U.S. Navy as an aviation medical examiner, stationed in Pensacola, Fla. During the Cold War, Kasales served on the U.S. Boxer CV21 as an assistant medical officer. In 1948, he received an official military commendation for saving the life of a 22-month-old girl who was injured in the Fallaron Islands, off the coast of San Francisco, Calif. Kasales was honorably discharged from the military in 1983.

During his civilian life, Kasales trained in pediatric medicine at several hospitals including Allentown General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Abington General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. He also joined the Kentucky John L. Lewis Hospital System -- a series of hospitals opened for the United Mine Workers -- and was recruited there to found the pediatric unit. Later in his career, Kasales trained as a urologic surgeon and completed his career serving the central Pennsylvania area.

After a careful review of transcripts from both Penn State and Temple, Ronald Markle, Penn State's director of premedicine and general science majors and a professor of biology, has determined that Kasales completed all necessary courses and credits to complete his undergraduate degree.

Kasales's wife, Caroline Kasales; his four daughters, Cristina Gimenez, Claudia Kasales, Camilla Kasales and Cynthia Kasales; his sons-in-law, Michael Gimenez and Glenn Gerhard; and his eight grandchildren will attend the ceremony. Gerhard and three of Kasales's daughters, Claudia, Camilla and Cynthia Kasales, graduated from Penn State.


Last Updated December 16, 2010