CSUSB and RAFFMA Donation Creates Faculty Position Specializing in Egyptology
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Dr. W. Benson Harer, a longtime supporter of Cal State San Bernardino and the university’s Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA), has pledged $900,000 to establish a visiting faculty position on campus that will focus on the teaching of Egyptology and early Egyptian art history.
The W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence will bring to the university community one of the world’s preeminent experts in this field, serving as a part-time (single quarter) visiting faculty position in the history department of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Dr. Harer has been fascinated with ancient Egypt his entire life. In 2014, he and his late wife, Pamela, created the Pamela and Dr. Benson Harer Fellowship specializing in Egyptology, CSUSB’s first-ever fully endowed faculty fellowship. Kate Liszka, an assistant professor of history, joined the university in 2015 as the first Harer Fellow.
The Harer Family Trust has also provided a substantial collection of Egyptian antiquities as gifts and on permanent loan to RAFFMA. The collection has become the centerpiece for several educational programs, including the “Kids Discover Egypt” annual summer program for local children.
“We are so fortunate to have Ben Harer as a friend and supporter of CSUSB,” said university President Tomás D. Morales. “Ben’s caring, dedication and generosity will bring thoughtful and insightful knowledge and appreciation of ancient Egypt to our students, the campus community and our region.”
The Harer scholar will teach one course in the history department or art department (history), as well as serve as guest lecturer to those courses that would benefit from the experience and scholarship of a preeminent Egyptologist, under the leadership of the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The Harer scholar will also to be the keynote speaker/presenter at a special community-based event.
An obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Harer maintained a practice in San Bernardino for more than 30 years and served as medical director at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. He also served as president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the world’s largest organization of Ob-Gyn specialists. Harer had also served that organization as chair for California and as national secretary. Harer also co-founded TelMed Inc., a nationwide service that offered free, taped health information by telephone and fielded more than 300 million calls. Dr. Harer holds the distinction of receiving the first honorary doctorate ever bestowed by CSUSB in 2001.
Dr. Harer’s fascination with ancient Egypt started as a child and continued into adulthood. As a young medical resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Harer would take his breaks by walking the hallways of the university museum. He started collecting in 1955 with the purchase of a scarab necklace for Pamela.
Dr. Harer was the first non-professional to become a governor of the American Research Center in Egypt, while also serving eight years on the executive committee. He has explored with the Berkeley Theban Mapping Project and excavated in Egypt with the Brooklyn Museum expedition to the Mut precinct in Karnak since 1981. He is recognized internationally as an authority on ancient Egyptian medicine with numerous articles and lectures, and was an adjunct professor of Egyptian art at CSUSB.
Now a resident of Seattle, Dr. Harer has also loaned parts of his collection to major shows in dozens of museums all over the world.
For more information about the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence or the Pamela and Dr. Benson Harer Fellowship and a digital image of Dr. Benson Harer, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.
About Cal State San Bernardino
California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California. Opened in 1965 and set at the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, the university serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. The university offers more than 70 traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, education credential and certificate programs, and a doctorate program in educational leadership. Every one of its academic programs that is eligible has earned national accreditation. CSUSB reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire. More than 80 percent of those who graduate are the first in their families to do so.