Elmer A. Vastyan

Elmer A. Vastyan, 1951

B.A., Denison University
B.D., Episcopal Theology School
L.H.D., Medical University of South Carolina

Citation awarded June, 1986

Elmer “Al” Vastyan’s career has been a creative link between the arts, sciences, medicine, and the humanities. This balance is exemplified at the present time by his dual positions as chairman of the department of humanities at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, and Vicar of the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

As an undergraduate at Denison, Al majored in English and was awarded both the Ebenezer Thresher and Juliet Barker Sarett Scholarships, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with honors. Following graduation in 1951 he attended the University of Southampton (England) as a Fulbright Scholar. He did further graduate work at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, and was graduated cum laude from the Episcopal Theological School in 1957 and was ordained in that year.

One of the organizers of the Society for Health and Human Values, he served as president of the Society and, in 1975, received their annual award for outstanding service. Author and consultant, he is widely recognized as a leading authority in the field of medical ethics.

In awarding him the doctor of humane letters degree in 1979, the Medical University of South Carolina noted that as chairman of the nation’s first department of humanities in a medical school, he created an “internationally recognized…model of inclusion of human values in medical education.”