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In Memoriam: Connie Harakal, PhD

News January 02, 2014

Concetta Ann "Connie" Harakal, PhD, an esteemed and beloved member of the Temple University School of Medicine faculty, died on December 27, 2013, at the age of 90. Her devotion to Temple spanned more than 50 years.

A native of Italy, Dr. Harakal immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of nine. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and her MS in Education and PhD in Pharmacology from Temple. She joined the Temple faculty as a research assistant in 1951 and moved steadily up the ranks, achieving the rank of Professor of Pharmacology, with tenure, in 1976.

Dr. Harakal served as longtime course director of the pharmacology curricula for both medical and dental students at Temple. She also served as an advisor, examiner, and/or thesis committee member for dozens of students. The medical school class of 1983 dedicated its yearbook to her, describing her as "not only a teacher and researcher of high academic standards but a humanist."

True to form, Dr. Harakal maintained an impressive teaching portfolio as a member of the post-retirement faculty until 2010. That her students and colleagues held her in high esteem is reflected in the long list of honors she received over the years: 11 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Alumni Association's Honored Professor Award. In 2003, to honor her in perpetuity, the Department of Pharmacology presented Dr. Harakal's portrait to the School of Medicine.

Dr. Harakal was deeply involved in the life of the university. She provided distinguished service to any number of groups, including the faculty senate, the medical school honor board and the medical school admissions committee. She was active in professional affairs both regionally and nationally. She served as president of the Philadelphia Physiological Society, was elected to life membership in both the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served as a consultant to National Institutes of Health, the Educational Testing Service, and the National Board of Medical Examiners. She published more than 100 articles and abstracts related to her research in cardiovascular pharmacology.

She is survived by her sister, a nephew, and two grandnephews. Services are planned for Saturday, January 4 ( visitation 9 to 10 AM; mass 10 AM), Our Mother of Good Counsel, 31 Pennswood Road, Bryn Mawr, PA, with burial to follow at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul Road, Broomall.

Contributions in Dr. Harakal's honor may be made to the Mary DeLeo Prize Fund at Temple University School of Medicine. This is a prize that Dr. Harakal established to honor her mother, and is awarded annually to a Temple faculty member in recognition of distinguished teaching in the basic sciences.

Please make contributions payable to Temple University School of Medicine, Attention Jihae Sin, Temple University School of Medicine, Office of Institutional Advancement, 3500 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.