Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology Dies

Apr. 6, 2010

The University of Rochester Medical Center mourns the death of J. Donald Hare., M.S., M.D., professor emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology and a former associate dean of admissions for the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Hare, who died April 3, was 82.

Dr. Hare, who joined the faculty in 1961, devoted his career to cancer research, studying tumor viruses that are related to the human papillomavirus, primarily polyomavirus.

“He was nationally and internationally recognized for his research contributions, and he was also strongly committed to the education and training of the next generation of scientists,” said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “After his retirement, he remained a lifelong friend to the University of Rochester and its Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and continued to have a profoundly positive impact on graduate student education and training through philanthropic giving.”

Barbara Iglewski, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, said Dr. Hare’s generous gifts allowed the department to support research, endow a prestigious seminar series and honor students and researchers.

The annual Melville A. Hare Seminar, named after Dr. Hare’s father, who was a physician, enables the department’s students to host some of the most outstanding scientists working in the field of microbiology and immunology. There have been 18 seminars. The invited scientists include four Nobel Prize laureates in medicine and 10 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The Melville A. Hare Student Awards for Research and Education have recognized the research and teaching contributions of 34 individual students over almost two decades.

Dr. Hare, who was born in Caledonia, N.Y., once described his father as “an excellent diagnostician who delivered babies, sutured wounds with the skill of a plastic surgeon, set fractures, held hands and was a cheerleader for the people of Caledonia during the Depression.”

Dr. Hare, a Harvard University graduate, earned his master’s degree and M.D. at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He said he chose Rochester for medical school for its “intimacy.” He often recalled his application interview with George Hoyt Whipple, the school’s founding dean, when they talked about fly fishing.

Dr. Hare did his internship and medical residency with Harvard Medical Services at the Boston City Hospital. After two years of research experience at the National Institutes of Health, he returned to Rochester as an instructor in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1961. While Dr. Hare practiced clinical medicine for a short time, he devoted his career to teaching and research. He became professor of Microbiology and Immunology in 1971.

Dr. Hare also was associate dean and director of admissions for the School of Medicine and Dentistry from 1979 to 1987.

Following retirement in 1988, he joined the National Ski Patrol, primarily at the Hunt Hollow Ski Club in Naples, N.Y. He remained active with the ski patrol until 1998.

Dr. Hare is survived by his wife, Nancy Whitcraft Hare of Rochester, a daughter, Kathleen Day of Indianapolis, Ind., two sons, Christopher Hare of Klamath Falls, Ore., and Jonathan Hare of East Greenwich, R.I., and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 17 at The Century Club, 566 East Avenue, Rochester. Contributions in Dr. Hare’s memory can be made to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Class of 1954 Scholarship Fund, 300 East River Road, Box 278996, Rochester, N.Y. 14627, or to the Pluta Cancer Center, 125 Red Creek Road, Rochester, N.Y. 14623.