Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Karl D. Nolph, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.R.C.P.S., '59


I began to reap the benefits of my association with F&M while in high school in Brookville, Pennsylvania, where I was taught physics and chemistry by Dr. Howard E. Gayley who graduated from F &M in 1912. He received the F&M Alumni Citation in 1950. Over many decades of teaching in Brookville, Dr. Gayley recruited 25 of his students to attend F&M – 21 of these became physicians. We were called “Gayley’s Boys” (F&M was all male during this period). My fascination with chemistry began with Dr. Gayley. At F&M, I was a pre-medical, chemistry major who also took many biology courses. The grounding in chemistry and anatomy in college provided by faculty such as Professors Snavely, Suydam, Heller, Lane, and Van Horn was superb preparation for medical school and my career. Physical chemistry was especially interesting to me. In my medical specialty of Nephrology (dealing with kidney diseases, fluid and electrolyte metabolism, acid-base problems, dialysis and kidney transplantation), I utilize the fundamentals of physical chemistry extensively. My research has explored small solute transport and ultrafiltration during hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Osmolality, osmolarity, reflection coefficients, pH, Gibbs-Donnan Equilibrium, electrolyte transport across biological and synthetic semi-permeable membranes, osmotic pressure induced ultrafiltration, hydraulic coefficients, pore theories, etc. are all part of my research and medical practice. My F&M textbook entitled “Physical Chemistry for Premedical Students” is on my office shelf and still helpful.

I not only appreciate the impact of science courses on my career; the liberal arts education I received at F&M has added immensely to my enjoyment of literature and the arts. I am often asked to speak to families and church groups about the difficulties they face in reconciling their faith and human suffering. My courses in religion, philosophy and the humanities at F&M really helped to prepare me for such a task and I often review my old F&M texts to aid in my preparations. I had the privilege of playing in the F&M Band and even now at age 73, I am marching in and playing concerts with two community bands.

My Franklin and Marshall College education played a major role in defining who I am and must be given credit for much of the success and joy of my life.

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