Why I Give – Dr. Ernest Abernathy ‘55

Dr. Ernest Abernathy ’55 is a retired board certified surgeon, published author, poet, world traveler, artist and conservationist who recalls his adventures with delight and infectious laughter. He grew up in rural Georgia and earned a chemistry degree at KWC, where he played basketball.

“It meant everything to me to attend Wesleyan,” he shares. “I learned how to interact and get along with people, and I discovered what I wanted to do with my life. KWC shaped me and made me what I am today. I’m still grateful all these years later.”

He returned to Georgia to earn his medical degree from the Emory University School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and surgery residencies at Charity Hospital in New Orleans (Louisiana State) and Southern Pacific Hospital in San Francisco (University of California).

Dr. Abernathy was drafted the day after he completed the residency in California and served as a surgeon with the 82nd Airborne during the revolution in the Dominican Republic in 1965. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. “After that was over, I wrote a letter to a surgeon in San Francisco with thanks for all that I learned from him. He prepared me well for performing surgery in a combat zone.”

He practiced medicine in Clayton County, Georgia, south of Atlanta, until 1997, and many of his professional experiences are chronicled in the autobiographical “Memoirs of a Medicine Man,” published in 2005 by AuthorHouse. The book is dedicated to the patients he served in over 7,000 surgeries and 688,000 office visits.

Other autobiographies include “Safari-Safari: Chasing the Big Five in Botswana and Tanzania,” which takes readers on adventures in Africa and “Tough Bears Don’t Dance,” which features more hunting experiences and campfire tales. “Sketch Me If You Can” includes some of Dr. Abernathy’s drawings from a 40-year collection of his sketchbooks. Each book is published by AuthorHouse.

Dr. Abernathy served on the Kentucky Wesleyan Board of Trustees from 1979-1987 and honored with the Alumni Service Award in 2010.

“I’ve seen the world. The foundation I got at Kentucky Wesleyan made it all possible.”