Horse Owners’ $5 Million Gift Establishes Dr. Harry Werner Professorship in Equine Medicine at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center

Edited from Penn Vet news release

A transformational gift of $5 million by the estate of Seth and Lucy Holcombe will establish the Dr. Harry Werner Professorship in Equine Medicine at New Bolton Center, the large animal hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet).

The endowed chair is named for the Holcombes’ veterinarian and lifelong friend, Harry Werner, VMD. Dr. Werner is a 1974 Penn Vet graduate and has cared for the Holcombes’ Morgan horses since the early days of his veterinary career working in Granby, Connecticut.

Harry Werner, VMD is a well-known equine practitioner in Connecticut.

The professorship will include teaching, research, and clinical outreach, with an emphasis on equine welfare and wellness, which are important to both the Holcombes and Werner.

Penn Vet is conducting an international search for candidates for the professorship, with a goal of awarding the position in 2017.

“We are delighted that Dr. Werner’s clients have honored him with this wonderful gift to improve the lives of horses through a new program at New Bolton Center,” said Joan C. Hendricks, VMD, PhD, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Harry is a very distinguished alumnus, and we are extremely proud of his achievements globally to support equine welfare,” Hendricks continued. “This will provide a permanent tribute to him.”

Although Werner and his wife, Susan, were close friends with the Holcombes, the gift came as a surprise. A family lawyer delivered the news after Lucy Holcombe’s death at age 91 in January 2016. Seth Holcombe died at age 91 in 2009.

“We had no idea,” said Werner, about the donation in his honor. “Susan and I feel responsible for making sure this gift does what the Holcombes wanted it to do. We want this to enhance the health and welfare of horses.”

The professorship will be the centerpiece of what they intend to become a broader program for equine wellness and welfare, attracting international speakers and reaching out to populations of working horses in need.

Dr. Gary Althouse, Chairman of the Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center, said that the new equine professorship builds upon a New Bolton Center initiative for large animal welfare, including participation in specialty training for board certification by the new American College of Animal Welfare.

Werner has dedicated his life and career to the care and welfare of animals through his practice, Werner Equine, and his continued service to veterinary professional organizations at state, national, and international levels.

He was the 2009 President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and is now part of the AAEP’s Welfare and Public Policy Advisory Council. He’s also on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Committee and World Equine Veterinary Association’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Werner speaks internationally and has authored many articles on equine welfare, equine lameness, pre-purchase exams, farrier-veterinarian relationships, and veterinary ethics.

To learn more about Dr. Werner and his equine practice in Connecticut, visit




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