Grateful Alumnus Gives Back to Biology Department

Dr. Chroniak smiling

Dr. Chroniak served in the U.S. Army in World War II and Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service.

Dr. Walter Chroniak '43, who retired last year as a physician after 62 years in practice, has made a gift to support the biology department, which he says nurtured his love of science and helped launch his medical career.

"I had a great education. My embryonic class at UMass was better than the course in medical school," he says.

While an undergraduate, he was assigned a proctorship, conducted research at Woods Hole on a scholarship, and worked at the radio station and various labs. "I was treated very well. All my teachers were exceptional," he says.

After graduating from UMass Amherst, Walter attended medical school at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, now Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia), graduating in 1947. He interned at the Indiana University Hospitals and opened his family medical practice in Indianapolis, where he and his late wife, Helen, raised their children. He retired in 2013, closing his practice, which included making house calls.

The planned gift is a percentage of the remainder of his IRA. Walter says his intention is to make the gift unrestricted to zoology so the department chair can decide how best to use the funds. He hopes his gift from the IRA (which will come to UMass Amherst tax-free) will inspire other alumni to make donations.

"I recommend fellow alumni use their IRAs to make gifts," Walter says. "IRA gifts are easy to arrange and go to UMass Amherst after we no longer need them."

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