Students & Community

A Legacy of Gratitude

Dr. Susan H. Klemmer pays tribute to her favorite professor with endowment gift

Classroom plaque. Text reads: Through the generosity of Susan H. Klemmer, M.D., and Family The Moon J. Pak, M.D., Ph.D., Classroom

The Moon J. Pak Classroom in the Human Health Building pays tribute to a favorite professor and mentor. Photo credit: Robert Hall.

icon of a calendarApril 15, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Nina Googasian

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In 1973, Susan H. Klemmer decided to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

At age 30, Susan was already balancing a busy life – she had a husband, a two-year old and an infant. “I earned a master’s degree in computer science and was working at GM Research Labs in Warren until my second child was born,” says Susan. She had been out of school for ten years, however, and lacked the science prerequisites needed to apply to medical school.

“To get the required courses, I attended Oakland University for two years, taking chemistry, physics, genetics, physiology, among others,” Susan explains. “While I was in class, my sons attended the OU day care center on Brown Road.”

Dr. Moon J. Pak, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences, taught Susan’s physiology class. “He was my favorite professor at OU.” she recalls. “His encouragement and support were instrumental in getting me and many other students into medical school.” Susan was admitted to the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

After completing medical school at MSU and an internship at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Susan worked in the clinic at Graham Health Center on OU’s campus while waiting to gain acceptance into a dermatology residency at Henry Ford Hospital. Then, following her residency, Susan established and operated a private dermatology practice in Troy and Clarkston for 28 years, retiring in 2012. 

“I am very grateful to Oakland University, and to Dr. Pak for his advice and assistance that led to a long and rewarding career in medicine,” explains Susan.

To honor the important role Dr. Pak played in her life, Susan made a generous gift to name a large classroom in the Human Health Building in Dr. Pak’s honor. Her support also created Oakland University’s Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences Endowed Fund, which will fund student scholarship and research.

The Moon J. Pak, M.D., Ph.D., Classroom (HHB 5045) ensures Pak’s legacy will be appreciated in the School of Health Sciences for generations to come.

Throughout his career at the university, Dr. Pak served in progressive academic leadership roles as an associate professor of biological sciences, associate provost, and as the founding director of the Center for Health Sciences (now the School of Health Sciences).

“We are extremely grateful to Susan and Bob for their generous gift. Paying tribute to Dr. Pak through the naming of this classroom acknowledges his significant contributions, and this endowment makes certain that future students will have support. The gift of helping others remains an integral part of our school,” says Dr. Kevin A. Ball, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

For more information on creating a lasting legacy in the School of Health Sciences, please contact Sarah Brown, Ed.D., CFRE, director of philanthropy, at [email protected] or (248) 364-8798.

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