A transformational gift of $5 million from 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 Holcombe’s veterinarian and life-long friend, Harry Werner, VMD, a 1974 Penn Vet graduate. Werner began caring for the Holcombe’s Morgan horses in the early days of his career and continued to do so throughout his years of working in Connecticut.

The professorship will include teaching, research, and clinical outreach, with an emphasis on equine welfare and wellness, important to both the Holcombes and Werners. Penn Vet is conducting an international search for candidates, with a goal of awarding the professorship 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