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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

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THE WALL: Harvard grad and top surgeon reflects on high school years

Continuing our series on alumni featured on the Wall of Honor: Surgeon contemplates his roots at Nether Providence High School
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Illustration | Photo provided by Dr. Willian D. Emper ’73

William D. Emper is a sports physician and the Chief of Orthopedics at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Dr. Emper has been the team physician for Villanova University for more than twenty years, and Philadelphia Magazine recognized him as one of the area’s “Top Doctors.”

Emper graduated from Nether Providence High School in 1973 and Harvard University in 1977.

“I was able to enjoy the relationships and the closeness of the people, and the quality of the people that I got to know and grow up with in high school was something that you don’t get a chance to do multiple times in your life,” Emper said.

He believes that Nether Providence was vital in making him a more open person.

“I’d like to think that I’m more open-minded and broad. I think Nether Providence had diversity to a large degree, which was very helpful. I also felt that that was one of the things that was helpful for me in college,” Emper said.

Emper’s involvement in high school was mainly in sports. He played three sports and was also part of the student council.

“Every day, the entire time I was in middle and high school, I played sports like football, basketball, and baseball,” he said.

Overall, Emper is glad that he was able to find a job that he enjoyed.

“The person that I was in high school would think that it was a good thing that I went and did something that was good for people and also that I enjoyed,” Emper said.

Emper played football in college and applied to Harvard because of one of his friends who had previously attended Harvard.

“On the last day, I sent my application just so he would stop bugging me. It turns out he helped me get into Harvard by taking some football films up to the coach. That’s how they had to do it back then in the day. So I was recruited,” Emper said.

Apart from his friends, Emper believes that his high school teachers influenced his education.

“I had some good teachers in high school; we had good academics,” Emper said. “I thought I got a good exposure in communication skills in English and literature. I was fortunate to be in a school district that had teachers of that quality.”

Emper was moved to pursue orthopedics through his personal experiences with orthopedics from a football player’s standpoint.

“I had a role model in college, the team orthopedic surgeon at Harvard, because I got hurt a little bit, and I got to know him,” Emper said. “He, fortunately, was just an incredibly humble but talented person who instilled a lot of student-athletes at Harvard into going into orthopedics.”

Emper believes that being an orthopedic surgeon is an excellent job because you do good things for people and get rewarded with their kindness.

“It does help to know how to expose yourself to different kinds of things early on,” Emper said. “I think for any occupation, it always helps to do internships to actually get to know people and see them in their environment, and to try to understand that that’s what you want to do. If it is what you want to do, then you have, hopefully, that person or that workforce as someone who can help you go to the next step.”

Emper is grateful to have attended Nether Providence High School and is proud to have been a part of the excellent student body.

“Strath Haven is a great school,” Emper said. “I have the experience of Nether Providence and have that high level of participation in extracurricular activities, the diversity of the student body, and the intelligence of the student body.”

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About the Contributor
Matteo Ventresca '25
Matteo Ventresca '25, Managing Editor of Print
Matteo Ventresca is the Managing Editor for Print for The Panther Press. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, as well as playing the trombone.
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