A recent scholarship endowment has been made in honor of Dr. Mervin G. Olinger (MD ’43). Dr. Olinger graduated from Cornell University in 1939 and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and an accomplished pole vaulter, earning his letter and participating in the Penn Relays. He received a medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Dr. Olinger was one of more than 45,000 physicians who served in the United States military during World War II. A U.S. Army captain, Dr. Olinger was called to service at age 25 during his internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and was stationed in Europe from 1944 to 1946. During the war, he served as the sole physician on a hospital train that carried as many as 300 wounded American and Allied troops, along with German prisoners, to treatment centers in Belgium and Paris.
Dr. Olinger and his wife, Renee, met at summer camp in 1939 and married in 1943. During the war they wrote letters to each other every day. As the war drew to a close, Dr. Olinger was transferred to a U.S. Army hospital in Würzburg, Germany and was discharged in 1946. He returned to civilian life and completed his residency in pathology and bacteriology at Mount Sinai Hospital and completed further training at Bellevue Hospital.
He worked as a pulmonary specialist at the Essex Mountain Sanatorium in his home state of New Jersey before establishing a private internal medicine practice in Verona, New Jersey, which lasted 50 years. He also served as director of medicine at Mountainside Hospital, in Montclair, New Jersey; clinical associate professor at the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; and medical director of Green Hill senior living community in West Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Olinger died in 2016 at the age of 98.
Mrs. Renee Olinger endowed the Mervin G. Olinger, MD ’43 Scholarship in memory of her late husband, carrying on his legacy with a generous gift to help support students in need of financial aid.
“Mervin was proud to be an alumnus of the medical college and I wanted to honor his memory in this special way,” Mrs. Renee Olinger said. “I know that he would have wanted to make a lasting impact by helping students pursue their medical degrees.”