William Harker Rhodes, VMD

William Harker Rhodes, VMD

Charter Diplomate


Dr. W. Harker Rhodes was born April 26, 1925 in Trenton, NJ. Following high school, he served as a radiology technician in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946, after which he attended and graduated in 1951 from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1955, he graduated with a VMD. from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by 3 years of radiology training at the medical school with a Master of Medical Science in radiology from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine. From 1955 until his retirement in 1985, as Professor Emeritus of Radiology, he was a faculty member in the veterinary school of the University of Pennsylvania with a joint appointment in radiology at the medical school.

He was an outstanding teacher of radiology for hundreds of veterinary students and more than 25 radiology residents who are now Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. He received the school’s first Lindback Teaching award in 1965 and was a frequent lecturer at numerous state and national veterinary meetings.

Dr. Rhodes played a major role in the development of veterinary radiology that included him being a founding member and past president of the Educators in Veterinary Radiologic Science (the first veterinary radiology organization in United States) and then of the American Veterinary Radiology Society, a member of numerous AVMA and AAHA advisory committees and the New York Academy of Science. He was an important Charter member and Chair of the Organizing Committee for the American Board of Veterinary Radiology (the first clinical specialty approved by the AVMA), now the American College of Veterinary Radiology. He was also a founding member of the International Veterinary Radiology Society.

The American College of Radiology bestowed its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to him in 1999, and the best oral and poster awards of the International Veterinary Radiology Association are named in his honor.

Harker served as the first editor of Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound from 1963 to 1979, a journal that was initially named the Journal of the American Veterinary Radiology Society and in 1979 renamed again as Veterinary Radiology.

Harker’s dedication to the journal was critical in its transition from sets of mimeographed notes to being professionally published, first by J.B. Lippincott Co. Harker worked diligently to establish that initial publishing relationship, which provided a level of credibility that was important for the journal’s continued success. Without Harker’s energetic support of, and vision for, the journal, it would not be the source of pride for the ACVR and other Affiliate Organizations that it is today.

Harker was a wonderful father, an avid horseman, and a pilot who loved flying and all things related to flight. At one point he flew his plane, at his own expense, to all veterinary colleges East of the Mississippi River to generate support for the (his) fledgling journal. His exceptional ability as a violinist during his high school career transformed in subsequent years into a life‐long appreciation of music. All of these passions have been passed on to his four children and six grandchildren.

Although many veterinary radiologists never had the opportunity to meet Harker Rhodes, his foresight led to the establishment of the specialty organization that is the framework of all of our professional activities. He will be forever remembered by his family, colleagues, friends, and students.

Author: Dr. Darryl Biery