Sherman Leis CCAS’63


Rutgers University–Camden alumnus Sherman Leis, the first osteopathic physician trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery, serves as a professor and chair of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Bill Cardoni

A world-renowned reconstructive and plastic surgeon, Sherman Leis has devoted his career to repairing disfigurements and correcting deformities—transforming thousands of patients’ lives. However, Leis CCAS’63, a gifted clarinetist, had planned a career in music before attending Rutgers University–Camden and becoming interested in medicine.

Then, during medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a chance summer job in Sweden changed his life. While working at a  hospital in Malmö, he was introduced to Karl-Erik Hogeman, a famous European plastic surgeon and professor, who became his mentor. Leis went on to become the first osteopathic physician fully trained in the specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and he says Hogeman opened that door. Now, he is professor and chair of plastic and reconstructive surgery at PCOM, one of the 10 largest medical schools in the United States.

Always mindful of how opportunity and mentorship shaped his own career, Leis now participates in a mentorship program with Rutgers–Camden undergraduates, who are able to shadow him as he practices. “Besides just letting them see what a surgeon’s life is like, I can give them a little bit of advice on how to go forward, and what to focus on,” he says.

Leis has worked one-on-one with four Rutgers students thus far, and he had an opportunity to influence hundreds more in May, when he was the keynote speaker for the Graduate School–Camden convocation. For him, there is no greater source of satisfaction. “It gives me pleasure,” he says, “to help young people move forward in life.