Another Successful Penn Manor Alum

Dr. Dean R. Hess has shaped his life into nothing less than extraordinary.

Ironic enough, he graduated from Penn Manor in 1968 not knowing what to do with his life.

“I went to college more as an excuse to get away than as an opportunity in life,” said Hess via an email interview.

In 1972, he graduated from Messiah College, earned his Masters Degree from Millersville in 1980 and received his Ph.D. from LaSalle University in 1994.

Hess credits Penn Manor to much of his good study habits that he developed and felt he had an edge on other college students.

Unsure of where his calling was Hess says, “I stumbled into a health care profession, more as an accident than by plan. It turned out that I not only enjoyed being a respiratory therapist, but it was a field in which I could excel.”

Snapshot of Dean Hess PhD RRT. (Photo Credit:

Hess was determined to do the best he could, so he dedicated himself to developing his clinical skills while completing his graduate degrees.

“This opened many doors for me, including a job at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an appointment at the Harvard Medical School. I am fortunate to now have a job where I can divide my time between clinical, teaching, research and administrative responsibilities,” said Hess.

Hess’s achievements are nearly countless.

He has lectured extensively throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.

He has published over 200 papers and 7 books. His books have been translated into Korean and Chinese.

His current credentials consist of Assistant Director of Respiratory Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Editor in Chief of Respiratory Care.

“Progress always involves risks.  You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first,” once said former baseball player, Frederick B. Wilcox.

Such was the same mindset as Hess, when he took the chance to go out and try to succeed in the real world.

“Growing up a farm boy and being one of the first in my family to complete high school, it was a big risk going away to college. But the circumstance presented itself, I took advantage of the opportunity, and used it to build towards the next step in my life,” explained Hess.

Built towards the next step he has by winning many prestigious awards including the Forrest M. Bird award for Lifetime Scientific Achievement.

“I’ve had the good fortune throughout my life of being in the position to seize upon opportunities as they presented themselves,” said Hess.

At one of these opportunities is how Penn Manor Principal Phillip Gale, learned of Dr. Hess.

“My cousin was at a respiratory therapist conference when she heard him speak. Hess mentioned that he was a Penn Manor graduate and that is when she informed me,” said Gale.

Gale’s two cents for interested med students is, “it is a great field to go into due to the fact that there is always a high demand. You need to be prepared, though, to put the time in.”

“His hard work has paid off for him,” added Gale.

As far as advice goes to be successful in anything you do in life, Hess mentions what needs to be done.

“When I was in high school it was never a goal of mine to be where I am today. But it was a goal of mine to do as well as I could in what I do and that has led me to this point,” said Hess.