The newest member of Georgetown University's Legacy Society comes from a family of farmers—six generations, in fact, who have farmed in southern Jersey since 1888—and wanted to help others. An aunt, who was a nun, insisted that he have a Catholic education. When the time came for college, it was decided that Joseph Riggs (C'55, M'59) would go to Georgetown. It was, according to his aunt, "the best Catholic college in America."
It was a choice that Joe never regretted. After College, he went on to the School of Medicine, then did a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He entered private practice in Haddonfield, New Jersey, where he has had a successful practice ever since. Joe and his wife Lola have six children, four of whom are also Hoyas: John (C'81, M'85), Lo-Ann (C'82), James (C'86, L'89), and Lorina (N'88, MBA'91).
Joe has delivered over 4,000 babies and performed over 6,000 operations. No longer delivering babies or doing surgery, he recently "cut back" to four full days of office practice.
His favorite hobby harks back to the ancestral vocation: he loves planting trees, shrubs, and flowers, and does all the gardening and landscaping for his homes and those of his children. An ardent sports fan, he also has season's tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies and the '76ers.
Says Joe, "My eight years at Georgetown were the most wonderful years of my life! I credit my being a doctor to three things. The first was my deep desire to become a physician so that I would be able to do good, to help and serve others, and to show compassion for patients when they were in need. The second was having kind, caring, interested, and loving parents who gave me the means to be educated at Georgetown. And the third was Georgetown: the students, faculty, administration, and Jesuits who gave me the foundation and education necessary to become a fine physician."
Joe's philosophy is that "A life well-lived is a debt well paid. Although I can never repay my accumulated debts, I am proud to have paid my dues: to my patients, to my family, to my community, to organized medicine, and to my beloved Georgetown."
"All of the above made it possible for me to care for people for the past several decades. In return, since graduation I have always loved, served, and given resources to Georgetown. Now I am happy to give a bequest, so that future students may also have the opportunity to become a Georgetown physician."
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