Meadville Tribune

February 22, 2013

Dr. Nesbitt receives Gov. Shafer Award

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

VERNON TOWNSHIP — “It’s a great privilege to be even considered for this award,” Dr. John Nesbitt, a long-time Meadville area physician said after stepping to the podium to accept the Gov. Raymond P. Shafer Distinguished Community Service Award.

Dr. Nesbitt was honored Wednesday night at the Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Awards Night held at the Movies at Meadville in Vernon Township.

Nesbitt spent most of his career as a physician with a specialty in internal medicine and since his retirement from Pioneer Medical Associates in 1998 has been active with the Meadville Area Free C Clinic. He has served as medical director of the Meadville Area Free Clinic for more than 10 years, following in the footsteps of former partner, Dr. David Kirkpatrick, himself a past Shafer Award winner.

“It is worthwhile,” Nesbitt said to a reporter when asked about his continuing work with the clinic. “The people (who go to the clinic) work, but have low-paying jobs. They can’t afford health care.”

“Dave Kirkpatrick got me started in the late 1990s,” he said. “I have no plans to quit it.”

Nesbitt also has been very active over the years in the local medical community as well as the community as whole.

He has been an active supporter and fundraiser for Meadville Medical Center and has served as president of its medical staff. He was a founder of the Crawford Heritage Community Foundation, the area’s philanthropic foundation, and served on its board of directors for 12 years.

Nesbitt and his wife, Lucy, established the E.M. Nesbitt Scholarship Fund with the Presbyterian Foundation many years ago. This fund is named in memory of John’s father, a former pastor at Park Presbyterian Church in Beaver, and provides a scholarship to a high school senior from the Beaver area yearly.

He is an active member of Meadville’s First Presbyterian Church and has held many leadership posts at the church as well.

Nesbitt is a graduate of Swarthmore College and in 1966, earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. His medical residencies were completed at hospitals in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, Mo.

He also is a former officer in the U.S. Navy, having served during the Vietnam War.

He and his wife, Lucy are the parents of three sons, Eric, Andy and Matt.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

What is the Shafer Award?

The Gov. Raymond P. Shafer Distinguished Community Service Award is co-sponsored by Allegheny College, the Shafer Law Firm and the Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce.

It recognizes a person who has made a singular contribution to the quality of life in western Crawford County.

It’s named for former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond P. Shafer, a 1938 magna cum laude graduate of Allegheny who was in public service for more than 50 years. Shafer, a Meadville resident, died Dec. 12, 2006, at age 89.

Shafer’s political career began in 1948 when he was elected Crawford County district attorney; then to the Pennsylvania Senate in 1958; and, in 1962, as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, with William Scranton elected as governor. Shafer successfully ran for governor in 1966, taking office in January 1967 and serving until 1971.

In 1972, Shafer served as chairman of the National Committee on Drug Abuse under former President Richard Nixon. He was chief counsel to Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller from 1974 to 1975 and was chairman of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relation from 1982 to 1992.