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Alumni Legacy and Success

In the course of its nearly two centuries of existence, the University has launched the careers of many innovative and pioneering individuals in the field of health care, including the founders of six of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies:

  • Dr. Eli Lilly (class of 1907) and his father, Josiah K. Lilly (Class of 1882)—founders of Eli Lilly and Company
  • Gerald F. Rorer (class of 1931)—founder of Rorer Pharmaceuticals, which is now Sanofi
  • William R. Warner (class of 1856)—founder William R. Warner & Co., which became Warner-Lambert before merging with Pfizer Inc.
  • Robert L. McNeil, Jr. (class of 1938) and his grandfather, Robert McNeil (class of 1876)—founder of McNeil Laboratories Inc., which was split into two separate corporations: McNeil Consumer Products Company (now McNeil Consumer Healthcare) and McNeil Pharmaceutical (now part of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)
  • John Wyeth (class of 1854)—founder of John Wyeth & Brother, which is now part of Pfizer
  • Silas M. Burroughs (class of 1877) and Sir Henry S. Wellcome (class of 1874)—founders in England of Burroughs Wellcome and Company, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline

Alumni have made significant contributions in fields beyond pharmacy, from pioneering the use of X-rays (Martin Wilbert, pharmacy—class of 1890) to motor oil additives (Vincent J. Cease, pharmacy—class of 1956) to rechargeable batteries (Paul J. Nigrey, Chemistry—class of 1970). Alumni have either created or contributed to the invention of many well-known products, including:

  • Hires® root beer extract
  • Photocopy toner and electrographic inks
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silicone-based adhesives
  • Water repellency treatments
  • Gas discharge laser development
  • Plant growth regulators
  • Physical rehabilitation equipment and devices

Numerous modern-era alumni have made contributions in nearly every aspect of pharmacy, science, and health sciences. Some of our alumni’s remarkable discoveries that have had a global impact include:

  • Invention of medical ultrasound gels that allow expectant parents to get their first glimpse of their unborn child (Martin Buchalter, Pharmacy - 1955)
  • Development of advanced time-release formula, found in many over-the-counter and prescription medications (Dr. Gerald P. Polli, Pharmacy - 1956)
  • An arthritis drug that may hold the key to preventing and possibly curing cancer (Dr. Philip Needleman, Pharmacy - 1960, MS Pharmacology - 1962)
  • Design of a portable infusion pump that delivers antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other medication solutions intravenously (Glenn Herskowitz, Pharmacy -1983)
  • Discovery of an inherited adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutation in individuals predisposed to colon cancer that can be detected by a simple blood test (Dr. Kenneth Kinzler, Pharmacology/Toxicology - 1983)
  • Invention of a machine that helps patients regain range of motion after a knee injury (Michelle Fontana, Master of Physical Therapy - 1990)

And recent alumni have showcased many talents:

  • Riolama Lorenzo HS’06 is retiring at the end of March as Pennsylvania Ballet’s principal dancer.
  • When he is not practicing pharmacy, Mayank Amin PharmD’09 is acting in Bollywood type films and most recently was a featured extra in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Air Bender.”
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