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From Immigrant to Distinguished Pharmacist, Griffith Made his Mark on PCP

Published on December 14, 2020

Ivor Griffith, PD 1912 PhM 1921He received the Remington Medal, edited The American Journal of Pharmacy, and served as PCP’s dean and president, simultaneously. But when Ivor Griffith first arrived in the United States, he was still a teenager, and could scarcely have imagined the impact he would make on the discipline, or its most historic school.

Griffith’s family emigrated from Wales to Bangor, PA, where his father served as a Presbyterian minister. As a young man, Griffith apprenticed himself to a local pharmacist, Edwin Eisenhart, who happened to be a PCP graduate. Eisenhart recommended Griffith attend the school to further his natural aptitude for pharmacy. When Griffith arrived in Philadelphia in 1910, he was beginning what would become a more than 50-year affiliation with the college.

Griffith earned a doctor of pharmacy in just two years at PCP, and began his practice at South Kensington’s Stetson Hospital, the dedicated health center accompanying the namesake hat factory. He advanced at Stetson, lending his scientific expertise not just to the hospital, but also the manufacturing process, and at the same time honed his teaching and research at PCP. He worked his way up to dean of the College in 1937, and in 1941, president.

In addition to his academic, research, and editorial responsibilities, Griffith served as the APhA’s Research Director, and apparently still had time to write books of poetry. One notable event in Griffith’s tenure was his organization of the country’s first quinine pool. In 1942, after the U.S. had entered WWII, Griffith was the first to help collect stores of the antimalarial medicine for the war effort. The world’s quinine supply had fallen to the Axis powers, and the drug was essential for the health of American troops, especially those fighting in the Pacific. Other pools soon followed, and the APhA had collected more than 17,000 shipments by the end of the effort. 

In 1966, five years after his death, PCP rededicated the campus’ oldest building in his honor, enshrining Griffith for many years to come.

Categories: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Alumni, Proven Everywhere, History, Bicentennial