2004 UW Honorary Citation Report – Zografi

George D. Zografi’s father, an Albanian immigrant, was a pharmacist and owned an apothecary shop located on the southern side of Manhattan Island, near the entrance of today’s Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Growing up, Zografi worked in the familiy pharmacy, even after his father’s death when George was 11.

In 1956, he received his BS in pharmacy from the Columbia University College of Pharmacy where he was president of his sophmore, junior, and senior classes. He earned his master’s in 1958 and his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1960 at the University of Michigan. During graduate school, Zografi served as a teaching assistant and for thee years received a Lilly Endowment Research Fellowship.

At Columbia, he served as assistant professor from 1960 to 1964. In 1961 he made his first trip to Madison to attend an AACP Teacher’s Seminar, and it was there that he became aware of the potential of monomolecular films and their applications to pharmaceutical and biomedical problems.

For eight years, he was associate professor in Ann Arbor. He spent 1970-71 as a Pfeiffer Memorial Fellow of the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education, conducting research at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

At age 36, he joined the UW School of Pharmacy faculty as a full professor of pharmaceutics. Just three years later, he succeeded Dr. David Perlman as Dean of the School and served as such from 1975 to 1980, while still maintaining his full load of undergraduate and graduate teaching. As dean, Zografi helped expand the School’s clinical pharmacy program and his administration saw the creation of the minority affairs program for the School. He also helped initiate and co-author the book, The University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, Its First Century.

His interdisciplinary and collegial orientation led him to serve as a member of the UW Biophysics Program from 1973 to 1996, and as a member of the Material Sciences Program from 1987 to 1996. His talents were extended to visiting scientist roles at Upjohn as well as at Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Currently, he is a consultant and study director at SSCI, Inc. of West Lafayette, Ind. Zografi received the School’s Edward Kremers named professorship in 1997 and held that title until his retirement in 2002.

Zografi served as president of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and of the American Association of Colleges in Pharmacy. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Columbia University’s College of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1976 for his teaching and research accomplishments. The College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan named him Distinguished Alumnus of 1980 and Distinguished PhD Graduate in 1988. He has earned the AphA Ebert Research Achievement Award for the Stimulation of Research in 1988. The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists presented him with the Dale Wuster Research Award in Pharmaceutics in 1990, the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award in 1995, and their inaugural Outstanding Educator Award in 2002. AACP recognized his contributions to higher education with a Distinguished Educator Award in 1989 and presented him in 1996 with the Ernest Volwiler Award for Research Achhievement. Finally he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in 1989, a tribute to his demonstrated scientific leadership.

In the last few years, it has been the work of Zografi, along with Drs. Connors and Weinswig, that has provided the vision and energy to lead the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station to its rebirth.