Studying at Wayne State University

Adventures in Pharmacy School

Decision to go to Pharmacy School 

After Eugene graduated from Detroit’s Central High School, he attended Wayne State University along with many of his high school classmates. When he started college, Gene had hopes of becoming a lawyer. His parents swayed him from that idea because in those days it was not easy for a Jew to become a lawyer if you did not have the right connections. Also since his brother who was four years older was a pharmacist, Gene decided to select pharmacy school.

Social Life at Wayne State University 

While at Wayne State, Gene joined the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, and his social life centered around Jewish fraternities and sororities. He loved every part of being a “brother,” particularly the camaraderie and the friendships. Gene and his friends would go to dances at the Veteran’s Memorial at the Detroit River, which was considered ‘very fancy’ at the time. Afterwards, they would go to Boesky’s on 12th Street for a corned beef sandwich for 35 cents. He often reflected that those big nights out were the best!

In 1960, Gene graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Wayne State University. 

Studying at WSU BG
 	Studying at WSU - Fraternity
Sigma Alpha Mu's letters, 1958
Studying at WSU
Gene and his friends & classmates, Wayne State University, 1957
Studying at WSU
Wayne State University, late 1950's
"My parents convinced me that I could always do law after I finished pharmacy. Pharmacy was a more guaranteed profession where you could make a guaranteed income and you could get a job."

Breaking History: Gene’s Contribution to Wayne State University 

Close to 40 years later, in 1998, Gene contributed the largest individual gift in the history of Wayne State University, designating it for the construction of a new pharmacy school. That same year, his alma mater granted him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

In September 2001, Wayne State’s Board of Governors renamed the college in honor of Gene’s philanthropic work. In 2002, the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences opened its doors in the heart of the Wayne State campus.

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Andrew Echt

Director, Applebaum Family Philanthropy