Ernest H. Volwiler

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Ernest Henry Volwiler (August 22, 1893-October 3, 1992) spent his entire career at Abbott Laboratories working his way from staff chemist to CEO.

A Hamilton, Ohio native, Volwiler received a bachelor's degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1914 and a Masters degree and Ph. D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, working under Prof. Roger Adams. He was a pioneer in the field of anesthetic pharmacology, assisting in the development of two breakthrough drugs, Nembutal and Pentothal. In addition to his achievements as a scientist, Volwiler was instrumental in helping Abbott to achieve commercial success for its pharmaceutical products including the commercialization of penicillin and sulfa drugs during World War II. Abbott Laboratories produced significant financial returns during his tenure as CEO.

Volwiler was an active community leader and philanthropist serving, among others, on the boards of Lake Forest College and the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation. He made major philanthropic gifts to his alma maters Miami University and the University of Illinois as well as to Lake Forest College. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his work on Pentothal.

Volwiler received honorary degrees from Northwestern University, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Southwestern at Memphis, Coe College, Knox College and Lake Forest College. Other honors include the IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute in 1955, the American Chemical Society's Priestley Medal in 1958, and the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Chemists in 1960.

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy gives the Volwiler Research Achievement Award in Volwiler's memory.

Volwiler's brother was the noted Ohio University historian, Albert T. Volwiler.

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