George Griffenhagen Receives AIHP’s Robert Fischelis Award

2019 AIHP Fischelis Award Recipient George Griffenhagen

AIHP’s Board of Directors has awarded the 2019 Robert P. Fischelis Award to George B. Griffenhagen for his decades of support of the Institute and his many contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy. Mr. Griffenhagen, 95, has been an AIHP member since 1949. He served in numerous leadership positions at the Institute (including President and Secretary) for more than fifty years between 1956 and 2010.

The Robert P. Fischelis Award is conferred by AIHP’s Board of Directors to persons or organizations that have had an important impact on the field of the history of pharmacy or on the well-being of the Institute. The award is given in honor of the late Robert P. Fischelis, a gifted leader of the pharmacy profession and a generous benefactor of the Institute.

A 1949 graduate of the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Mr. Griffenhagen had a long and distinguished career as a pharmacist, editor, APhA executive, and historian of pharmacy. During his almost forty-year career at the American Pharmacists Association, he served in a variety of positions, including Managing Editor (1959-61) and Editor (1962-76) of the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. He later served as APhA’s Director of International Relations. After his retirement in 1989, he was named APhA’s Honorary President (1990-91). He was awarded the Remington Honor Medal in 1991 for his distinguished service to the pharmacy profession

Throughout his long career, Mr. Griffenhagen actively pursued his deep interest in all aspects of the history of pharmacy. His research generated a steady fifty-year stream of monographs, books and articles, starting in the early 1950s with The Story of California Pharmacy and The Oregon Trail of Pharmacy (with William Felter) and continuing until 1999 with History of Drug Containers and Their Labels (with Mary Bogard). He received AIHP’s Edward Kremers Award in 1969 for a series of ten articles, entitled “Tools of the Apothecary,” published in 1956 in the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. He was inducted into the International Academy for the History of Pharmacy on the basis of his many contributions to the history of pharmacy.

In bestowing the Fischelis Award on Mr. Griffenhagen, AIHP’s Board of Directors cited his active leadership role at the Institute for more than fifty years. The following is a chronology of the leadership positions he held: 

  • 1956-59, 1961-67, 1991-93: Elected Council Member
  • 1959:                                       First Vice President
  • 1960-1961:                             President
  • 1962, 1970-90:                      Council Member Appointed by APhA
  • 1991-2005:                            Secretary
  • 2008-2010                            Honorary President

AIHP’s Board also cited Mr. Griffenhagen’s role in raising the profile of AIHP within the pharmacy profession by, among other things, promoting AIHP’s participation in national pharmacy professional meetings and events. He also took the lead in planning the 1983 International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, the first time AIHP hosted that important biennial event and the first such meeting in the United States.

William Zellmer, AIHP’s President, offered these comments on the Board’s decision to award the Fischelis Award to Mr. Griffenhagen:

“This recognition of Griff is significant to me personally because I have long admired, and taken inspiration from, his contributions to the profession of pharmacy. I remember reading his APhA editorials and appreciating the connections he made between contemporary issues and the history of pharmacy. His long commitment to nurturing AIHP still animates those us who have the privilege of serving the Institute today.”

The Robert P. Fischelis Award will be presented to Mr. Griffenhagen on Saturday, September 7, during the 44th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy in Washington, DC.

AIHP President George Griffenhagen in 1960
George Griffenhagen accepts the gavel as incoming AIHP President at the 1960 AIHP Annual Meeting. From left to right: Glenn Sonnedecker, George Griffenhagen, H. George Wolfe, and Alex Berman. (Photograph courtesy of the AIHP Kremers Reference Files).
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