The University of Houston Magazine

A Mentor’s Influence

Alumnus Inspired by His UH Education Supports Chemistry Fellowship.

by Kelli Ferrell

For Dr. Herman Suit (B.A. ’48), a long and distinguished career in medicine began in a downtown Houston shoe store.

Knowing the importance of an education, and not wanting to burden his family with the cost of college, Suit earned the money for his tuition at the University of Houston by selling ladies shoes.

Herman Suit“The cost (at UH) was very low and I was able to make sufficient money to pay for college tuition and books,” Suit says. “My family was from a lower economic class, so I knew I needed to make an effort.”

Growing up, his career interest leaned strongly toward science and medicine, but it wasn’t until he encountered UH chemistry professor Eby Nell McElrath that he became “stimulated and enthused with chemistry.”

“I had to take chemistry to be a candidate for medical school, but I was not impressed until organic chemistry,” Suit says. “(McElrath’s class) was intellectually stimulating, exciting and provocative.

“She was the best of any of the teachers at any school,” he says. “She had a major influence on me … deciding on a research-oriented career in medicine.”

And with that enthusiasm, he entered medical school intending to specialize in endocrinology, the most chemically based medical discipline. After graduating from UH, he entered Baylor Medical School at age 19 where he received a Master of Science degree in biochemistry in addition to the M.D. During this time, Suit also studied atomic and nuclear physics, as well as radiation biology, at The University of Texas. It was there he discovered that patients with laryngeal cancer could be cured by radiation alone and retain their vocal cords and a near-normal voice, i.e., avoid surgectical resection of the larynx. So he chose the field of radiation oncology, something his professors discouraged. They believed new drugs on the market would eradicate cancer by the time he finished his residency.

I am proud to have been able to support a postdoctoral fellow, named for the best teacher in my entire career.

Suit didn’t let the discouragement get to him — he went on to Oxford University in England where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in 1956. He thought upon returning he would be drafted and sent to Korea, but two months before his return, he applied and was accepted to the National Cancer Institute and Public Health Service. Two years later he was hired by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to develop a section of Experimental Radiation Therapy and have his time 50 percent in the clinic and 50 percent in the laboratory.

In 1970, Suit was recruited to the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School to develop the newly created department of Radiation Oncology. He has now been there for 40 years. Though he stopped practicing medicine at age 78 — he says he didn’t feel as comfortable working with patients with a potentially fatal disease at that age — he still remains involved as the Andres Soriano Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School.

“I am writing and teaching full time now,” says Suit, who is now 81. “I am putting in more hours, but am enjoying my career!”

Suit and his wife, Joan, a retired senior research scientist, have long recognized their good fortune and enjoy being able to give back. Their scope of philanthropy is vast, but when they decided to establish a fellowship at the University of Houston, it was clear to Suit who it should honor: his former professor.

In 2007, the Eby Nell McElreth Fellowship in Chemistry was established.

“I am proud to have been able to support a postdoctoral fellow, named for the best teacher in my entire career. She was numero uno, and that was even more impressive back in the day that the best teacher was a young woman,” Suit says. “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have part of my education at the University of Houston, and I have deeply enjoyed helping participate in increasing the scope (of education) for young students.”

Intrinsic Satisfaction in Giving

A Passion for Pharmacy Leads Alumnus to Create Presidential Endowed Fellowships.

by Kelli Ferrell

AbboudThough he grew up in Lebanon, Bourjois Abboud (’96, M.B.A. ’02) knew he wanted to come to the United States to pursue a higher education. Following his sister’s footsteps and his passion for science, he enrolled in the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.

“UH offered me the best of both worlds: nationally recognized College of Pharmacy and the convenience of a big city,” Abboud says. “Pharmacy and the science involved in it always intrigued me; therefore, it was a natural decision.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and his M.B.A. from the C.T. Bauer College of Business, Abboud channeled his inner “maverick” and decided working for himself was the best way to reach his potential.

In 2005, he and his wife, Micheline, started Advanced Pharma, Inc., which focuses on pharmaceutical compounding and outsourcing.

“Advanced Pharma, Inc., has experienced exponential growth in the past few years and it shows in our client base,” he says. “As for pharmaceutical IV outsourcing, I had a lot of experience in this field and a strong professional network in the city and the state. The goal is to continue to lead the market and set the standards (in this field).”

As a former scholarship recipient at UH, it was natural for Abboud to want to “complete the cycle and give back to the university.”

The Abbouds created two Presidential Endowed Fellowships: one to support a student pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and the other for a graduate student in the college.

“Philanthropy comes from the heart!” says Abboud. “Being able to support my college and give back a portion of what I received gives me a great intrinsic satisfaction.”

Abboud emphasizes that growth and success on the business front will translate into different aspects of life, including UH. “As a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, my goal is to have a role in relocating the College of Pharmacy into a state-of-the-art new building to attract top researchers, educators and students,” he says.

With all the success Abboud has seen and the generosity he shows, pharmacy students will certainly want to follow in his footsteps.

My Thank You

Alumnus Remembers UH in His Giving.

by Kelli Ferrell

Ronald C. BorschowIt was the late 1950s. University of Houston Tau Kappa Epsilon pledges were out to cause trouble and set their sights on Ronald C. Borschow (’58), the fraternity’s treasurer. They kidnapped him and took him to Hermann Park, throwing him in the pond near the Sam Houston Monument, fully clothed. What they didn’t know was Borschow was wearing expensive new shoes.

“When I got out of the pond, I called my house and had my mom pick me up,” Borschow says. “She saw the shoes were ruined. She was burned up, boy was she hot.”

His best friend at the time, who also was the president of TKE, went back to the fraternity house and passed around a hat, collecting money to replace the shoes.

“Things happen in a frat that don’t happen anywhere else,” he says. “I had a ball in those days.”

And those are days Borschow will never forget. Nor will he forget the university that gave him those memories. “UH did right by me,” says Borschow, who received his B.B.A. from the C.T. Bauer College of Business and then worked for the city of Houston for 22 years as a statistician. “Giving back is my way of saying thank you.”

Borschow has established three endowments at UH as part of a planned gift, all in areas close to his heart. “Since I never married, I couldn’t give my parents any grandchildren, so I was going to honor them by establishing scholarships,” says Borschow, now a member of The 1927 Society, a recognition society to thank those who have made a gift through their will like Borschow.

He first created two endowments in the C.T. Bauer College of Business to support student scholarships and visiting faculty.

It was his love of music and opera, instilled in him at a very early age by his mother, that led him to also establish a third endowment to support student and faculty travel in the Moores School of Music, allowing them to perform in competitions and performances.

“I want to give back what I was given,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate over the years thanks to the education I received from the University of Houston.”

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