UB to Award Posthumous Degree to Henry A. Panasci

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: August 12, 2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The late Henry A. Panasci, Jr., a University at Buffalo graduate who co-founded the Fay's drugstore chain, then turned it into a multifaceted billion-dollar corporation, will receive an honorary doctoral degree from the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences during its annual white coat ceremony to be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 25.

His son, David Panasci, will accept the degree on behalf of his family.

UB President John B. Simpson noted that "through his own personal example of leadership, excellence, and dedicated citizenship, Mr. Panasci has left a rich and enduring legacy to his alma mater.

"His remarkable achievements and contributions as a pioneering leader in the pharmacy industry, and his steadfast commitment to advancing the communities of which he was a part, exemplify the highest ideals to which our entire university community aspires," Simpson added. "Through this honorary doctorate -- the highest honor conferred by the State University of New York -- UB pays grateful tribute to the integrity, vision and leadership that have so greatly enriched our academic and regional communities."

Wayne K. Anderson, dean of the UB pharmacy school, said the school and the entire UB community are honored to be able to recognize Panasci.

"His ability to enhance the delivery of pharmacy services to the community has had an extremely positive impact on the profession of pharmacy," Anderson said. "The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is privileged to have him as an alumnus and a benefactor."

Panasci, who died in April, gave $1 million to the university in 1999 to create a competition that encourages students and recent alumni to become entrepreneurs. The Henry A. Panasci, Jr., Technology Entrepreneurship Competition is organized by the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Graduating from UB with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1948, Panasci returned to earn a bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1952. He co-founded Fay's Drugs in 1958 with his father, Henry A. Panasci, a 1925 graduate of the UB School of Pharmacy. The younger Panasci was at the helm when

Fay's diversified beyond its core drugstore business, launching The Paper Cutter and Wheels Discount Auto Supply. At the time of its merger with a large national retailer in 1996, Fay's had more than 270 retail locations and more than $1 billion in annual sales.

A recognized community and business leader, Panasci was chairman of the board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and won that organization's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Panasci received the UB Alumni Association's Samuel P. Capen Award in 1998 in recognition of his contributions to the university. In 1986, he received the UB Distinguished Alumnus Award. At the time of his death, Panasci was chairman of the Cygnus Management Group, LLC, in Syracuse.

Jeanette Altavela, Pharm.D., an alumna of the pharmacy school, and a consulting clinical pharmacist for the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association, will provide remarks at the white coat ceremony. SUNY Trustee Gordon Gross will assist with the presentation of the honorary degree.