Stephen Giroux ’81 went into business for himself in 1983 when he purchased a drug store in partnership with a fellow UB pharmacy school alumnus.
Since then, he’s become an owner or co-owner of eight businesses: pharmacies, gift shops and medical supply stores. His properties include Lockport Home Medical, the Middleport Family Health Center and Transit Hill Pharmacy in Depew.
Though successful as an entrepreneur, Giroux continues to believe that counseling and advocating for patients lies at the heart of his profession.
“Interaction with patients is what I’ve loved and really enjoyed about pharmacy, and I’ve encouraged my colleagues throughout my career that that should be the focus of what we do as pharmacists,” he said.
When the opportunity arose to make a donation for a counseling and assessment room in the Pharmacy Building, it felt like a perfect fit. Giroux gave $50,000 to the building, and the school has named the Giroux Family Patient Assessment and Counseling Room in honor of the gift.
He and his wife have four biological and three adopted children, ranging in age from college graduates to a four-year-old girl. At least two are planning to enter careers in pharmacy—one daughter is enrolled in a California graduate program, while a son is a student in the pre-pharmacy program at Roberts Wesleyan College.
“I owe my very gratifying success in life and in this profession to the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy,” Giroux said. “My gift was an opportunity to give back to the school at a time when they’re doing something quite exciting.”
Giroux’s advocacy for patient-centered work goes well beyond his donation to the Pharmacy Building. He has been particularly active in professional societies, a passion that began during his years as a UB student and brought him all the way to the presidency of the National Community Pharmacy Association. Becoming the association’s president took 14 years and culminated with travel around the world, representing American community pharmacists at venues such as a Bayer meeting in Berlin, a Federation of International Pharmacists meeting in Switzerland, and meetings and speaking engagements all over the United States.
“I think it really helps for students to get involved now with professional organizations, to expose themselves to different aspects of the profession,” Giroux said, adding that the profession benefits from their involvement, while the students benefit from the networking opportunities and exposure to real-world issues.
In addition to his service to the pharmacy profession, Giroux also has been involved extensively at his alma mater, participating in the preceptor program, serving as a Dean’s Alumni Ambassador, interviewing prospective students for the admissions office and delivering guest lectures in the classroom. He has been a loyal supporter of the golf tournament and a longtime member of the Gregory Society.
His motivation? The quality of the education he received at UB, where hands-on experiences working for professors prepared him for the practical work of community pharmacy. At the same time, he added, the pharmacy school’s emphasis on scientific research also served him well, planting the seeds for adaptability throughout his career.
“The education was just great and prepared me well for lifelong learning and a lifelong ability to adapt as the profession changes,” he said. “I think the diversity of things we were exposed to was tremendous and laid the foundation for us to be able to understand and learn and adapt to the technologies in health care and pharmaceutical care that have evolved over the last 25 years.”