Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Tishler, Max, 1907-1989
|Max Tishler (1907-89), A1928, H1956, has been called Tufts' most illustrious chemistry graduate. He was a professor of chemistry at Wesleyan University and director of research at Merck & Company.|
Born in Boston in 1907, his pharmaceutical career began when, as a child, he was an errand boy for the neighborhood pharmacy and was exposed to the suffering and death that occurred in the 1919 influenza epidemic. While a pre-med student at Tufts, he continued working in a pharmacy, earning certification as a pharmacist. This interest changed his focus to chemistry. He went on from Tufts to earn master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard in 1932 and 1934, and was recruited by George W. Merck in 1937. At Merck he worked to isolate and then synthesize vitamins B2, B6, K1, and E and led the team that made penicillin production a reality. He also directed the development of drugs for heart disease, hypertension, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis.
When he retired from Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories in 1970 as vice president for research, he was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and had received numerous honors and awards. He joined Wesleyan University "to teach, to become involved with students, and to continue to reflect and speak and write about sciences, social issues, and national policy." He wrote and published more than 100 papers and was granted well over 100 U.S. patents. As an emeritus professor, he was elected to the U.S. Commerce Department's Inventors' Hall of Fame and received the National Medal of Science.
He became a trustee of Tufts in 1950 and was elected a life trustee in 1965. He contributed to the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for excellence in teaching and advising of students. From his time as life trustee and trustee emeritus he is fondly remembered for his characteristic urge to reflect and speak and write. He said that at Tufts he "was taught both the joy of scholarly pursuits and what it means to be a warm human being and a good citizen."
Max Tishler died March 18, 1989, at the age of eighty-two.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.