Marvin Samson had wanted to be a pharmacist, but he couldn’t afford to go to pharmacy school.
Instead, he went to Temple University at night to get his bachelor’s in chemistry. Samson went on to start two generic injectable drug manufacturers that were eventually acquired by bigger firms.
The first was Elkins-Sinn Inc. in 1967. Now owned by Baxter Healthcare Inc., the business remains one of the biggest U.S. makers of generic injectables.
The second was Cherry Hill’s Marsam Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 1985. It was bought by Schein Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 1995 for $240 million.
Once unable to afford pharmacy school, Samson, through his business success, was able to make charitable gifts to support them, including helping the nation’s oldest, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, improve its West Philadelphia campus.
As he puts it, he’s gotten to live the American dream - twice. That’s not to suggest he’s retired. He runs Samson Medical Technologies L.L.C. and serves on the boards of several companies, as well as the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Sometime this fall, the University of the Sciences will honor Samson’s dedication by renaming its College of Health Sciences after him.
He called having his name on one of the university’s five colleges the “greatest honor of my life.” Samson would not say how much he’s donated to the university. “To me, giving is a private and personal thing,” he said.
Spokesman Brian Kirschner would say only that Samson has been one of the university’s “lifetime donors” for years. That designation means a donor has given more than $1 million.
The Samson College of Health Sciences, which offers majors in occupational therapy and physical therapy, will be the third college at the University of the Sciences to bear an individual’s name.
The Misher College of Arts and Sciences was renamed in 2000 for Allen Misher, the university’s president from 1983 through 1994.
The Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, dedicated in May 2008, is named for Kathleen Mayes, who started Applied Clinical Communications Inc., of Parsippany, N.J., in 1991. She sold it to UnitedHealth Group Inc. in 2000.
Note: An earlier version of this posting had the incorrect purchase price of Marsam by Schein Pharmaceuticals.