His name is familiar to every student who enters the school Behrakis Health Sciences Centerwhich has been a leading establishment in its discipline for two decades.
It is named after George D. Behrakis, the Bouvé College of Health Sciences graduate whose groundbreaking career as an entrepreneur and philanthropist was launched by his degree in pharmacy from Northeastern in 1957.
Behrakis personifies Northeast success, said Carmen Sceppa, the dean of Bouvé. It’s a story of seized opportunities and a pivotal turning point that followed his graduation to the Vietnam War-era Northeast.
“I was headed to Vietnam,” Behrakis said. “One of the colonels came up to me and said, ‘I realize you’re a pharmacist.’ »
He proposed transferring Behrakis to a new military hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, where there was an urgent need for pharmacists.
“It changed my whole career,” Behrakis said, “because I met a lot of people from all over the country and all over the world.”
After his military service, Behrakis chose to work in research for McNeil Laboratories in Philadelphia, purchased by Johnson and Johnson, the developer of Tylenol, which Behrakis helped commercialize.
“The marketing people thought it wasn’t a good name,” Behrakis recalls. “But the vice president said, ‘We’re going to keep that name.’ Well, $42 billion a year later is a pretty good name.
Behrakis’ move from research to marketing created another life-changing opportunity.
“I didn’t know anything about marketing, sales,” said Behrakis, who considered a career in hospital pharmacy. “And from there, I learned skills that I didn’t know. »
After leaving Johnson and Johnson, Behrakis would create and then sell each of his two companies, Dooner Laboratories and Muro Pharmaceuticals, which had developed a wide range of products for allergies, asthma, eye care and other areas of need.
Behrakis returned to his alma mater Wednesday to share his story with nearly 200 Bouvé graduates during the Doctor of Clinical and Practice graduation ceremony at Matthews Arena. While presenting his career to graduates, he applied his own marketing lessons: he transformed complex details into simple, fundamental achievements. They were launched as a simple and unobtrusive call to action.
“The opportunity is there,” he said. “What you need to do is understand the steps to be able to move forward, whether you are in physical therapy, whether you work in a hospital, whether you start your own business, whether you work in nursing or pharmacy .”
Sceppa defined it in an inspiring and relevant way.
“The son of Greek immigrants who worked in the factories of Lowell, Massachusetts, Dr. Behrakis used his degree from Northeastern to launch a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry,” Sceppa told the audience. . “As founder of Dooner Laboratories and president of Muro Pharmaceuticals, he significantly advanced the treatment of asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases. »
Either way, Behrakis insisted, it’s important to pursue work you enjoy and continue to educate yourself like he did, which allows him to stay abreast of medical advances and public needs over the years.
“You never give up,” Behrakis said, pausing for a moment to let the message sink in. “Think positive, be positive, act positive. You’re going to go through a lot of adversity in life, a lot of negatives. Be positive. Stay positive.”
Ian Thomsen is a reporter for Northeastern Global News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @IanatNU.