Meher & Eugene Garfield, Ph.D., HD ’04
“By supporting something as permanent as education, they are able to offer someone a path to a better life and consequently create a better world community.”
Eugene and Meher Garfield believe we all have an obligation to give back to the community. To that end, the main focus of their philanthropy is to aid in the ending of homelessness and to provide an opportunity for underserved students to gain education.
As one of the founding fathers of bibliometrics and scientometrics, which forever changed the world of medical, scientific and technological research, Dr. Garfield is one of the most widely known names in information and library sciences. Among other fellowships and scholarships, the Garfields support students at Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) as well as the College of Medicine.
A scholarship recipient himself, Dr. Garfield prefers to directly support the education of bright, worthy students to other forms of philanthropic giving. Through The Eugene and Meher Garfield DUCA Scholars Endowed Fund, they can award scholarships to economically underserved high school students from the Philadelphia area to attend the Drexel University Computing Academy (DUCA) at the College of Computing and Informatics.
DUCA is a five-week residential summer computing program for qualified high school students interested in exploring a variety of fields related to information technology, computer science, business and art in a college setting. The Garfields feel that it is important to provide opportunities for economically underserved and technology-minded high school students to attend this exciting program.
“Helping those kids get a unique education is very gratifying for us,” he said.
Dr. Garfield founded the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in Philadelphia in the 1950s. In 1979 ISI built a new headquarters at 3501 Market Street—the building was sold to Drexel a few years ago and is now occupied by the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. The move to West Philadelphia was the start of Dr. Garfield’s relationship with the community. As he explained, “Meher and I would drive through Mantua and Powelton Village every day for decades to reach ISI. We were well aware of what West Philadelphia was like and it seemed so ironic to be living there and being profitable and yet not have the people from that area be recognized.”
In addition to supporting CCI, Dr. Garfield established the Drexel College of Medicine’s Edith Wolf and Ernest Garofano Endowed Scholarship Fund in the name of his mother and stepfather. Established in 1994, while the College of Medicine was still the Medical College of Pennsylvania, the scholarship was originally designed to provide medical education for minority students from West Philadelphia who dreamed of someday becoming doctors. The scholarship has been awarded to 21 students from around the country since its inception and the Garfields are hoping that one day soon, a worthy recipient will rise and be chosen from their beloved West Philadelphia.
The Garfields also support the CCI through the Belver Griffith Research Award and Lecture Series. This award provides research assistance for graduate students with professional interests in the evaluation of library and information systems and services, quantitative studies of science and communication in science. The public lecture series at Drexel included a talk in 2011 by Dr. Susan Cullen, an expert in the field of intellectual property. The two-part tribute to Professor Griffith was Dr. Garfield’s way of honoring a friend and Drexel faculty member.
Eugene and Meher summed up their general giving philosophy by saying “education is wealth that can only grow.” By supporting something as permanent as education, they are able to offer someone a path to a better life and consequently create a better world community.