Celebrating the 100th birthday of Edward Leong Way

Edward (Eddie) Leong Way, BS, MS, PhD, celebrated his 100th birthday on July 1, 2016, with more than 70 colleagues, friends, and family at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center.

Eddie—as he is known—studied at what was then called the College of Pharmacy of the University of California (on Parnassus Heights in San Francisco), earning a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1942. His PhD was preceded by an MS in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1940, and a BS in pharmacy in 1938 from what would later become the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

His degrees were granted by UC Berkeley, since the San Francisco campus of the University of California was not independent until 1964. Thus, Way is considered UCSF’s oldest living PhD alumnus in pharmaceutical chemistry—unofficially.

The luncheon celebration included a welcome by William Schmidt, PhD, one of Way’s former pharmaceutical chemistry graduate student mentees. William Schmidt is the grandson of Carl Schmidt, PhD, who served as dean of the College of Pharmacy from 1937 to 1944. Joyce Chan, who served as Way’s professional assistant for many years, also welcomed the guests.

Links and Resources: the life of E. Leong Way

Video Oral History: E. Leong Way Oral History: Archives and Special Collections at the UCSF Library (October 21, 2014; 36 minutes)

Video Interview: Ginny’s… Where East Meets West: Eddie Leong Way (13 minutes)

Collected papers: E. Leong Way Papers: Archives and Special Collections at the UCSF Library

Offering greetings and a historical perspective on the many years Way studied and taught at UCSF were Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD; Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chair Matthew Jacobson, PhD; and Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) PhD Program Associate Director Jason Gestwicki, PhD.

CCB students Alexander Martinko and Isabelle Taylor shared their research interests from the perspective of Way’s present-day student counterparts. (The CCB program evolved with the retirement of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry PhD Program.)

Before cake and champagne were served, Emeritus Associate Dean Robert Day, PharmD, presented Way with a plaque from the UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association, which noted Way’s “…intellect, wit, and spirit … as an inspiration to us all.”

Way’s research career focused on opioids—both the underlying chemistry and the social attitudes toward and treatment of opioid addiction. He was a pioneer in serving the public from the platform of his research expertise, and was an influential force in establishing the first methadone maintenance programs in Northern California. He also worked on drafting the Comprehensive Drug Control Act of 1970, which made the possession of drugs of abuse a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

Way was a beloved mentor to generations of UCSF PhD students and a teacher to pharmacy students during his tenure as a professor in the UCSF School of Medicine, from 1949 to 1978. He has been a member of the UCSF emeritus faculty since 1987.

birthday party

Friends, family, and colleagues gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of E. Leong Way. 
All photos: Elisabeth Fall

Eddie Way

Schmidt, Way, Chan

Left to right: William Schmidt, E. Leong Way, Joyce Chan

Martinko, Taylor, Dalfen

Left to right: Alexander Martinko, Isabelle Taylor, Angela Dalfen. Alexander and Isabelle spoke at the event; they are PhD students in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) Program. Angela Dalfen is Director of Alumni Relations for UCSF School of Pharmacy and Graduate Division.

Schmidt, Guglielmo, Troy Daniels, Leslie Daniels

Left to right: William Schmidt, Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, Troy Daniels, Leslie Daniels,

Shoichet, Gestwicki, Day, Jacobson

Left to right: Brian Shoichet, Jason Gestwicki, Robert Day, Matt Jacobson



School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, PharmD Degree Program, CCB, PSPG, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, BMI

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.