Contraceptive Pill 'Father' Gets Honorary Diploma from American College of Sofia

Society | May 8, 2013, Wednesday // 18:59| Views: | Comments: 0
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Contraceptive Pill 'Father' Gets Honorary Diploma from American College in Sofia: Contraceptive Pill 'Father' Gets Honorary Diploma from American College of Sofia Professor Carl Djerassi, photo by

Prominent chemist, Prof Carl Djerassi, will receive an honorary diploma from the American College of Sofia on Friday, May10.

Djerassi has been enrolled and studied at the American College of Sofia before World War II.

The American High School (College) of Sofia informed Wednesday that the ceremony will be held at the school beginning at 10 am in Whitaker Auditorium in the presence of the members of the Board of Trustees, College alumni from Dr. Djerassi's own Class of 1942, media representatives, current students and teachers. The diploma will be handed by the School's President, Dr. Paul Kasper Johnson.

After attending the school for a year and a half, he moved to the United States where he pursued higher education without actually graduating from high school. Dr. Djerassi is most famous for developing the oral contraceptive pill. He is also a novelist and playwright. He is emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University.

Carl Djerassi was born in Vienna, Austria. His mother was Alice Friedmann, an Ashkenazi Viennese Jew with roots in Galicia, and his father was Dr. Samuel Djerassi, a Bulgarian Sephardic Jew. Samuel Djerassi was a physician who specialized in treating syphilis with the existing arsenical drugs. His successful practice in Sofia was limited to a few wealthy patients, whose treatment lasted for years.

Following his parents' divorce, Djerassi and his mother moved back to Vienna. Until age fourteen, he attended the same realgymnasium that Sigmund Freud had attended many years earlier; he spent summers in Bulgaria with his father. After the Anschluss, his father briefly remarried his mother in 1938 to allow Carl to escape the Nazi regime and flee to Bulgaria, where he lived with his father for a year.

During his time in Bulgaria, Djerassi attended the American College of Sofia. A few years later, Djerassi arrived with his mother in the United States, nearly penniless—they had only in their pockets, which was swindled from them by a taxicab driver. Djerassi's mother worked in a group practice in upstate New York. In 1949 his father emigrated to the United States and eventually settled near his son in San Francisco.

Djerassi briefly attended Tarkio College (now defunct), then studied chemistry at Kenyon College, which is famous for literary criticism and the Kenyon Review. He graduated summa cum laude. In 1945, he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin.

More about the Professor and his work read HERE.

The American College of Sofia is one of the oldest American educational institutions outside the United States. It traces its roots directly to a school for boys opened in Philipopolis by American missionaries for the 1860-61 school year. These missionaries, led by Dr. James F. Clarke, opened a school for girls at Stara Zagora three years later and those two schools grew into the American College.

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Tags: Carl Djerassi, chemists, American College of Sofia, honorary diploma, contraceptive pill
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