In Memory of
Varro "Tip" Tyler
December 19, 1926 - August 22, 2001

presented by
Charles O. Rutledge
September 4, 2001

The Lafayette Rotary Club, Purdue University, the world of Pharmacy, and mankind suffered a great loss on August 22, 2001 when Tip Tyler died. I would like to describe briefly some things about Tip's life and accomplishments, which you may not know. Tip's given name was Varro, which was the same as his father's name. His father was named Varro from an ancient Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro who lived from 116 to 27 BC. He is thought to be Rome's greatest scholar. Tip's father was an attorney with a love for botany, which he passed on to his son. Tip knew the genus and species names of all the common herbs and plants especially those indigenous to Indiana. Tip was classically trained and he loved books, history, poetry, traveling to ancient places. He grewup in Nebraska and became familiar with pharmacy from his first job at the age of 12 where he worked in the local corner drug store. He went to the University of Nebraska where he joined the same social fraternity as his even more famous fraternity brother Johnny Carson. We have a photograph that we published in the Purdue Pharmacist with Tip standing next to Johnny in a group fraternity picture photo. After receiving his pharmacy degree at Nebraska, he followed his mentor, Arthur Schwarting, to the University of Connecticut where he received his Ph.D. degree in pharmacognosy. He was a proud pharmacognosist throughout his life. Pharmacognosy is the study of the derivation of drugs from plants. After beginning his academic career at the University of Washington, Tip came to Purdue as Dean of the School of Pharmacy in 1966, where he served for twenty years. He was then made Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and he served for four and one-half years.

Tip was well known in three areas primarily. He was an outstanding scholar: the author of 363 research publications and 28 books including their multiple editions. He is the author of the popular book "Hoosier Home Remedies" which is the number one best seller of Purdue University Press. He is the world authority on the chemical composition of herbal mixtures. This has led to numerous appearances on the Phil Donahue show. He was recently featured on the Today Show with Katy Kouric. It was only a couple of years ago when there was a full page spread on Tip in USA Today. He was an accomplished administrator and leader in pharmacy education and in University Administration. He has been president of several national organizations including the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, the accrediting agency in Pharmacy. He was also the world authority on forgeries of Japanese stamps. His monthly column in a stamp collector's journal was eagerly read by philatelists around the world.

But it is for his personal qualities that most of us will remember Tip. He was kind, modest and a role model for a gentleman. His deep sonorous voice was to be envied especially when he gave a speech. He had an enviable memory. He could finish the stanza if you would give him a line of poetry by any of the classical poets. He especially knew, Tennyson, Kipling, Wordsworth and Whitman. To tell you a little more about Tip as person, Jim Fenn, who Tip counted among his closest friends would like to say a few words.

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