A Lifelong Relationship Leads to a Legacy

Frederick A. Fuhrman, PhD '44

It was 1941 when the late Frederick A. Fuhrman, a PhD student in pharmacology, arrived at Stanford for a summer project—one that would launch his career as a Stanford professor of physiology.

He began working on war-related cold injuries—which often occur after lengthy exposure to extreme cold—for the U.S. Army's Office of Scientific Research and Development, even before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

"Everybody knew the war was coming," Frederick recalled, "and we were gearing up."

That year, while working as a research associate in physiology, Frederick also met the Stanford student who would one day become his wife. The student, Geraldine Jackson, earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in physiology from Stanford, taught biology to Stanford students, and worked in Stanford labs.

After completing his applied research for the war effort, Frederick shifted to basic physiology research: "I moved over to naturally occurring toxins. In a joint effort with Professor Harry Mosher, a Stanford chemist, we purified and determined the chemical structure of a poisonous toxin from the Japanese puffer fish, a valuable tool for studying the function of nerves."

Given their lifelong dedication to research and education at Stanford, you might not be surprised that Frederick and Geraldine chose the university as the recipient of multiple philanthropic gifts. After Geraldine died, Frederick established a graduate fellowship in her name to support research in the biomedical sciences.

Over the years Frederick also established several charitable gift annuities at Stanford. Before he passed away he received fixed gift annuity payments for life; Now the funds remaining in the annuities are being used to support basic research and preclinical education at the School of Medicine.

"I've always been interested in supporting research and teaching in the basic medical sciences at Stanford," Frederick said. "Charitable gift annuities are a way for me to continue financially, save taxes, and have something left to support basic research after I die."

The Fuhrmans chose Stanford as a beneficiary because its values align with theirs and because the Stanford name equals quality.  "We gave to Stanford because we liked the way Stanford worked," Frederick said. "Their goals were similar to ours, and we were happy to support a leading school."