Wayne State University

In memoriam: Eugene Applebaum

In memoriam: Eugene Applebaum
Eugene Applebaum

The Wayne State community mourns the passing of entrepreneur, philanthropist and Wayne State alumnus Eugene Applebaum.

Eugene Applebaum ’60 B.S., ’98 LL.D. was a true leader in the Detroit community. His success in business, his volunteer service and his generous philanthropy made him a role model to others. He received some of our community’s highest honors for philanthropy and volunteer leadership, including the Max M. Fisher Award for Outstanding Philanthropist and the Fred M. Butzel Memorial Award.

Eugene graduated from Wayne State with a pharmacy degree in 1960, one of just 17 students in that year’s class. Three years later, at the age of 25, he opened his first drugstore at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Greenfield Road in Dearborn, called Civic Drugs. He eventually built that one store into the successful Arbor Drugs chain, which was later sold to CVS. Eugene also was the CEO, president and founder of Arbor Investments Group, as well as president of the Applebaum Family Foundation.

Eugene was an inspirational leader and passionate advocate for Detroit and Wayne State. He envisioned the university as a place where students could receive the best possible health care education, and served as a role model for business innovation to the community.

Eugene also used his success to benefit others, serving on the boards of countless area nonprofits and making significant gifts to many Detroit institutions. At Wayne State, he served as chair of the Wayne First campaign and honorary chair of the current Pivotal Moments campaign. He was a charter member and first chair of the Wayne State University Foundation Board. The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is named in his honor to recognize his lead gift to create a new building for the college.

Most recently, he agreed to serve as co-chair of the Wayne State University Sesquicentennial Honorary Committee to recognize the university’s 150th anniversary in 2018.

Eugene and his wife Marcia also supported multiple sclerosis research at the School of Medicine, the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement, the Irvin D. Reid Presidential Discretionary Fund for Special Initiatives, the Law School Annex, the Robert Aronson Intaglio Studio in the art department, and many other university initiatives.

Detroit and Wayne State have lost an inspiring friend and champion. Our thoughts are with Eugene’s family. We are grateful for his example and for his many contributions to our university.

Funeral details and related information can be found here.

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