The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has named the Health Sciences Library in honor of 1951 pharmacy alumnus and philanthropist Henry L. Strauss, a significant supporter of the library and the university more broadly. The honorary naming of the Strauss Health Sciences Library is a testament to Henry Strauss’s long history of partnership, advocacy and philanthropy, and will carry forward his legacy through the education of future health leaders, and their impact on the surrounding community.
Strauss earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the CU School of Pharmacy in Boulder in 1951, and worked as a pharmacist for four years until making a career change. At 91 years young, Strauss has enjoyed a distinguished career in business and government, as a real estate investor and developer, and an active politician in Colorado.
Throughout his life, Strauss has fostered a strong connection to CU Anschutz through service and philanthropy. He has held a number of volunteer leadership roles at the library, the alumni association and the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Strauss’s philanthropic investments in special collections at the Health Sciences Library have impacted students, faculty and visitors for more than two decades.
Love of medical books
In 1995, Strauss established the Florence G. Strauss Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection at the Health Sciences Library in memory of his first wife, Florence. Leonard A. Wisneski joined Strauss in these efforts, and has been an integral partner in maintaining and expanding the collection. Strauss later renamed the resource the Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection.
Since its inception, the collection has grown from 30 print books to thousands of books and other materials related to complementary health practices and indigenous therapies from around the world. Henry and his wife, Joan, collected many of these books throughout their travels around the world.
“It is vital to our country that we study and adapt indigenous and alternative medicine practices,” said Strauss, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Colorado for his dedication to and support for the field of integrative medicine. “In many cases, [these practices] are much more affordable and will keep our medical system from going bankrupt.”
In addition to establishing the collection, Strauss’s philanthropy has also enabled expansion of the popular four-part, Strauss-Wisneski Lecture Series on a variety of integrative medicine topics, with speakers including health care practitioners from all fields of integrative medicine. As a volunteer and member of the collections committee, Strauss has helped ensure that the both the special collection and the lecture series remain robust resources for years to come.
“As our health care system shifts,” said Strauss Health Sciences Library Director Melissa DeSantis, “opportunities arise for investigating the best evidence – knowledge found in books, journals and databases – in support of an integrative approach to health care. The Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection plays a large role in making that knowledge accessible to our students and faculty, and across the state and our nation because of our partnership with other universities. For that reason, Henry’s impact has been immeasurable.”
CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Donald M. Elliman, Jr., said, “Through his partnership, Henry Strauss has helped enrich the educational experience of future health care leaders who go on to serve individuals and communities across Colorado and beyond. We are pleased to recognize Henry in this way, and to see his name associated with the library for generations.”
Guest contributor: Courtney Keener, communications specialist, Office of Advancement