Michael Jaharis

Michael Jaharis – Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Lifelong Tufts Supporter

Jaharis was born in Evanston, Illinois to parents from Aghia Paraskevi on the Greek island of Lesvos and received his bachelor’s degree from Carroll College in Waukesha while simultaneously attending night law school classes while working at Miles Laboratories.

Kos Pharmaceuticals was his own venture; Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC was co-founded with him as well. Additionally, he was known as an avid philanthropist.

Professional Career

Michael Jaharis was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and celebrated member of both Hellenic American and Greek Orthodox communities. He supported numerous institutions like Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Metropolitan Opera as well as Tufts University Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center through donations. Together with his wife Mary he also provided humanitarian relief such as food and pharmaceutical support during Greece’s fiscal crisis in 2013.

Michael Jaharis was the son of immigrants from Agia Paraskevi on Lesvos island in Greece, and attended Carroll College and DePaul University to obtain both his undergraduate degree and law degree. Following military service during the Korean War he worked at Miles Laboratories before founding Key Pharmaceuticals to revitalize an older asthma medication called theophylline and increase sales exponentially. Later selling Kos Pharmaceuticals off he co-founded Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC as an active investment firm focused on pharmaceutical firms developing innovative therapies to treat both lung disease and cancer patients.

Philanthropic Endeavors

Jaharis was also an enthusiastic supporter of Hellenism and Orthodoxy, being an active member of FAITH, board member of Leadership 100, and financial benefactor to the Archdiocese of America.

He and Mary supported various non-profit and educational institutions, such as Carroll University of Wisconsin (WI), Haverford College, Knox College and North Park University – CIC member schools! Furthermore, he served on Tufts University’s Board of Overseers as Chairman for its School of Medicine Board, served on its Onassis Public Benefit Foundation board and Columbia University Medical Center Board of Visitors as trustee emeritus and chairman respectively.

Michael and Mary Jaharis established the Jaharis Family Foundation together, dedicating it to supporting scientific, cultural, religious and humanitarian institutions. Since its formation, it has donated generously towards various causes – including relief efforts in Greece during its financial crisis – as well as making major donations towards arts education and scholarships. Michael Johnson was recently honored for his service and generosity by being awarded with the 2018 Jaharis Service Award at Washington Oxi Day Foundation’s celebration of #OxiCourage!

Community Affiliations

Michael and Mary Jaharis were longstanding supporters of non-profit organizations and education, through the Jaharis Family Foundation. Through these contributions they became Benefactors to Columbia University Medical College, Weill Cornell Medical College, as well as providing numerous Scholarship Funds at Tufts University School of Medicine. Michael helped establish the Michael J. Anatomy Lab on the third floor of M&V Building on Tufts Boston Health Sciences campus with state-of-the-art dissection tables and iPads specifically for student use.

The Jaharis were generous supporters of Greek Orthodox institutions. They provided generous benefactions to Hellenic College Holy Cross and helped establish both Archbishop Demetrios’ Chair for Biblical Studies and Christian Origins and Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture.

Michael placed family and friends above all else. He is survived by his daughter Kathryn and son Steven as well as five grandchildren who cherish him dearly. Memorial contributions may be made in Michael’s name to Rebuilding St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church or Cancer Programs at Columbia University Medical Center.

Personal Life

After graduating high school, Jaharis began working as a sales representative for Miles Laboratories while simultaneously studying for his Juris Doctorate at DePaul University at night. Soon he advanced through Miles to eventually become president and CEO of Key Pharmaceuticals; an entity known for cold and cough remedies; under his guidance the company’s sustained-release Theo-Dur (theophylline), became America’s best-selling asthma treatment, as well as Nitro-Dur (which raised HDL levels) became best-sellers under his leadership before being sold off by Key Pharmaceuticals to Schering-Plough Corporation in 1986.

In 1988, Jaharis co-founded Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc, which pioneered new therapies in cardiovascular disease. Their first drug product, Niaspan for cholesterol reduction, was subsequently sold by Abbott Labs for $4.2 billion. Jaharis served on both Tufts University Medical School’s Board of Visitors where his son received his MD degree, and Columbia University’s Medical Center Board of Visitors as chairman emeritus; additionally they established The Jaharis Family Foundation that funded permanent exhibitions of Greek and Byzantine art at both institutions – as well as The Jaharis Family Foundation that endows permanent exhibitions dedicated to Greek and Byzantine art at both places.

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