All-University Award Recipients
Alumnus of the Year
Dr. Henry K.H. Kwan, Arts '71
Notable for his contributions to developing such medications as Claritin, Claritin D-24, Intron A and Nasonex, pharmaceutical executive-turned-scientific consultant Henry modestly deflects accolades and insists that he is merely Marquette’s luckiest alumnus.
“I’m enjoying the sixth lap of a one-mile race,” he says of his second career lending his expertise to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. “Most people would be lucky to even cross the finish line, but I basically got two more laps.” Henry particularly relishes serving as a scientific expert in intellectual property litigation cases. “I get to take on the assignments I believe in and speak from my heart,” either defending patents or helping generic drug makers elbow patents out of their way.
At 17, Henry was finishing his second-to-last year of high school in his native Hong Kong when his father decided the local political and economic climates were becoming uncomfortably risky. He insisted that Henry pick an American college and apply to go that very fall.
“I went to a bookstore and got a Barron’s college guide,” Henry recalls. “It took just five minutes to go through because, for most schools, the application deadline was already up. Except at two universities. One was Marquette.”
Arriving on campus as one of just a handful of international students, Henry says his anxiety dissipated when he met Rev. John Naus, S.J., resident chaplain at Schroeder Hall. “He waited outside the cafeteria on the first day to greet all the new students,” Henry says. “His energy, his open heart, his demeanor and friendly disposition — I felt comfortable almost immediately. Not only did I survive the first week, I enjoyed it.”
Henry’s degree is in chemistry, but his favorite classes were philosophy courses like metaphysics. During his junior year, he joined Marquette’s men’s tennis team, and still watches them play when he can, often at the annual Milwaukee Tennis Classic. When he received a Professional Achievement Award from the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, he was delighted to reconnect at the awards ceremony with his doubles partner, Dennis Abere, Arts ’71, Dent ’75, Grad ’85, as well as with Father Naus.
Henry’s fondness for Marquette has kept him connected. He supported renovations to the Todd Wehr Chemistry Building, is active in alumni activities and student send-off events in the New York/New Jersey area, and has contributed to Father Naus’ eponymous scholarship fund.
“My Marquette experience taught me to always contribute, share and be willing to give back,” Henry says. “It was meant to be. I am the luckiest alum, ever.”