A World Away From Where He Began
Spring 2011 Issue
A SPOTLIGHT ON ALUMNUS ELI TOUR
Attending pharmacy school in Idaho, a world away from his home in Tehran, Iran, wasn't exactly part of the educational plans of Eli Tour. When he immigrated to the United States in 1946, he hoped to attend an American university and earn a degree in atomic research. However, WWII had recently ended, and foreign students where limited on what degrees they could pursue here. Being raised by a pharmacist father, he decided to study pharmacy instead.
But living in New York City, and speaking little English where only a few of the challenges the young Tour faced while applying to pharmacy schools. Believing that Pocatello was near the East Coast, he submitted his application here and was accepted.
"My geography was very bad," Tour said from his Hilton Head Island, South Carolina,home. "I thought Pocatello was near New York."
When the 1954 alumnus boarded a bus in 1949 to travel to the then, Idaho State College, the fee was much more than he expected.
"I didn't have much money and was surprised by the price," he said.
After arriving on campus, and with help of Dean Emmons E. Roscoe, Tour was able to find a job grading chemistry papers on campus while attending pharmacy classes.
"I was the only foreign student at the college at the time," he said. "I really had a wonderful time in Pocatello, and received a wonderful education."
Eli Tour, while attending ISU
While attending pharmacy school here, Tour befriended classmates George Palavos, '54, and William Fischetti, '53, who helped him continue to learn the English language.
After graduating from ISU, Tour returned to Iran where he worked for about a year with his father before moving back to New York. It is there that he met up with his friend and future wife, Hedy. The couple have known each other since childhood and have been married for 55 years.
In 1956, the ISU alumnus opened his first store, Tour Pharmacy in Manhattan. His career provided him the opportunity to open several other pharmacies in the Northeast, and provide consulting to other community pharmacy owners who went into the retail business.
Following a successful career of helping others as a health care professional, Tour continued to serve his community in retirement through volunteerism and philanthropic efforts.
Tour devotes his time to working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and helping those with the disease of addiction.
He served as the primary fundraiser for the You Are Not Alone Club, (YANA) where he raised funds for the purchase of two buildings to serve as a school and meeting place for the Family Assistance Program. The facility also serves as a learning center for community members studying the English language. He has served on the YANA Club board for more than 10 years.
Today, he and Hedy enjoy spending time walking, gardening and time with their family. The couple are the parents of three children, eight grandchildren and a great- grandchild.
Their daughter, Jennifer, is an executive for Microsoft in Boston. Jeffrey is an attorney in Columbus, Ohio and James is professor of chemistry at Rice University, Houston.