SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY: Dr. Eugene "Gene" Garfield
We were saddened to learn that one of earliest and strongest supporters, Dr. Eugene Garfield, passed away on February 26. In his honor, we reprint this article about him, which was first published in the Winter 2013 edition of our News from HOME newsletter.
It was the late 1980s, and Dr. Eugene Garfield was increasingly troubled by the increasing numbers of persons living on the streets in West Philadelphia where he worked. A scientist by vocation, he wanted to understand problems, but this social problem vexed him. Serendipitously, he came across an article about Sister Mary Scullion, who was then the director of the successful Women of Hope residences, through practically all of the “bag ladies” – women living on the streets with serious mental illness – had been able to find a place to live. Dr. Garfield gave Sister Mary a call, and followed it up with a visit to Women of Hope to see firsthand the issues facing men and women who were homeless and the kinds of programs that worked.
The rest is history – a friendship was started that day, and so was a quarter century of his staunch support, initially for Women of Hope and then for the new organization which Sister Mary was starting, Project HOME.
One of our earliest supporters, Dr. Eugene “Gene” Garfield may also be one of our most accomplished. With a PhD in Structural Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961, Dr. Garfield founded the Institute for Scientific Information – a company born of a scientific mind and entrepreneurial spirit, which is now a large section of Thomson Reuters’ science division. Specifically, his conception and development of the Science Citation Index allowed for the calculation of the impact of scientific journals on hard science itself.
Called the “Father of Citation Analysis” because of his groundbreaking work in connecting the body of scientific knowledge into a network, Dr. Garfield is also considered the “godfather of Google, since his research on analytics later impacted the creators of Google.
Dr. Garfield’s is also a military family. He himself served for a short time in the Army in World War II, but his son’s experience in Vietnam affected him more than his own. Like many Vietnam vets, his son experienced post-war struggles, including drug addiction. Dr. Garfield’s passion for alleviating the debilitating effects of military service is evident in the way he directs a large part of his funding here at Project HOME: toward veteran housing and supportive services. The Federal Government has been sending Dr. Garfield a veteran pension for decades, and he has forwarded all of those funds to Project HOME.
According to Dr. Garfield, his long-standing support is born of a strong trust in Project HOME leadership and the great work the organization does. We in turn are grateful for his friendship, his trust, and especially his true passion for our veterans facing challenging times. Dr. Eugene Garfield is one reason why we believe it is truly possible to end chronic street homelessness in Philadelphia.