Peter J. Gerone, '46

Yearbook image of Peter Gerone
Current image of Peter Gerone

"Threatening letters with razor blades hidden in the envelopes don't scare Pete Gerone. Neither do firecrackers set off on the front steps of his home in the middle of the night." So began an article in Tulane University's magazine upon his 1999 retirement. Pete, an acclaimed virologist, became director of Tulane's primate research lab in 1971. In this capacity, he oversaw a more-than-sixfold increase in the lab's monkey population (to more than 5,000) and expanded the research focus from animal behavior to infectious diseases. Significant breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS were made under his leadership, and other noteworthy discoveries happened that may one day tackle diseases such as cancer, Lyme disease, leprosy, and cystic fibrosis. Dr. Gerone's keen scientific mind, and his courage in exposing himself to personal danger for his research, have paved the way to a longer and healthier life for millions of people worldwide. In the words of Tulane President Scott Cowan upon his retirement, "Pete is a fine scholar, a very effective leader, and a wonderful human being."