While working toward her degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, Alice Schwartz met a fellow student named David Schwartz. Alice and David would eventually marry, and in 1952, they launched Bio-Rad Laboratories in a Berkeley Quonset hut with $720 in savings. By 1960, with an expanding presence in biological discovery and healthcare research, the Company grew to 11 employees and $150,000 in sales.
David and Alice Schwartz with their staff outside the Quonset hut housing their company, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Berkeley, California, July 1, 1955. Photo credit: Robert Lackenbach—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
As a researcher and member of Bio-Rad’s Board of Directors, Alice played a key role in the Company’s early success. By 1966, Bio-Rad reached $1 million in total sales and became publicly traded. At the age of 96, Alice is settling into a well-deserved retirement after stepping down from official board duties earlier this year. She has served on the board since 1952.
In addition to helping Bio-Rad make lasting contributions to scientific discovery and improvements to healthcare, Alice is also credited with ensuring that Bio-Rad has remained a family-run business throughout the years. The family legacy continues to this day with her son, Norman Schwartz, serving as President and CEO of the Company.
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