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The Syntex Syva Alumni Association

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gerri Smoluk from complications of cancer on July 27. Gerri was a good friend to the Board members and former Syntex colleagues, she was a longtime SSAA member and the very talented Newsletter editor. She will be missed deeply. More information will be posted in the future.


Syntex Syva Alumni Picnic

*The 2020 SSAA Picnic that was scheduled for Thursday August 20 at Cuesta Park in Mtn. View IS CANCELLED .

The SSAA Board is concerned for the health and safety of our members and hope that you are all well. After consideration of COVID-19 health guidelines regarding large gatherings and group events, with deep regret, it has been decided that it is prudent to totally cancel the summer picnic for 2020.
As much as we all enjoy the annual gathering, the pandemic situation is too uncertain to postpone the picnic and try to determine a new, future date.

The Board continues to meet using ZOOM online.
The next Newsletter is planned to be published, although this will be a great challenge without Gerri. Please send personal news including about how you have been coping with sheltering and social distancing.
Thank you for your continuing membership. We look forward to the time when we will meet again.


Syntex Syva Alumni ARGM

*The 2020 Annual Reunion and General Meeting was held on Saturday February 1 at Michaels at Shoreline in Mtn.View.

Click here for a summary of the event.

2020 New and Continuing Board of Directors and Officers:

President: Velimir Kuftinec
Vice President: Open
Recording Secretary: Mary Mulkins
Corresponding Secretary: Bonnie Wagner
Treasurer and Membership: Carolyn Lyon

Board of Directors:
Richard Bastiani, Jackie Brown, Linval DePass, David Ellis, Kim Graham, Bonnie Horner, Tom Moran, Rick Salazar (Memorabilia Chair), Kent Stormer, Bill Taylor (webmaster & photographer).

Newsletter Editor - Open.

The SSAA needs your help!

We are frequently surprised to hear from former Syntex/Syva employees that they have never heard of the SSAA or believe that it is just for retirees (it's for all former employees). The only means we have to 'advertise' is through word of mouth. Please forward our web address,, to ex-Syntexers/Syvas whom you know to inform them of the organization and our activities. Also, if you are attending the picnic or the ARGM, please tell others about the event.

Additionally, if you are interested in serving on the SSAA Board, please e-mail SSAA.

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Additional sections of this site:

About SSAA

SSAA Archives

Employee Memorials



Science History Institute

In Memorium obituaries are located in the Members Section.


Syntex Syva Alumni Association
P.O. Box 1857
Los Altos, CA 94023-1857
Phone: (650)598-0249

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Members Section: Click here
(Membership is open to ex-employees from any Syntex/Syva entity.)

This private, members only section requires an ID and a Password.

This section contains a Members page that lists various information and links to the SSAA Newsletters page and Directory page. The Newsletters page has all of the Newsletters, beginning with issue #1, presented in numerical order as pdf files. The Directory is a pdf file of member contact information in alphabetical order by last name.
Adobe Reader, or a similar PDF reader, is required to open and view the pdf files.

The ID and Password and the procedure to access this private section are sent to all current SSAA members in each Newsletter. Please look for this information and save the ID and Password for continued access. If the ID or Password are lost, then contact
If a password change is determined to be necessary in the future, then members will be informed of the new password in the Newsletter prior to the change being made.
To maintain member privacy, please donít share this information, Directory or Newsletters with non-SSAA members.

Science History Institute Logo

Science History Institute / Chemical Heritage Foundation / Life Sciences Foundation

The focus of the Life Sciences Foundation was to tell the story of Biotechnology. The SSAA collected Syntex memorabilia and the Life Sciences Foundation agreed to archive it as a historical collection and for publications.

In October 2015 the Life Sciences Foundation merged with the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Their statement: "CHF continues to collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations".
As part of this merger the Chemical Heritage Foundation became the Science History Institute in February 2018. They cover the history of the life sciences and biotechnology together with the history of the chemical sciences and engineering. Their website is here.
The SSAA continues to work with the Institute on preserving the history of Syntex/Syva.

The Institute has an interesting series of films titled Scientists You Must Know.
One segment is about George Rosenkranz that can be viewed at this link.
Another segment is about Carl Djerassi.
There is also a segment about Larry Knox, an Afican-American with a PhD in organic chemistry from Harvard University. In the late 1950's Larry took a position with Laboratorios Syntex S.A. in Mexico City. From 1960 to 1965 he coauthored 10 papers and was awarded over 40 patents related to steroid chemistry.
Also, a keyword search of 'Syntex' gives several other interesting articles.

Laszlo Tokes, a scientist with a long career at Syntex, has written an article that will be of interest to the general SSAA membership. Although the article has sections that are oriented to scientific specialists (just skip those), there are several sections that capture engaging aspects of Syntex history.


*The 2020 Annual Reunion and General Meeting was held on Saturday February 1 at Michaels at Shoreline in Mtn.View.

With 54 members and spouses attending, the lunch was another successful get together.
The excellent Michaels buffet was again well received this year.
Bill Buhles gave a very interesting talk to the group about the story of bringing ganciclovir to market.
Also Trader Joe's gift cards were raffled off.
Thanks to all who attended for keeping the spirit of Syntex & Syva alive!

Click here for photos of the picnic courtesy of Vel Kuftinec, Carolyn Peterson, Bill Taylor and Bonnie Wagner.
(If needed, instructions for viewing the photos on the Shutterfly site are presented in the Photos section. )

***Please let us know if you have any comments that you'd like to pass on, please e-mail us at

The Board wants to know if SSAA members want another activity.

Please click here to send us an e-mail and tell us of an activity that would be of interest to you and whether you would volunteer to be the activity leader.

Possibilities include, but are not limited to: *VMWare tour; *Filoli Gardens Tour; *Golf Tournament; *Rosie the Riveter Museum; *Asian Art Museum; *Casino Bus Trip; *Beach Blanket Babylon; *Wine Country; *Treasure Island; *Symphony/concert; *Monterey Bay Aquarium; *Financial Planning seminar; *Biotech lecture; *USS Hornet.

Please direct website comments to

Last Updated September 1, 2020

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