Dr. Agnes Varis (1930-2011) believed that philanthropy uplifts both the individual and the community. Her astonishing life story serves as a reminder that anything is possible once we commit to a goal. The youngest of eight children born to a Greek immigrant family, Dr. Varis was the first in her family to graduate college. Her father, an ice cream pushcart vendor, died when she was 14. Her mother was an illiterate button seamstress who insisted that Agnes learn piano and excel in school. Dr. Varis earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry (a rare choice for women at that time) and English from Brooklyn College. She later attended New York University’s Stern School of Business and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2003 by Tufts University for her commitment to active citizenship. A legendary business leader, Dr. Varis started her first company, Agvar Chemicals, in 1975. She started Agvar Chemicals at the urging of her beloved husband, Karl Leichtman, who preceded her in death. She subsequently co-founded Marsam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Aegis Pharmaceuticals, both generic pharmaceutical companies. By 1984, Dr. Varis’ political and business stature had grown to such an extent that she helped draft the Hatch-Waxman Act which eased the passage of generic drugs to market. She also helped draft the Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act, which was intended to close loopholes in the 1984 law. An ardent guardian of women, animal, and social rights, Dr. Varis dedicated herself to her political principles. She was proud to call many politicians her friends, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2010, Dr. Varis was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH). Upon her death, on July 29, 2011, members in both the United States Senate and the Congress publicly recognized her achievements in business and philanthropy and thanked her for her service to the people of her country. During their later years, Dr. Varis and her husband supported the arts, especially music, which they both believed “belonged to the people.” During her lifetime, Dr. Varis donated more than $30 million to various arts programs, many at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a board member. One program she supported included the popular Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rush Tickets program (which allowed $100 opera seats to be purchased for $20). The couple underwrote the 2008 premiers of politically charged modern operas -Philip Glass’s “Satyagraha,” about Gandhi, and John Adams’s “Doctor Atomic;” about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb. Dr. Varis also helped jazz musicians through the Jazz Foundation of America by funding, among other projects, the Jazz in the School program in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene so that New Orleans musicians could find employment. At Jazz at Lincoln Center, she built the Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rehearsal and Recording Studio, one of the largest recording studios in New York City. Dr. Varis found her work ensuring the wellbeing of animals to be the most rewarding. A member of the Tufts University Board of Overseers and the Tufts Board of Trustees, Dr. Varis provided funding for the Agnes Varis Campus Center and Auditorium, the Agnes Varis Lecture Hall, and the Varis Cat Ward in the Foster Hospital for Small Animals. She and her husband were also benefactors of Tuft’s Granoff Music Center and the Agnes Varis University Chair in Science and Society, dedicated to exploring scientific discovery and its impact on humankind. Having lived a life full of love and duty, Dr. Varis is sorely missed by her dear friends, as well as the thousands of strangers whose lives she affected through her tireless work and long list of charitable efforts.