Resilient Grad Achieves Remarkable Success

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

by Michael McCarry '15 (MBA)

A routine visit to the doctor the summer leading to his senior year of college changed Zack Tanenbaum’s life. “I received the most difficult telephone call I’ve ever had to answer,” he says. “My doctor expressed concern over the results from a recently ordered test. Weeks later, a biopsy confirmed I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”

After a challenging year of treatment, Tanenbaum, a pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing major, will graduate from Saint Joseph's University on Saturday, May 11, cancer-free.

"I feel like I have a refreshed perspective on life," says Tanenbaum. "I'm like a sparked fuse… I'm just so thankful, lucky and proud to be a Hawk, wings still flapping.”

A former high school athlete, Tanenbaum's baseball career was sidetracked when he didn't make the University's team as a freshman. A few years later, Tanenbaum stepped out of his comfort zone and took to the stage in Saint Joseph's production of "Miss Saigon."

Life was good for Tanenbaum at the time, yet he had a nagging cough which lingered for several months.  Brushing off concerns from friends when he would cough uncontrollably, Tanenbaum concluded that his symptoms were simply a product of being run-down.

After the cancer diagnosis in June 2012, Tanenbaum immediately began treatment. He continued through October 2012, all while taking courses at Saint Joseph's.

"What impressed me most of all about Zach is that he has remained steadfast through his disease and has returned to make significant contributions to the classroom and on the stage," says George Sillup, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing. Sillup, who taught Tanenbaum in two of his classes during the spring 2013 semester, says, "Zack has successfully redefined and re-immersed himself. His readjustment is remarkable."

Initially, Tanenbaum says he chose pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing as a major because the field interested him and he saw a niche. "This year, I did some firsthand market research," he says. "Looking back, I feel as if it was meant to be.”

Media Contact

Carolyn Steigleman, Director of Communications, Haub School of Business, 610-660-1355,

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