This post by our colleague, Amy O'Connor, originally appeared on LillyPad US.
"Take what you find here and make it better and better." These words of Colonel Eli Lilly sit at the heart of what drives our company. On what would have been his 176th birthday, we’re taking a moment to remember the legacy Colonel Eli Lilly left on the world.
Colonel Lilly faced significant personal challenges on his way to founding our company in 1876. He had little money to his name following his service in the U.S. Army, and was left to raise his young son after losing his wife to malaria. Despite these significant obstacles, Colonel Lilly was determined to support his family by founding a new kind of pharmaceutical company.
In an era of poorly prepared and ineffective treatments, Colonel Lilly strove to become the first to rely on pharmaceutical chemistry to develop trusted medicines. From the beginning, he insisted on creating medicines of the highest quality, partnering with chemists, physicians, and other experts to ensure that patients benefited from the best techniques and knowledge that modern medicine could offer.
This determination would soon pay off as Colonel Lilly’s flourishing company expanded to include research and discovery into new treatments while still maintaining the highest standards of medicine quality. Throughout this process of building our company, Colonel Lilly instilled the values we hold today: integrity, excellence, and respect for all people. As both a family business and a worldwide company, these values have driven our mission since our very founding.
While our company’s challenges have changed over the years, our history provides important lessons and inspiration for the future. No matter how daunting a disease or medical condition may seem, we constantly strive to overcome those challenges to develop new and improved medicines for patients in need. From early-stage research to improving patient access to medicines, Colonel Lilly’s values impact every aspect of our business around the globe.
Our company’s dedication to caring and discovery comes from our hearts and from our determination to make life better for people around the world. We put this commitment into practice not only through the development of life-changing medicines, but through countless efforts that give back to our communities. These range from local volunteering efforts to our Connecting Hearts Abroad program, all of which carry on our tradition of making life better for people everywhere.
At Lilly, our name reflects a promise. A promise to put our values of integrity and excellence into everything we do. I can think of no better way to celebrate Colonel Lilly’s birthday than to recommit ourselves to this promise each and every day so we can continue to make life better for people around the world.