Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he was the only child of Nicholas and Eleanor Hrib. Despite health challenges throughout his childhood, he graduated in 1971 as valedictorian of Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster.
Nick began at Princeton with the Class of 1975 and was a member of Campus Club. He majored in Chemistry and graduated in 1976 Magna cum laude. His senior thesis was titled “Allylic Cyano (Dithiomethyl) Methylation: Ene Reactions of Methyl Cyanodithioformate Followed by (2, 3) – Sigmatropic Rearrangement.” He first met his future wife, Penny Kingan ’76, during their senior year. They were married in 1987 and spent thirty-three happy years together.
After Princeton Nick pursued a career in chemistry, graduating from UCLA with a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. His thesis research was performed under Professor Robert. V. Stevens. He subsequently accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania under Amos Smith. In 1984, Nick joined American Hoechst (now Sanofi) as a Research Chemist doing pharmaceutical research and drug discovery. He was a Research Project Leader for several early-stage drug candidates. In 2000, he changed his career path, using his scientific knowledge and experience in the area of Scientific Competitive Intelligence to analyze internal and external drug candidates. He continued in that role until he retired in 2016.
Nick loved to travel, spend time with family and friends, and was an avid gardener. He especially fell in love with the island of Kauai and visited there frequently. Nick was known for his clever sense of humor and his kindness and generosity to all. He was a loyal friend and a valued colleague.
Lifelong friend and classmate Ray Wong remembers, “I was privileged to attend a Zoom celebration of Nick’s life and I was deeply moved by the outpouring of fond memories and tributes by his many friends, co-workers and acquaintances. It was clear that Nick was always the kind, steady and giving guy that I had met in our freshman year in 1971. We shared a few classes together and hung out a lot, and eventually both joined Campus Club. We both took gap years and ended up thusly in the great class of ’76. We stayed in touch after graduation and steadily ever since. We did road trips, I visited him at UCLA, and after he came back East, we would always get together numerous times each year. Nick was a great steadying influence in my life. He was quite focused and serious, but always fun to be with and of good humor. I would tend to go overboard with the partying and he would get me back on track or at least keep me from going too far. I will always owe him so much for that and for his enduring friendship.”
The class officers extend deepest sympathy to his wife Penny and aunt Mary Higgins. Condolences may be mailed to Penny Hrib at 97 Beekman Lane, Hillsborough, NJ 08844.
Nick will be remembered at two services scheduled on the Princeton campus this year, the virtual Princeton Alumni Day Service of Remembrance planned for Feb. 20, 2021, as well as at our Forty-Fifth Reunion Class Memorial service planned for May 22, 2021.
The Princeton Class of 1976 will always hold, in honor and affection, the name of Nicholas Joseph Hrib.