Irving Geschwind earned a BB from the College of the City of New York in 1945 and a PhD from the University of California in 1949. He began his research career in the Hormone Research Laboratory at Berkeley. In cooperation with co-workers he isolated, purified, and determined the amino acid sequence of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and established its relationship with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
In 1960 Irv became a member of the faculty in the Department of Animal Husbandry at UC Davis. In addition to his teaching and research, he spent extensive time and energy in public service to his fellow scientists and to colleagues on the UCD faculty. He served as editor-in-chief of Endocrinology, was a member of the Council of the American Endocrine Society, and served on the editorial board of two other endocrinology journals. He was a member of the Endocrine Study Section of the National Institutes of Health, serving as its chairman from 1967 to 1971. He served as secretary of the Representative Assembly of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate and as a member and chairman of the Campus and Departmental Libraries.
As a Guggenheim Fellow he studied at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. Irv was a member of the National Council of the American Association of University Professors. He was a Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Michigan. In 1977 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science with the following citation: "Irving I. Geschwind, for his outstanding contributions to the field of endocrinology, especially for his studies on the structure and function of vertebrate pituitary hormones".
Irv was a well-read man with a dry wit. He could hold learned discourse on almost any topic. In addition to working with colleagues, post doctoral researchers, and graduate students, he spent a number of summers working in the lab with high-achieving high school science students.