College of Pharmacy’s 50th anniversary festivities

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Faculty, alumni, students to celebrate March 8 at Newport Marriott

KINGSTON, R.I. – January 9, 2008 – Leonard Worthen, one of the original 10 faculty members of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy when it opened in 1957, is convinced the College’s future will be even brighter than its storied past.

“The College has always been a leader in research and its students have always been among the University’s best,” said Worthen, a Wakefield resident. “Students today gain a much broader, more sophisticated education, which encompasses patient care, cross-disciplinary education with other health professions, and they are exposed to a much wider range of opportunities. There is no reason why the College can’t maintain its prominence for many years to come, especially as the College is about to break ground on a new $75 million home.”

Worthen will join current faculty and students, as well as alumni and former professors to celebrate the College’s contributions over the past 50 years during festivities Saturday, March 8 at 6 p.m. at the Newport Marriott.

“This will be a celebration of our past and future as we look back to our great history and look ahead to a new building, increased enrollment and exciting new challenges,” said Ronald P. Jordan, interim dean. “We have 3,600 graduates, and they have had an incredibly positive influence on health care in so many ways in our state, nation and indeed our world.”

Cocktail hour for the black tie optional event begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing until midnight with the popular band, Brass Attack. The Newport Marriott is located at 25 America’s Cup Ave. Tickets are $100 per person. Please call Jane Giorgi in the College of Pharmacy for ticket information at 401-874-2734.

“This is the biggest event of our anniversary year,” said Celia MacDonnell, clinical associate professor and chair of the anniversary celebration. “We have so many success stories to share.”

While most of the College’s graduates have gone on to careers as community or hospital pharmacists, many have become dentists, lawyers who deal with health policy, doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs who are developing some of the most promising medicines for the treatment of such killers as cancer and heart disease.

“For a college of our size, we are not a Big Ten school or of the same size and scope of other pharmacy schools at public and private institutions with medical schools, but we have incredible influence internationally,” Jordan said. “Including our alumni and faculty, we are leaders in retail pharmacy, drug delivery systems, patient outreach programs, natural products research, including a leading drugs-from-the sea research operation, toxicology, and disaster response.”

Jordan said the College is also a national leader in pharmaceutics—developing drug dosage protocols– and pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics. In addition, the College has expertise in infectious diseases and the hazards related to over-the-counter cold and pain medication.

Jordan said the College’s own Norman Campbell, now professor emeritus and member of the 50th Anniversary Committee, has been a leader in pharmacy law and ethics. “His influence is nationwide,” Jordan said.

“But I guess the most important thing about our faculty is they have had a special talent for developing leaders,” Jordan said. “That may be the reason that our graduates stand out once they earn their degrees. We consistently earn more national leadership awards from pharmacy organizations each year than do our larger counterparts. Our faculty not only develop excellent clinicians, they develop students who can lead in this tumultuous health care environment and most importantly, they develop young leaders who have a strong sense of ethics.”

Pharmacy is a highly clinical, highly focused discipline, but what makes URI unique is its focus on student-faculty connections, Jordan said. “And this is not just unique to our College. Our faculty and others throughout the University are here because there is something unique here at URI—call it a family dynamic if you’d like. That will be one of the major themes of our celebration in March.”

Pictured above

PHARMACY ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE: Members of the 50th Anniversary committee for the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy gather recently to plan for the March 8 festivities. From left in the first row are: Nancy Tortolani, of Wyoming, R.I., Class of 1981; Jane Giorgi of Johnston, College of Pharmacy administrative assistant; Kathy Fisher of Wakefield, Class of 1971; second row, (Kathy’s husband) Douglas Fisher, co-chair, Class of 1971; Celia MacDonnell of Newport, committee chair, Class of 1975; Ronald Jordan of East Greenwich, dean of the College, Class of 1976; Henry Pedro of East Greenwich, Class of 1976 and Timothy Baker of Jamestown, Class of 1976. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.