URI appoints interim deans for pharmacy, engineering colleges

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 24, 2007 – The University of Rhode Island has appointed Ronald P. Jordan, an international pharmaceutical leader, as interim dean of its College of Pharmacy and Raymond Wright, a respected environmental engineering professor, as interim dean of its College of Engineering.

Jordan, chair of the College of Pharmacy’s Leadership Council and the former president of the American Pharmacists Association, succeeds Donald Letendre, who has accepted an appointment to become dean of the University of Iowa’s Academic Health Services Center. Jordan will start his term as interim dean Sept. 24, but he joined the URI administration as executive-in-residence Sept. 4 to ensure a smooth transition.

“President Carothers and I have asked Ron to play a leadership role in securing the major gifts necessary for the completion of the new pharmacy building,” said M. Beverly Swan, URI provost and vice president for academic affairs, in a message to the URI community. “We feel he is in an excellent position to help us with this undertaking.”

Rhode Island voters passed a $65 million bond referendum in 2006 for construction of a state-of-the-art facility to house the URI College of Pharmacy.

Jordan is an entrepreneur who has been an executive in several start-up companies in the pharmaceutical industry during the last 18 years. He was president of Drug Benefit Management Systems Inc., founder and senior vice president of ExcelleRx Inc. (formerly Hospice Pharmacia), senior vice president of PharmasMarket.com, and president and chief executive officer of HCIdea, LLC.

In 2002 he founded Healthation, LLC, which markets a comprehensive benefit management system for all lines of health care, and in 2006 he was recruited to serve as chief operating officer of BidRx, LLC, to launch its consumer electronic marketplace for prescription drugs.

As president of the American Pharmacists Association in 1998-99, the largest national professional society of pharmacists in the world, Jordan led development of e-business strategies and drove a new collaboration with the chain drug industry. Jordan is also former president of the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association.

A 1976 alumnus of URI, Jordan served on the board of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs and was the 2006 recipient of the Norman A. Campbell Award for Ethics and Excellence in Healthcare. He has won the Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award, the Bowl of Hygeia and the Guido Pettinichio Award from the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association, and in 2006 he received the Grand Council Citation and Award from Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity for “inspiring leadership and appreciation for unselfish service to pharmacy and pharmacy education.”

Wright, who has taught civil and environmental engineering at URI since 1981, began serving as interim dean of engineering on July 1, after former Dean Bahram Nassersharif stepped down to return to the classroom.

Swan described Wright as “a valuable and respected member of the University community, and his strong leadership skills will serve us well.”

He has served as associate dean of the College of Engineering, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, interim director of the URI Transportation Center, and in 1997 he was named a Distinguished Engineering Professor in the College of Engineering. He also received the Albert E. Carlotti Award and the Vincent and Estelle Murphy Award for Faculty Excellence in Engineering.

Wright has been awarded $4.5 million in funding as the principal investigator on 47 environmental research projects in the areas of water quality monitoring, identification of non-point source pollutants, storm water monitoring and modeling, and the investigation of wet weather pollutant sources and their impact on receiving waters. He undertook a decade-long analysis of the water quality of the Blackstone River and authored a comprehensive report on the subject for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wright has earned degrees from Tufts University and Pennsylvania State University, and he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in hydraulic engineering and stream and estuarine analysis.

URI Department of Communications photo of Raymond Wright taken by Michael Salerno Photography