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U of U College of Pharmacy Breaks Ground on Skaggs Pharmacy Institute

Salt Lake City – Today, the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, joined by friends, supporters, members of The ALSAM Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Skaggs, broke ground on a $69-million research facility to be known as the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute. The building will be the new home for the college, which is currently dispersed across six buildings throughout campus.

“Today marks another milestone in the rich history of the College of Pharmacy,” said John W. Mauger, Ph.D., professor and dean of the College of Pharmacy. “Years of progression, along with continued support from the Skaggs family and The ALSAM Foundation, have allowed us to come together under one roof, once again, in order to continue bringing new medicines to those who need them most.”

The new facility, which will foster interdisciplinary research to discover new treatments for diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis, will be located adjacent to – and connected to – the current pharmacy building. Built in 1965, the L.S. Skaggs Hall was named in honor of L.S. Skaggs, Sr., father of Mr. L.S. Skaggs. The entire complex, including the current building, a new building, and the connecting glass atrium, will be named the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute for L.S. Skaggs, the son.

University of Utah President Michael K. Young noted, "It is a fitting tribute that these two pharmacy buildings will be named in honor of these extraordinary individuals, father and son, who contributed so much to our understanding of pharmacology and who made the results of this work so readily available to everyone in need of treatment and help. The support of the Skaggs family has been vitally important in establishing and sustaining the college as one of the very top-ranked pharmacy programs in the nation, and we are delighted their names will be attached to our college in perpetuity,” he said.

The college is nationally recognized for training pharmacy professionals and for research into new medications and drug delivery systems. It's currently ranked second among all colleges of pharmacy by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for peer-reviewed research, and has been ranked among the top four pharmacy colleges in the country since 1975. Its Doctor of Pharmacy program was ranked 16th by U.S. News and World Report.

The college has earned its reputation by training outstanding pharmacists, and through prolific research that has lead to new medications and advances in drug delivery methods and treatments, according to A. Lorris Betz, M.D. Ph.D., University of Utah senior vice president for Health Sciences. 

"Since its establishment in 1947, the College of Pharmacy has brought together faculty who are not only talented teachers, but also practical scientists able to translate research into care. Under the leadership of some remarkable deans, this college has created a culture of collaboration that is unmatched in the field of pharmacy," said Betz.

Mauger says the need for a new building is similar to what the college faced in 1965 when it moved into the current facility. "In 1964, the Skaggs family made a generous donation that allowed us to build our current college, and move out of the top floor of what had been the former women's gymnasium building," he said. "The new building will once again bring faculty back together who have been relocated across campus because of lack of space at the college. We're as excited today as our predecessors were 45 years ago." 

In addition to increased teaching and research space, the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute will provide a new home for the Utah Poison Control Center, which, under the direction of the College of Pharmacy, answers an average of 150 calls daily as a service to the community.