Top-Ranked Pharmacy College Gets $1.25 Million Boost From Eccles Foundation

Top-Ranked Pharmacy College Gets $1.25 Million Boost From Eccles Foundation

Jan 26, 2004 5:00 PM

One of the most prestigious acknowledgments an academic program can receive--an endowed chair--has been established at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy through a $1.25 million gift from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation. The chair, an endowment fund that will generate annual support for an outstanding faculty member, is the first established in the college, which since 1975 has ranked among the four best pharmacy programs in the nation and is internationally regarded for its research.

The George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Presidential Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutics is targeted to help the college recruit a new chairperson for its Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. The search already is under way for one of the nation's leading researchers and teachers in the field to replace the current department chair, Jindrich "Henry" Kopecek, Ph.D., D.Sci., who will step down from his post in June to pursue full-time research and teaching. Kopecek is known worldwide for his work in innovative drug delivery systems.

"We're delighted to help the College of Pharmacy further develop its top-flight programs in pharmaceutics," said Spencer F. Eccles, president of the Eccles Foundation. "We applaud the efforts of Dean John Mauger and the faculty for the nationally recognized excellence they have achieved. It's important to keep building on their tremendous momentum, and we're proud to help."

Added Foundation Vice President Alonzo W. Watson Jr., "We're enthusiastic about the potential for the future, and we hope this chair represents the first of many to come from others here in Utah and around the country. We have a national resource in this college that's important to health care for all of us."

According to Pharmacy Dean John W. Mauger, Ph.D., faculty and students are elated over an investment of this magnitude in the future of their programs, and they are honored to have the college's first endowed chair bear the name of one of the University's most generous and longstanding benefactors.

"Everyone associated with the college is re-energized by this vote of confidence from the Foundation's trustees, and also by their understanding of what it takes to achieve and sustain outstanding education and research programs," Mauger said. "An endowed chair of this magnitude is essential to attract a scientist of Dr. Kopecek's stature to lead our pharmaceutics programs," he said. "To have the chair bear the Eccles name makes it even more of an honor."

The U's College of Pharmacy is the only one in Utah and is highly respected for research in natural product sources for new anti-cancer drugs, pain management, drug delivery systems, diabetes treatment, and other areas, according to Assistant Dean William A. McCreary. The college comprises Ph.D. students conducting both doctoral and post-doctoral research and Pharm.D. students training to become pharmacists. Nearly 100 percent of the pharmacy students come from Utah and remain here to work after earning their degrees.

The University of Utah Health Sciences Center--which includes University Hospital as well as the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and College of Health--currently has 56 fully endowed chairs. There are also 31 planned endowed chairs in the health sciences to be funded in the future through gifts individuals have earmarked for the U in their estate plans.

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