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  July 19, 2004

Pfizer Endows Distinguished Chair In Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy has received a $2 million gift from Pfizer Global Research and Development, a division of Pfizer Inc., to endow the school's first distinguished chair. It is the largest single gift ever received by the school and the first such endowment Pfizer has made to a pharmacy program in the United States.

Image: Timothy Hagen, vice president of Pfizer, Inc.

Timothy Hagen, vice president of Pfizer, Inc., speaks at a press conference held near the new pharmacy building, under construction.
Photo by Melissa Arbo

As an endowment gift, it is eligible for a 50 percent match under the state's matching gifts program.

Establishment of the Pfizer Distinguished Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology will enable the school to appoint a nationally recognized researcher, scholar and teacher who has made significant contributions to the field of pharmaceutical technology, the applied science for development of dosage forms.

The announcement was made during a ceremony held June 23 in the shadow of the new $87 million, 220,000-square-foot Pharmacy/Biology Building currently under construction.

"Endowed chairs are established by great schools and colleges of pharmacy to attract the best teachers and scholars," said Robert McCarthy, dean. "Pfizer's gift elevates UConn to this elite group of institutions and demonstrates its confidence in the research, scholarship, and achievements of our faculty and students."

Endowed chairs require a gift of $1 million; a distinguished chair is established with gifts of $2 million or more.

Pharmaceutical technology addresses product development for diverse medicinal agents, including organic molecules, proteins, and other biological agents. It also encompasses the physical and engineering sciences of drug delivery by various routes, including oral and intravenous methods.

Pfizer Global R&D is eager to build upon its already strong relationship with the UConn School of Pharmacy, including several research initiatives.

"Pharmaceutical sciences researchers play a key role in the discovery and development of new medicines for patients in needs," said Kelvin Cooper, head of Pfizer Global Research and Development's Pharmaceutical Sciences organization. "In today's competitive recruiting environment, Pfizer must attract the best and brightest scientists in order to find cures for diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes."

He added, "We are proud to partner with UConn's School of Pharmacy, and continue to look to their program as a source of qualified researchers who will help us achieve our mission of doing more good for people than any other company in the world."

Proceeds from the endowment will support the chair in his or her academic activities, including pre- and post-doctoral graduate fellowships and a pharmaceutical technology symposium. In addition, the chair's duties will include convening a working group of representatives from the school and Pfizer in order to support the advancement of pharmaceutical technology at UConn.

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest private biomedical research organization, has previously endowed faculty positions in biological sciences at Stanford University and political science at Duke University.

The Pfizer chair is the third distinguished chair at UConn. The others are the Harold S. Schwenk Sr. Distinguished Chair in Chemistry, held by Robert Birge; and the Ray Neag Distinguished Chair in Vascular Biology, held by Dr. Bruce Liang at the Health Center. UConn has a total of 47 endowed chairs and 12 endowed professorships, including 24 chairs at the Health Center, and one chair and three professorships at the School of Law.

A nationwide search will begin in the fall to identify candidates for the Pfizer chair, with the goal of hiring in the spring.