Remembering Paul Bummer

May 18, 2015

Paul Bummer, a beloved University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy faculty member for the past 25 years, passed away May 15 at the age of 59. Dr. Bummer is lovingly remembered by his parents, Philip and Georgette Bummer, his sister, Phyllis Atkinson, his niece and nephew, Adrienne Lipka and Douglas Lipka, and many other relatives, friends, professional colleagues, students, past and present, from the UK College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Bummer came to UK in 1990 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah’s Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery. He established himself as one of the nation’s most respected educators and researchers and ascended through the faculty ranks to become an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

He was widely-recognized by students and colleagues alike as the consummate educator and mentor. In fact, he was named the top professor by the College’s first-year professional class – the Class of 2018 – this spring. In late April, one of our second-year PharmD students recognized Dr. Bummer with UK’s “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award.

“Paul was the type of educator that we all admired,” said Kelly M. Smith, Interim Dean at the UK College of Pharmacy. “No matter how complex the lesson, Paul was able to deliver it in a compelling and thoughtful manner. I contend his best attribute, however, was that he was a great listener. And when Paul spoke, we all listened. Above all else, he was the dearest of friends to so many. He will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Bummer's research efforts centered on colloid systems, interfacial phenomena, and their application to drug delivery. His work focused on the application of lipid excipients and surfactants as means of enhancing the delivery of poorly-soluble drugs (most notably anti-cancer agents) by both the oral and parenteral routes. His publications included studies on drug solubilization and mass transport in lipid assembly systems, and biophysical properties of pulmonary surfactant. He was a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) Lipid-Based Drug Delivery Focus Group Steering Committee, and served as a field editor for the journal Pharmaceutical Research. His passion for teaching and inspiring others was evident in the graduate degree program, as he chaired the dissertation work of 8 PhD and MS students and mentored 8 post-doctoral scholars, and at one point served as Director of Graduate Studies.

Dr. Bummer received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duquesne University. He practiced as a pharmacist at Allegheny Hospital in Pittsburgh before pursuing his PhD in pharmaceutics from the University of Wisconsin.

Once at UK, Dr. Bummer served the College and University communities in a variety of capacities over the years. His classroom work earned him distinction from students and colleagues. He was a four-time recipient of the College’s Blouin Award for Excellence in Education and a recipient of the William T. Miles Award for community service.

In addition to his faculty awards from the College, Dr. Bummer was recognized by peers with the AAPS Young Investigator Award and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Science and Engineering Award.

One of his many hobbies was woodworking. He spent many hours in his workshop creating gifts and furniture for friends and relatives. Ever the teacher and creator, and because of his love for working with wood, he developed a strong commitment to Habitat for Humanity.

He participated in the Lexington Habitat/Catholic Build projects for approximately 20 years. As a natural teacher with a strong but understanding voice, he transferred his professional skill of teaching to the building projects. He spent many hours instructing volunteers from age 16 to 82 on the art of home building.

A memorial service honoring Dr. Bummer’s life and legacy will be held in the atrium at the UK College of Pharmacy on Thursday, May 21. The memorial service will begin at 4 p.m. and a reception with family and colleagues will take place immediately following the service. A funeral will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, May 28 at St. Alexis Church, 10090 Old Perry Highway, Wexford, PA 10590. Reception to follow at Vincentian Villa.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Lexington Habitat for Humanity at or to the American Cancer Society at