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150 Years of the UKCOP Effect

On August 16, 2020, the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy turned 150, a testament to the continuous work of all of our pharmacy family. We couldn’t do what we do without each one of the individuals featured here. Whether an alumnus, faculty or staff member, donor, friend, or thought leader—each person is a part of our legacy. Their commitment to this community allows us to be one of the nation's leading colleges of pharmacy.

1967-1987 Joseph Swintosky Faculty

Previous Position: Dean, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

In 1967, Dr. Joseph Swintosky became the Dean for the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. Dr. Swintosky helped develop many new roles for pharmacists during his time at UK. He also was the leading force behind the push for an all-PharmD program and the creation of the prestigious UKCOP Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Swintosky made this new program successful by hiring several new faculty members to help he new graduate program get started. Throughout his career, he published more than 100 scientific and educational journal articles. Dr. Swintosky passed away in 2012.

2007 Jessica Tackett PharmD

Current Position: Clinical Pharmacist, UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital

"I believe that one of the biggest challenges ahead of pharmacy students today is self-identifying areas of weakness and working independently to review that information. Virtual learning has been challenging, and we are seeing a difference in the retention of knowledge for some students when the materials were presented to them in a non-traditional way. It is important to remember that you aren’t just studying to pass the next exam. You are learning to retain information for the day in your career when you need to recall that information to save someone’s life."

1971, 1984 Robert Talbert BS, PharmD, R21

Current Position: Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

Award: Paul F. Parker Award Recipient (1995)

"When I was at UKCOP, at the time, there were very few PharmD programs and none that were three-year programs. Most of them were one-year programs without residency. The people coming out of Kentucky were the best trained people in the entire country. UK did an exceptional job.I  took second year pathophysiology with medical students. We took the same exams. That instantly separated from us from anybody else in pharmacy. You had a better understanding of disease processes than anyone else. Once you understood the underlying problem, it’s much easier to come up with a rational approach to treatment."

1999 Stacy Taylor PharmD

Current Position: Clinical Associate Professor, Interim Director of Residency Advancement, Liaison for Interprofessional Health Education, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

"The best thing about getting my degree from UKCOP was the variety of career opportunities that became available to me. My degree came from a reputable College of Pharmacy. Anytime you are somewhere else in the country, if you say you got your PharmD at the College of Pharmacy in Kentucky, it is well respected and well received. From that standpoint, it opens a lot of doors. I feel like it prepared me to be a life-long learner and it gives you the confidence and skills to learn something new in order to be prepared for a new professional opportunity. You are very nimble in your career and help in new areas. I have had so many different roles and responsibilities over the course of my career. I have worn a lot of different hats and UK prepared me to do that."

1992 Joel Thornbury BS

Current Position: Owner, Staff Pharmacist, Nova Pharmacy

"I think my UKCOP degree gives me a strong sense of family, or as I often say, 'pharmily.' That's not just because my mother and brothers attended UKCOP, but also because of the class unity and connections I feel to faculty and other graduates. UKCOP is convenient, legendary and familiar, and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything. I had a great experience, loved the environment and will always feel comfortable recommending UKCOP to anyone."

2001-2011 Lee Todd, Jr. 11th President of UK

Current Position: Kentucky Board of Education Member, Kentucky Department of Education; Previous President of University of Kentucky

Award:  UK Office of Technology Commercialization Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship (2019)

"It's pretty amazing to have a top college of pharmacy bearing my name. I fought hard to get my name on the building and get it funded because it was the best program UK had. I really thought we could make a case for the pharmacy building with the legislature to get money for it. UKCOP deserved the recognition. The credentials of the pharmacy school were so strong and continue to be incredibly strong today. I admire UKCOP so much and it's an honor to have an affiliation with a program that is so highly respected."

2010-2017 Tim Tracy Former Dean & UK Provost

Current Position: CEO, Koru Biopharm; Previous College of Pharmacy Dean and Provost, University of Kentucky

"The network and connections I built at UKCOP were most beneficial. The school has a national prominence and recognition that really helps open doors. I can't stress enough that the college's reputation might help you get an introduction, but you still have to prove yourself. Nothing is just handed to you. The best advice I can give students is really life advice, and that is to realize when a door opens for you, be willing to go through it, even if you don’t know what is on the other side."

2002 Leigh Verbois PhD

Current Position: Director, Office of Drug Security, Integrity, and Response, Food and Drug Administration

"When I was at the University of Kentucky, my mentor and advisor meant so much to me. At every step of the way, it is important to understand that the person who is your advisor is the person who is going to guide your career. Really think deeply about what that means to you when you're making your decisions to go into your postdoc or your first job. Understand that you have a choice to make. It's not just about them choosing you, it's about you choosing them."

1951-1973 Charles Walton Faculty

Previous Position: Faculty, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

Award: Paul F. Parker Award Recipient (1991)

Dr. Walton spent 22 years at the University of Kentucky as a faculty member. While at UKCOP, Dr. Walton was responsible for developing and implementing the first poison control and information center in the United States. He also furthered the establishment and advancement of clinical pharmacy programs throughout the country. In 1987, Dr. Walton received the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 1984, he was awarded the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Service Award. In 2006, he received the ACCP Paul Parker Medal for his personal work towards advancing clinical pharmacy, both in academic and clinical settings. He also greatly contributed to the foundation of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Dr. Walton passed away in 2014.

1992, 1993 Lewis Wilkerson BS, PharmD

Current Position: Area Vice President, Life Sciences at Veradigm, an Allscripts Business Unit

"Thanks to UKCOP, I get to work with people from all over the world. They all recognize that UK has a great reputation. It’s helped me in getting some of the roles that I’ve been involved with over the years. The most gratifying part though is that I met my wife there and I’ve met lifelong friends who have been a big part of my life. That what has been the most meaningful about my UKCOP experience."

1993, 2005 Cindi Williams BS, PharmD

Current Position: Owner, Complete Care Pharmacy

"As pharmacists, we have to maintain a balance of safety and accessibility, including providing maintenance medications and offering advice to our patients in order to help them know when they need to seek care. In many cases, pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals for folks."

2017 Shelly Williams PharmD

Current Position: Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Mental Health, South Texas Veterans Health Care System

"My advice to future pharmacists is to keep an open mind. I went into pharmacy school wanting to do diabetes management.  However, after coming out of school, I don’t do any of that now. That’s one of the better parts of UK too—being flexible. I went into undergrad wanting to do chemistry and I went to college and hated it. However, I took a psychology class and really liked it. That first class opened my eyes. I then majored in psychology. I had always had an interest in the way the mind worked."

Carol Wishnia

1960 Carol Wishnia BS

Previous Position: Health-System Pharmacist (currently retired)

"When I was in school, there were only a handful of women in my class. I had started in a med-tech program in Indiana, but when my husband Jake and I got married, he convinced me that pharmacy school at UK was a better option. I am very glad I did it and I loved my career, especially in hospital pharmacy, where I really felt a great sense of comradery. I loved knowing that I was helping people and part of a team that was doing good work. However, going to school and working while having a growing family was not easy. That was probably the biggest challenge, but also the most fulfilling."

2010 John Wu PharmD

Current Position: Pharmacy Flight Commander, 18th Medical Support Squadron Deputy Commander, Kadena Air Base, Japan

Award: Hall of Distinguished Alumni - Young Alumni Award (2020)

"While at school, I received a direct commission through the Health Professional Services Program while attending the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. I have been an active duty officer for 10 years, having served in a variety of leadership positions, including the director of the Pharmacy Phase II program at Keesler Air Force Base. There, we trained 60 Airmen per year on 69 primary duty tasks, priming them for success at their first duty locations around the globe."

1979-Present Robert Yokel Faculty

Current Position: Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences Department, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

"We try very hard to prepare our students well. The way I see my role is to make them the best we can. We try very hard to prepare the best students we can. We have a good product and the graduates demonstrate that in their licensure exam, when they go out and do what they do, their profession and when they go on to residency and further education."

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.