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I greatly appreciate the invitation to reflect on my seven years at the University of Kentucky.

I wish I had formalized my views on these wonderful years shortly after I left Kentucky for the University of Texas in 1973. Almost 50 years have passed, and I have enjoyed successes during my 25-year deanship at Texas. But the seven years that I spent in Kentucky were magical and extremely productive for the College and our profession. We accomplished remarkable goals! How did we do it? What follows is my current recollection to the best of my ability.

The most critical change in our profession over the past 50 years has been our transition to a patient-oriented profession utilizing clinical skills. In my view, the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy was our nation’s most prestigious educational program in the early years of that transition, and it implemented the transition’s most important educational program – a 3-year post-baccalaureate Pharm.D. degree with an integrated residency.

Kentucky’s 3-year Pharm.D. program attracted our nation’s best and brightest 5-year B.S. in Pharmacy graduates. They not only took advanced courses in the College of Pharmacy, but they also took classes with medical students in the College of Medicine, including Medicine’s toughest course – pathophysiology. Our Pharm. D. graduates of the 1960s and 1970s became clinical faculty at many pharmacy colleges, became clinical scientists in the pharmaceutical industry, and became advanced clinical practitioners in hospitals and other practice sites.

But how did Kentucky’s Pharm.D. program develop? How did Kentucky’s Ph.D. programs develop? In 1966 the College possessed only one-degree program: a 5-year B.S. program in pharmacy. By 1974, the College included a 5-year B.S. program, a Pharm.D. program, and a Ph.D. program. The College was also nationally ranked as a top 5 program by its peers.

That is quite a change!

Often, when things go wrong, we blame it on a “perfect storm” of unfortunate circumstances. I do not know what the term is when every best possible situation coincides. The College had this perfect environment of “good circumstances” during my 1967 to 1973 faculty tenure. My list of “good circumstances” includes:

  • a newly developed Health Sciences Center committed to primary care
  • extremely innovative colleges of medicine, dentistry, allied health and nursing
  • visionary University and Health Science Center administrations
  • a newly recruited pharmacy dean, Joe Swintosky, with an international reputation as a scientist and professional leader
  • newly recruited risk-taking pharmaceutical science faculty who vigorously supported the concept of clinical pharmacy education and training
  • a nationally prominent hospital pharmacy service that had already fully implemented unit-dose services, floor-level clinical pharmacy services, and a drug information center
  • a nationally famous hospital pharmacy director, Paul Parker, who creatively committed his staff and resources to College program development
  • a distinguished director of the hospital’s Drug Information Center, Charlie Walton, who led our clinical course development

In the 1960s, many colleges of pharmacy were considering the introduction of clinical pharmacy concepts into their programs. But a lack of resources and resistance and questioning existing faculty often slowed their progress. However, by 1971 Kentucky had already made a full, uncompromising commitment to clinical pharmacy education, and its revised 5-year B.S. program and its innovative 3-year Pharm.D. programs were evidence of that commitment. We moved quickly and boldly because of our “good circumstances.”

Dean Swintosky wanted a comprehensive pharmacy college that was strong in the clinical sciences and the pharmaceutical sciences. At the time, it was relatively easy to excel in clinical – we had the perfect environment and a full commitment when other colleges were still evaluating the need. In the pharmaceutical sciences, we had to “catch-up” to some solid colleges that were outstanding and well established in research areas such as pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology/toxicology, etc. But balance was achieved, and Kentucky’s Ph.D. programs complemented and enhanced the 3-year Pharm.D. program, and vice versa.

It is important to mention that our prime program that fulfilled the need for pharmacists, the 5-year B.S. in pharmacy, was extensively revised to include clerkships and externships during this period. Most other colleges lagged years behind us in such revisions.

I regard Kentucky’s 3-year post-Pharm.D. program as the era’s most significant clinical program and the foundation for our College’s high national ranking – Why did it end? The answer is that our program’s definition of what should constitute a Pharm.D. degree did not prevail nationally.

Our concepts were based on the Pharm. D. as an advanced clinical program for a portion of our profession, and it was not intended to be a degree program for primary pharmacy practice. However, many pharmacy leaders did not support a two-degree system and sought the Pharm.D. as the only practice degree, but not with the same academic standards that had been established with the Kentucky Pharm.D.

In 1970 there were only about six pharmacy colleges that offered a Pharm.D. degree. The University of California offered a 6-year Pharm.D. degree program as its only pharmacy practice degree. The California 6-year program was not especially clinically oriented, although California was conducting an outstanding optional clinical program.

The University of Nebraska had a 5-calendar year Pharm.D. degree as its only pharmacy practice degree. A few other colleges were offering the Pharm.D. as a 2-year post B.S. program. Only Kentucky offered a 3-year post B.S. program.

A national debate began that lasted 20 years. Even at Kentucky, opinions differed on what should be the uniform, national standard for the Pharm.D. degree. The discussion ended with our profession deciding to implement a 6-year Pharm.D. as its primary practice degree. At Kentucky, the universal 6-year Pharm.D. was implemented with relatively minor enhancements of its existing 5-year B.S. program. Although the 3-year post B.S. program did not prevail, it made significant contributions to the transition of our profession to a patient-oriented clinical profession. This program produced a cadre of graduates who completely understood the new potential of our profession and could lead others in the pursuit of that potential.

It should be noted that Kentucky’s research and Ph.D. programs also flourished in these years. It was a time of great public support for the sciences, and we took advantage of that public support. Dean Swintosky had a distinguished international reputation as a scientist, and the young scientists he recruited were talented. Additionally, these young scientists – including Harry Kostenbauder, George Digenis, Lew Dittert, Lou Diamond, Dave Guttman, Pat DeLuca, and me – were not only great colleagues but were also close friends. Dean Swintosky fostered a wonderful family-type environment at the College. We socialized together, played golf/tennis/poker together, watched each other’s kids when someone traveled, etc. I fondly remember the frequent evening picnics together at Spindletop! These were special times!

Several of the 1967 to 1973 faculty became deans at other colleges – Art Glasser (Cincinnati), Norm Billups (Toledo), Lew Dittert (Pittsburgh), Lou Diamond (Colorado) and me (Texas).

During my seven years in Kentucky, I had the privilege to serve as Assistant Dean and Chairman of the Curriculum Committee, Chairman of the Pharm.D. Development Committee, and Chairman of the Ph.D. Development Committee.

My family loved living in Lexington. My daughter, Becky, was born there. When I accepted the Texas deanship, it was challenging for my family and for me to leave Kentucky.

In closing, I express my heartfelt appreciation and thanks for the magical and productive years that my family and I spent in Kentucky! And part of me has always remained with you!

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.