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Saint Joseph’s to Celebrate Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Founders’ Day 2024

Saint Joseph’s Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the nation’s first college of pharmacy, was founded in 1821.

Default News Image Griffith Hall on Founders Day in 1928

Written by: Diane Holliday

Published: January 31, 2024

Total reading time: 3 minutes

On Feb. 22, Saint Joseph’s University will celebrate the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy’s (PCP) Founders’ Day, a 203-year-old tradition marking the establishment of the nation’s first pharmacy school, now a cornerstone of Saint Joseph’s School of Health Professions.

On the heels of the University’s second merger in two years — first with the University of the Sciences in 2022 and most recently with the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in January — this celebration honors the history and evolution of Saint Joseph’s storied programs.

“Part of our strength lies in our history, our centuries-old industry connections and our ability to provide our students with an education that evolves in tandem with the pharmacy profession and pharmaceutical industry,” says Edward F. Foote, BS ’87, PharmD ’91, professor and dean of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and associate dean of the School of Health Professions.

A big part of that history also includes the alumni of PCP who have gone on to shape the pharmaceutical industry and use their education for the greater good. Two alumni in particular will be recognized at this year’s ceremony.

Part of our strength lies in our history, our centuries-old industry connections and our ability to provide our students with an education that evolves in tandem with the pharmacy profession and pharmaceutical industry.

Edward F. Foote, BS ’87, PharmD ’91

Professor and Dean of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Associate Dean of the School of Health Professions

Michael Dejos, PharmD ’13, is the recipient of the PCP Young Alumni Award, which honors an alumnus/a who received their degree within the past 15 years and who has shown outstanding promise and success in their professional career.

“I am truly honored to receive the Young Alumni Award this year,” says Dejos, who is the system medication safety officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a member of PCP’s Board of Visitors and an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “As an alumnus from the oldest school of pharmacy in the United States, it is so rewarding to give back to an institution that has given me so much personally and professionally.”

The William Procter Jr. Award, created in honor of William Procter Jr., PCP graduate, faculty member and widely considered the father of American Pharmacy, will be awarded to John Gans, PharmD ’69, dean emeritus and professor. This award recognizes an outstanding alumnus/a who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of PCP’s founders and who has provided outstanding service to the college and profession.

“John is a true icon in pharmacy. His contribution to the college and the profession cannot be understated,” says Foote. “He is the recipient of many awards and accolades, including the Remington Medal, the highest honor given to a pharmacist in the United States. He is so deserving of the Procter Award.“

In addition to the alumni awards, George Downs, PharmD ’72, dean emeritus and Linwood F. Tice Professor of Pharmacy, will be recognized for his 51 years of service to the college following his recent retirement.

“George has had many roles at the college throughout his illustrious career. His greatest contribution is his leadership in the area of substance-use disorder, where he has dedicated his professional life to helping students and pharmacists afflicted with SUD. He has saved countless careers and lives,” says Foote.

Prior to the awards ceremony, students will lead alumni, faculty and staff on tours through the historic Griffith Hall (which houses PCP) and the Marvin Samson Museum for the History of Pharmacy. In the afternoon, students will celebrate Founders’ Day with food, games, music and birthday cake sponsored by Walgreens Pharmacy.

There is no cost to attend the program. More information and registration can be found here. If you are unable to attend Founders’ Day, you can still support the legacy of PCP by making a gift here.