Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences marks 25 years
Celebrating 25 years during the 2011-2012 academic year
- Opened the nation’s first pharmacy school in over 35 years when founded in 1986
- Offered the first PharmD degree in North Carolina
- Nationally led the PharmD curriculum as the first to require a community pharmacy rotation
- First class posted 100% on the national and state pharmacy board exams
- First pharmacy program to receive full accreditation after pre-candidacy status
- Maintained a 98.5% passage rate on NAPLEX board exam
- Established the tradition of the Campbell pharmacy family
It had been 35 years since a new pharmacy school opened in the United States when Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy was established in 1986.
The pharmacy community paid close attention to Buies Creek when the school opened its doors to 55 students. As the newest program in over three decades, some obvious questions were posed.
Would this school make it? What would be the reputation of its students and graduates?
In his role as founding dean, the leadership and foresight of Ronald Maddox, PharmD, sent the School on a pioneering mission. The institution was the first to offer an entry-level doctor of pharmacy degree in North Carolina, versus a bachelor’s degree, at a pivotal time when the future of the PharmD degree was up in the air. It was the first school in the nation to offer a doctorate degree with a required community pharmacy rotation during fourth-year training.
Under the ambitious direction of Maddox, Campbell’s pharmacy program has proven overwhelmingly successful. Accreditation now requires all schools to only offer the PharmD degree and to follow the community pharmacy rotation procedure.
The challenge of being a young program only strengthened the School’s determination. “Being the newest pharmacy school in the nation encouraged us to try harder and establish a reputation among other schools,” said Tom Holmes, PhD, in an article from the early years of the program. He currently serves as vice chair of pharmaceutical sciences programs. “A challenge, you bet, but that’s what makes our School special.”
When the School’s charter class graduated in May of 1990, and later posted 100 percent on the national and state board exams, the questions about the program were answered. Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy had made its mark and was here to stay.
“Looking at the past 25 years, one of my most significant memories is when the charter class posted perfect board results,” said Maddox. “I was proud of our graduates, and these results proved that we laid a strong foundation for our program.”
Driven by the leadership of Dean Maddox and the success of the first four years, the School received full accreditation in 1991. It was the first program to receive full accreditation by the Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education after going through pre-candidacy status.
As more and more schools started to adopt the entry-level PharmD curriculum, the tables were turned and the bourgeoning program at Campbell University was viewed as a model for other pharmacy schools.
By the end of its first decade, full-time faculty had grown from 3 to 31. Applications for admission exceeded 600 for only 80 seats. Enrollment had grown to 320 students. The School had established a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences to meet the need for applied scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Fifty-five students filled the program’s first class in 1996.
In addition to the strong academic experience, another reputation developed at the School. The genuine dedication and caring attitude of the faculty gave the School a unique niche. Students knew they weren’t just a number and this atmosphere enriched their learning experience.
“I really believe our students receive a better education because of their close interaction with our faculty and staff,” said Holmes. “A family reveals its strengths when it’s challenged and I think the ‘Campbell pharmacy family’ has shown that, and our results speak for themselves.”
The School’s programming expanded in 1999 with the addition of a bachelor’s and master’s degree in clinical research. Two years later, a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences was established.
Another historic event happened in 2007 when the School expanded into a new, cutting-edge building of its own. Comprising 14,000 square feet, Maddox Hall was named in honor of Dean Maddox by a generous gift from the Pharmacy Network Foundation.
“The dedication of Maddox Hall is another significant memory of mine, not just because it was named in my honor, but because the free standing building represents our identity,” said Maddox. “It represents our student’s outstanding abilities, our faculty’s dedication and our program’s success.”
In October 2008, Campbell University’s Board of Trustees announced the addition of a physician assistant program offered through the School of Pharmacy. With this expansion, the School of Pharmacy became the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) in 2009.
Today, 25 years later, CPHS welcomed 108 first-year pharmacy students — nearly twice the size of the first group admitted. The College boasts more than 600 students in enrollment, including 34 students in the first physician assistant class that started this fall, and more than 2,000 students have graduated from the institution.
“It’s exciting to have the physician assistant program start during our 25th anniversary, in a way it represents our next 25 years of training,” said Maddox, who was appointed vice president of health programs in October 2010 and continues to serve as dean of CPHS. “I believe the strong foundation we’ve built with the pharmacy program allows us to move to the next level of educating health care professionals.”
And if past is prologue, the next 25 years look bright indeed.