BUIES CREEK - Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences kicked off its 25th anniversary celebration during the institution’s opening convocation on Aug. 25. he College will commemorate the milestone throughout the academic year.
“This morning I was thinking about the faculty members present for our first convocation. There were four of us, including myself, who started this school,” said Ronald Maddox, dean of the College. “I couldn’t help but think about this in terms of where are today and where we were then.”
Established as Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy in 1986, it was the first new pharmacy program to open in the United States in more than 35 years when it was founded.
The pharmacy community paid close attention to Buies Creek when the new school opened its doors to 55 students in the charter class. As the first new pharmacy program in the U.S. in 35 years, 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, Maddox’s leadership and foresight 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 contentious 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.
Although controversial at the time, the direction Maddox led the program has proven overwhelmingly successful, as well as a model for other institutions. Accreditation now requires all schools to only offer the PharmD degree and to follow the community pharmacy rotation procedure.
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.
Today, 25 years later, the program welcomed 108 first-year pharmacy students — nearly twice the size of the first group admitted. The School now offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in clinical research and pharmaceutical sciences and a professional degree in physician assistant studies. With this academic expansion, the School of Pharmacy became the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in 2009.
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 then the next 25 years look bright indeed.
STORY: Courtesy of Andrea Pratt
PHOTO: Ronald Maddox, dean of Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, speaks at the College's 25th anniversary convocation on Aug. 25. Photo by Bennett Scarborough