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$30M for new Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center

Two University of South Carolina (USC) alumni with a desire to transform pharmacy education and practice are making a $30 million gift to the university’s South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP), the second-largest in the university’s history.

Announced Sept. 17 by USC President Harris Pastides, Ph.D., the gift is from USC alumni William and Lou Kennedy of Orlando, Fla., and will establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center.
The center will serve as a home for collaborative research and education that will bring together the nation’s top minds in entrepreneurship, health sciences, communications and other disciplines with leading pharmacy practice faculty.

Pastides said the Kennedys’ gift will assure that their alma mater will set the new benchmarks for pharmacy science and practice in the 21st century.

“Philanthropy is essential to the success of our university, and we are deeply appreciative of every gift to Carolina,” he said. “However, some gifts have the potential to fundamentally alter research and the way we prepare students. This is one of those gifts. The Kennedys’ enormous generosity will establish SCCP as a leader in pharmacy science and practice.”

As longtime supporters of USC and the College of Pharmacy, the Kennedys said the extraordinary donation – the largest ever to the SCCP and the second largest to a pharmacy school in the country, was a natural decision for them.

“I’ve been in the industry long enough to see many significant advances,” Bill Kennedy said. “I like to think I’ve even contributed to some of them. In any case, I’ve been fortunate enough to stay on top of both the science and the business and I’m determined to help the next generation of pharmacists develop the skills they’ll need to excel in both areas.”

The Kennedy center will combine principles of pharmacy, business and management to provide resources for students, faculty and researchers throughout the university. It will emphasize innovation in pharmacy practice and education, creating an interdisciplinary environment that prepares pharmacy students to become leaders in the profession.

“The goal is to guide future pharmacists toward new approaches and new ways of thinking,” said Joseph DiPiro, Pharm.D., SCCP executive dean. “We’re preparing them to not only meet the challenges of a changing health care landscape, but to conquer those challenges through innovation and creating new levels of success in science and in business.”

The center will emphasize entrepreneurship through a direct link to the top-ranked Darla Moore School of Business that will enable pharmacy students to develop entrepreneurial and business skills essential for the changing health care environment. 

“Today’s pharmacist must be an astute business entrepreneur as well as a trusted health care provider,” DiPiro said. “Rapid and fundamental changes to the health care system will emphasize this need. Teaching innovation in pharmacy practice means preparing students to have the ability to adapt, anticipate and succeed in an ever-changing environment.”

The center will be housed in the Coker Life Sciences and Discovery I buildings on the USC campus. The location at Discovery I, in USC’s Innovista research campus, is a natural fit for the Kennedy center, Pastides said.

“The Kennedy center reflects what Innovista is all about,” Pastides said. “It will be a place for creativity and research and discovery and tap into the entrepreneurial and intellectual resources of the Moore School and the scientists associated with the Centers of Economic Excellence.” 

The center’s programs will be open to all SCCP students, including those based at MUSC and at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center via the college’s distance education program.

Specific details of the center will be worked out by an oversight committee, but plans call for an endowed chair, fellowships for faculty, a lecture series, student scholarships, specialized training and additional entrepreneurial courses and certification for students.

A third of the gift will come to USC in cash during 10 years to fund the operation of the center. The remaining will come as a bequest to endow the center.

Friday, Oct. 8, 2010

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