The USC School of Pharmacy launched its $100 million fundraising initiative during a gala event on Nov. 3 at the historic Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Supporters, faculty and USC leadership celebrated the school’s achievements even as they planned for a bolder future. The initiative is part of the larger Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact.
In opening the evening’s program, USC President C. L. Max Nikias hailed the school’s many achievements and legacy.
“The School of Pharmacy has cleared a trailblazing path of many ‘firsts’ that others have followed,” he said. “As the top private school of pharmacy in the nation, it still lays claim to one distinction that no other institution can match: It is the only school in the nation that spans the entire spectrum of pharmaceutical development and clinical care.”
Dean R. Pete Vanderveen addressed its future in leading the pharmacy profession.
“The school stands at the forefront of a national movement to ensure that pharmacists take their rightful place as key providers on the 21st century health care team, fulfilling needs in many practice settings,” Vanderveen said.
A key victory in that movement is the school’s pivotal role in California’s passage of Senate Bill 493, which gives pharmacists provider status and allows them to ease the burden on physicians while enhancing care. Thanks to that legislative victory, Vanderveen said, “our state will now be the model for the nation” for improving access to health care while reducing costs.
“The USC School of Pharmacy is truly the school of the future,” he added. “Along with our many innovations in research and policy, we are molding the next generation of pharmacists. These men and women will fill an ever-increasing role in caring for patients and responsibly guiding them to optimal health outcomes.”
Vanderveen then introduced William Heeres PharmD ’63, chair of the fundraising initiative and also chair of the School of Pharmacy’s Board of Councilors.
“We feel especially confident because at the helm of our campaign is perhaps our most ardent supporter of the profession, of our Trojan Family, and of the USC School of Pharmacy itself,” Vanderveen said of Heeres.
The evening honored Eileen Goodis PharmD ’77 and Eric Strom, and Helen and Raymond Poon PharmD ’71 for their achievements in advancing the profession of pharmacy. Goodis has launched a number of successful businesses, including an institutional pharmacy company, a home infusion service and a medication therapy management company. Poon, a community pharmacist, was honored in 2010 with the National Health Conference Good Neighbor Pharmacy of the Year. Both Goodis and Poon serve on the school’s Board of Councilors.
In her remarks, Goodis credited the school “with making a huge difference in allowing me to achieve success in my profession while at the same growing the profession I love — pharmacy.”
Poon spoke of being “honored to help pioneer and transform the pharmacist’s role from a traditional dispenser of medicines to a direct provider of patient care with an emphasis on health, wellness and prevention of disease.”
He also urged attendees “to stand with me and give support to the USC School of Pharmacy, to ensure that its role of innovation continues — not just to be the number one private pharmacy school, but to be the best in the USA.”