Leonard Hall
Image Credit: ISU Photographic Services

College of Pharmacy to Mark 90th with August All-Class Reunion

Since it was established in 1918, the College of Pharmacy at Idaho State University has provided quality pharmaceutical education in Idaho. To celebrate the 90th anniversary this year, there will be an all-class reunion on campus August 1–2. Activities will include campus tours, continuingeducation courses, swimming, golf, and a banquet at the L. E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Pharmacy at Idaho State University began when drug-company manager Eugene O Leonard was appointed director of the Division of Pharmacy at the Idaho Technical Institute, today's Idaho State University. Four students enrolled in 1920 in the two-year program. In 1927, the growing division was admitted to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and it initiated a four-year bachelor's degree. The division was renamed the College of Pharmacy in 1930.

The American Council of Pharmaceutical Education accredited the College in 1933.

After being housed in various campus buildings, the College received a home in 1942 with the dedication of Leonard Hall. Enrollment that year reached 185 students.

Enrollment expanded to more than 360 students after World War II. In 1957, the College began offering a fiveyear bachelor's degree, and later a master's degree in pharmaceutical practice. Through the 1960s and early 1970s, it developed programs in pharmaceutical research and made other improvements.

In the 1970s, state funding of the College and higher education began to decline. The College also faced escalating operating expenses, and Leonard Hall was in need of renovation.

In 1981 an accreditation team from the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education found that deficiencies discussed in the 1970s had not been corrected. Accreditation was at risk, and the Idaho State Board of Education even discussed closing the College.

With the help of supportive alumni, faculty and students, a statewide movement was launched to seek state funds to rejuvenate the College and its programs.

In 1985 and 1986, the Idaho Legislature allocated $3.2 million to remodel Leonard Hall. Also, the bachelor's degree program was replaced with a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree, the Pharm.D. Idaho State University was among the first in the nation to support the Pharm.D. as the sole entry-level degree.

In 1987, Dr. Arthur A. Nelson Jr. was appointed dean, and the Pharm.D. degree was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education. The College also began a program that enabled practicing pharmacists to seek Pharm.D. degrees.

In 1990, the remodeling of Leonard Hall was completed and the building was rededicated. The College has flourished since. In the early 1990s, it received highly favorable full accreditation from the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education.

Today, the College is an institution of leadership in pharmaceutical research in biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences. The Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network program (BRIN), awarded to the three Idaho universities by the National Institutes of Health in 2001, added several million dollars in research support for Idaho State University.

In 2004, the department took the lead on campus in establishing the Idaho State University Biomedical Research Institute to develop multidisciplinary research groups on campus. Also that year, thirdyear Pharm.D. students were located in Boise for the first time. Students now attend classes at ISU – Boise with students in Pocatello via distance-learning technologies that overcome what once were the disadvantages of location.

Competition today for admittance into Idaho State University's pharmacy program is rigorous. In spring 2006, for example, the College received nearly 600 qualified applicants for the 60 seats in the Pharm.D. program.

Since taking the helm at the College in 2001, Dean Joseph F. Steiner, Pharm.D., has implemented the annual White Coat Ceremony for incoming students; overseen curriculum changes; expansion of about half of the third-year students to the ISU – Boise campus; and secured major gifts from donors for the expansion of the College and Idaho State University at its new Meridian center, slated to open in fall 2009.

Editor's note: Some information for this story was taken from 'History of Idaho State University College of Pharmacy' by Dean Emeritus Frank P. Cosgrove.

For details about the 90th anniversary celebration, visit the ISU Pharmacy web site or contact Andrew Gauss at (208) 282-3393 or andrew@pharmacy.isu.edu