CHAPEL HILL, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $2.5 million gift from alumnus Fred Eshelman to expand the school's research programs and help transform the classroom experience for pharmacy students. The gift brings Eshelman's total support for the school to more than $35 million.
"In every respect, the school is just going up, up, up," Eshelman said. "I'm very fortunate to be a part of this, but it has precious little to do with me. I just put the gas in the car. The school is driving it."
Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Eshelman's gift today (March 22) at a meeting of the University's Board of Trustees.
Eshelman is the founder of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. and a 1972 graduate of the pharmacy school. He is currently the founding chairman of Furiex, a drug development collaboration company spun out of PPD in 2010.
In 2003 Eshelman pledged $20 million to the pharmacy school, which at the time was the third largest single gift in the University's history and the largest ever made to a pharmacy school in the United States. He has been a member of the pharmacy school's Board of Visitors for more than a decade and has lectured as an adjunct faculty member. The school was named for Eshelman in 2008. He has supported the University and school with his commitment of time, service and gifts that now total more than $35 million.
The school's research enterprise will benefit from $1.5 million of Eshelman's latest gift, and the other $1 million will go to transforming pharmacy education and to improving the practice of pharmacy.
The gift supports the following three elements of the school's strategic plan:
* Educational Renaissance Initiative. The school believes that teaching with traditional lectures is becoming obsolete. By making students responsible for learning content outside of class and creating better tools for helping them do so, the time faculty and students have together in class can be used to focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and hands-on learning.
* Practice of Pharmacy Initiative. Improving the practice of pharmacy, improving patient care and increasing engagement with health-care providers across North Carolina are school priorities. The school will work to develop and implement new best practices in pharmacy to improve patient care.
* Research and Training Initiative. Building on core strengths in nanomedicine, chemical biology and comparative-effectiveness research is a priority for the school. Over the past decade, the school has grown its federal research funding from $1.5 million to approximately $25 million.
"We are very grateful for Dr. Eshelman's vision and support," said Bob Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school and the Vaughn and Nancy Bryson Distinguished Professor. "It is difficult to overstate the dramatic effect of the contributions he has made. The generous backing of our alumni and friends-combined with strong state support-is one of the key reasons this school is regarded as one of the best in the nation."
Eshelman's previous gifts have created five $1 million distinguished professorships at the school that helped recruit world-renowned faculty. He established six scholarships for doctor of pharmacy students in addition to fellowships for graduate students. He provided the seed money to begin building the school's 70,000 square feet of laboratory space in UNC-Chapel Hill's Genetic Medicine Building and established a Fund for Excellence to support innovation in the school.