Lilly Endowment gives $35M to start pharmacy school

December 20, 2010

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has given $35 million to Manchester College to help launch a new school of pharmacy in Fort Wayne.

The donation, to be announced today, comes just a month before Manchester applies for accreditation for the school, which it hopes to open in 2012.

Manchester, a liberal arts college with about 1,300 students, is located in the town of North Manchester, about 35 miles west of Fort Wayne. The school of pharmacy will enroll 70 doctoral students in its first class and expand up to 265 over the following three years.

The school of pharmacy, which was announced in October 2009, will be located near Parkview Health hospital facilities in Fort Wayne. It will be Manchester’s first satellite campus.

Manchester’s will be the third in Indiana offering doctorates in pharmacy, joining schools at Butler University in Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette. When New Jersey-based Medco Health Solutions Inc. decided in 2007 to open a pharmacy distribution facility in Whitestown, it specifically cited the presence of Butler and Purdue’s pharmacy schools as the key reason.

“Having a new generation of pharmacy graduates is important to the talent pipeline for Indiana companies like Medco, WellPoint, Express Scripts, and Clarian,” said David Johnson, CEO of the life sciences business development group BioCrossroads, in a statement.

Gov. Mitch Daniels also lauded the grant, noting that pharmacists are particularly well-paid. Average pharmacist salaries nationwide top $115,000, according the industry trade journal Drug Topics.

There are 115 schools of pharmacy nationally, with 20 more preparing to launch, according to the American Pharmacists Association. There are nearly 175,000 pharmacists nationwide. Most dispense prescription medicines in community drug stores, though a growing number work at hospitals or as consultants and health care managers.

In May, Manchester hired its pharmacy school dean, Philip J. Medon, from Southern Illinois University. He is now leading recruiting for faculty in pharmacy practice, pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacy administration and biomedical science.

“The school will further important efforts in Indiana to increase opportunities for education and careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines,” said Sara Cobb, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education, in a statement. “The endowment believes this support should add significantly to the intellectual capital in northeast Indiana and enhance the vibrant life sciences sector growing throughout the state.”

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