$30 million pharmacy gift will create special center
Two University of South Carolina 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, the second-largest in the university's history.
Announced September 17 by University President Harris Pastides, the gift is from USC alumni William and Lou Kennedy of Orlando, Fla., and will establish The William P. and Lou W. 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 teaching, research and the way we prepare our students. This is one of those gifts. The Kennedys' enormous generosity will establish the South Carolina College of Pharmacy as a leader in pharmacy science and practice."
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 the university in cash over 10 years to fund the operation of the center. The remaining two-thirds will come as a bequest to endow the center.
Lou Kennedy, a Lexington native, earned her bachelor's degree from USC's College of Journalism in 1984. William "Bill" Kennedy earned his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the USC College of Pharmacy in 1966. He has achieved a reputation as an innovator in health care and pharmaceutical delivery.
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 a great 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, as well."
About the South Carolina College of Pharmacy
The South Carolina College of Pharmacy was formed in 2004 through the integration of the colleges of pharmacy at USC in Columbia and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
The SCCP is a statewide education, research and service institution that combines a large comprehensive university and a major academic medical center.
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 Dr. Joseph DiPiro, executive dean of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. "We're preparing them to not only meet the challenges of a dramatically changing healthcare landscape, but to conquer those challenges through innovation and creating new levels of success in science and in business."
The Pharmacy Innovation 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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," President 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 the Medical University of South Carolina and at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center via the college's distance education program.
The Kennedy's gift is the second-largest to Carolina. In 2004, USC alumna Darla Moore announced plans for a $45 million gift to the Moore School of Business if the school raised $30 million in funds beyond the university's institutional commitment of $15 million. The school exceeded its goal, raising $42.4 million in gifts, pledges and in-kind donations.