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Pharmacy professorship established to honor popular faculty member

- May 4, 2009


The Board of Trustees has established a professorship in community pharmacy practice in honor of Henry A. Palmer, a popular teacher, scholar, and mentor in the School of Pharmacy for more than 40 years.

The Henry A. Palmer Professorship was created in recognition of Palmer’s extensive scholarship in community pharmacy and patient care. His teachings have prepared many generations of pharmacy students for their vital day-to-day role in community pharmacies across the nation.

The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. and the School of Pharmacy received more than $756,000 from donors to support the professorship. A committee of alumni volunteers is pursuing additional gifts this year in order to raise the minimum $1.5 million needed to establish an endowed chair in Palmer’s honor.

Robert McCarthy, dean of the School of Pharmacy, says the professorship will help the Department of Pharmacy Practice recruit a nationally renowned scholar and researcher to the faculty. McCarthy says he hopes to fill the position in the coming months.

“The School of Pharmacy has been around for nearly 85 years,” says McCarthy. “If you look at those eight plus decades, two individuals have really dominated the history … It was Dean Harold G. Hewitt in those first 40 years. And in the past 40 years, Henry Palmer has been that dominant person. You just hear his name again and again as someone who has had an effect on students and faculty.”

Palmer began his career in the School of Pharmacy in 1958 as a graduate teaching assistant while he completed his master’s degree (1960) and Ph.D. (1965). He was named assistant dean in 1979, clinical professor in 1981, and associate dean in 1985. From 1988 to 1996, Palmer served as director of the School’s Alumni Association.

Palmer received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999 and the first Distinguished Emeritus Faculty Award in 2004. After retiring from teaching in 2000, Palmer continued to serve as clinical professor emeritus and director of the School of Pharmacy’s Office of Continuing Education for a number of years.

“I never would have imagined such an honor would be bestowed on me,” Palmer says.

“This honor clearly reflects on the support of my family throughout my teaching career, as well as the many students with whom I’ve had the pleasure of being involved as a teacher, colleague, and friend.”

McCarthy says the response from donors so far has been impressive. “Folks have just readily wanted to participate. They were more than happy to give,” he says. “That’s the kind of person that Henry is.”

The new faculty position will focus on all aspects of community pharmacy practice, including patient care, medication management, research, statistical analysis, and consultations with health care providers.

“More important than personal honor is what this chair means to the School of Pharmacy and how it will impact on pharmacy practice,” Palmer says

. “I’m happy to know there is going to be an exclusive focus on community pharmacy practice and patient care in the future with a dedicated professorship or chair.”

He notes that candidates for the position will have successfully demonstrated the skills to create and evaluate innovative approaches to patient care.

“Research demonstrating the value of the community pharmacist in today’s health care system will result in more beneficial and safer patient care,” Palmer adds. “Additionally, practicing pharmacists and students will benefit from the resources this faculty chair will provide.”

Those interested in making a donation to the Henry A. Palmer Endowment Fund may contact the Lisa D. Brown, assistant director of development for the School of Pharmacy, at 860-486-9342 or via e-mail: lbrown@foundation.uconn.edu

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