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Pharmacy professor Henry Palmer dies

by Colin Poitras - June 8, 2009


Henry A. “Hank” Palmer, a clinical professor and former associate dean in the School of Pharmacy, died May 23. He was 73.

Just a few weeks previously, he had been honored by colleagues and friends in the School of Pharmacy with the creation of a Palmer Pharmacy Professorship in his name.

Palmer spent 42 years teaching at UConn. His teaching career began as a graduate teaching assistant and ended with his retirement in January 2000 as a clinical professor and associate dean.

An expert in the areas of prescription compounding, non-prescription medication, and consumer education, Palmer received many awards for his outstanding work and commitment to students.

The Connecticut Pharmacists Association named a scholarship after him in 2000 and the School of Pharmacy’s continuing education program was named after him in 2002.

Palmer was a past president of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association and was active in many state and national pharmacy and health-related organizations.

He served as a consultant to pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and health-related institutions, and pioneered the development of several methods of medication use for consumers.

“It’s hard to sum up a life and career like Hank’s,” said Robert McCarthy, dean of the School of Pharmacy, in an e-mail to colleagues.

“His impact on literally thousands of students and pharmacists will be felt for many years to come.

“His former students and protégés can be found across the United States and the world, making a difference in the lives of patients and practicing their profession with the empathy and dedication to purpose that was the essence of their mentor,” McCarthy added.

“We all miss his wise counsel, his enduring optimism, and his love for pharmacy and pharmacy education. We will not soon see his like again.”

Robin Bogner, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, was one of those who benefited from Palmer’s extensive knowledge and mentoring skills.

“Henry was a great man, a great teacher, a caring friend, and a very proactive mentor,” said Bogner. “He was, as many have said, the face of pharmacy at UConn.”

“At a time when extemporaneous pharmaceutical compounding was on the decline in the U.S., Henry doggedly kept teaching it and advocating for it,” Bogner says.

“Because of his proactive yet gentle mentoring, UConn has remained in the lead in teaching and scholarship in pharmaceutical compounding.”

Palmer was born in Albany, N.Y. in 1936. He earned his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at the Albany College of Pharmacy. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the UConn School of Pharmacy.

He was named assistant dean in 1979, clinical professor in 1981, and associate dean in 1985. He served as director of UConn’s Alumni Association from 1988 to 1996. He received the first Distinguished Emeritus Faculty Award in 2004.

Palmer was married for 50 years to his high school sweetheart, Janice Stuart Palmer.

The School of Pharmacy continues to pursue an endowed chair in Palmer’s name. At the time of going to press, nearly $777,500 had been raised through private donations, enough for the professorship but short of the $1.5 million needed to establish an endowed chair.

Those wishing to contribute to the fund may contact The Henry A. Palmer Endowment Fund, c/o Lisa Brown, assistant director of development for the School of Pharmacy, at 860-486-9342 or via e-mail at: lbrown@foundation.uconn.edu.

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