School Hosts 175th Anniversary Luncheon to Honor Exceptional Alumni

Event celebrates alumni who epitomize expertise, influence, and impact in education, research, practice, and community service and commemorates milestone anniversary for the School.

By Malissa Carroll
May 4, 2017

Distinguished alumni and their guests gathered in Pharmacy Hall on April 29, as the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its 175th Anniversary Alumni Awards of Service and Excellence Luncheon. Held to commemorate the School’s 175th anniversary, the event celebrated 37 outstanding alumni who were nominated for the honor by their fellow alumni and who epitomize expertise, influence, and impact in the School’s mission areas of education, research, practice, and community service.

“I am tremendously grateful to host this first-of-its-kind celebration at the School honoring our extraordinary alumni, both past and present,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD ‘89, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, as she welcomed attendees to the event. “The School of Pharmacy has long known about your contributions and successes, and has looked forward to an opportunity such as this to celebrate your accomplishments. As the recipients of today’s Alumni Awards of Service and Excellence, you are the true embodiment of the School of Pharmacy’s legacy, and account for a large part of our 175 years of history and our unparalleled success.”

Established in 1841, the School of Pharmacy is the fourth oldest pharmacy school in the United States. It celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2016. The presentation of Alumni Awards of Service and Excellence marked one of the culminating events for this milestone anniversary celebration.

The event kicked off with the presentation of awards in the categories of research and community service. Research honorees were recognized for their efforts to combine the knowledge that they learned at the School with their unique expertise to help advance scientific knowledge across the spectrum of drug discovery, health services, and practice-based and translational research. Community service honorees were celebrated for their service to professional organizations at both the state and national levels, as well as their work to provide care to patients, mentor the next generation of pharmacy practitioners, and promote healthy communities.

“It has been a wonderful experience to have this opportunity to reconnect with my great-grandfather’s alma mater,” said John (Jay) Dunning, Jr., who attended the event with his father John Dunning to accept an Alumni Award of Service and Excellence in Community Service on behalf of H.A.B. Dunning, PhG 1897, the inventor of mercurochrome – an iconic antiseptic product found in almost every American’s medicine cabinet for nearly half a century. “Our family has a longstanding relationship with the University System of Maryland, so it was an honor to visit this respected institution.”

“When I think about the other alumni receiving awards today, I feel incredibly honored to be recognized alongside them,” added DeAnna “Dixie” Leikach, BSP ’92, who received an Alumni Award of Service and Excellence in Community Service for her work as vice president of Catonsville, Finksburg, and Paradise Professional Pharmacies and service as president and chief executive officer of Pharmacy Ethics, Education, and Resources (PEER), a nonprofit organization that she established in 2015. “It is an incredible experience to be here today and to take part in this extraordinary event.”

Following a short break for lunch, the event continued with the presentation of awards in the practice and education categories. Practice honorees included community pharmacists, academicians who also care for patients, consultants, and other experts who work to advance pharmacy practice while improving outcomes for patients. Education honorees were described as the “cream of the crop” in higher education, and included alumni who teach at or lead respected academic institutions, or who have established educational opportunities for students within their professional arenas.

“I am humbled to be here today in the company of such distinguished alumni whom I deeply appreciate and respect,” said Wanda T. Maldonado-Dávila, BSP ’82, PharmD ’86, dean and professor of the University of Puerto Rico School of Pharmacy, who accepted an Alumni Award of Service and Excellence in Education for her work to advance pharmacy education in Puerto Rico, including the implementation of a number of interprofessional education initiatives and development of a new residency program in community pharmacy and certificate in academia for pharmacy residents. “When I first enrolled at the School as a student, I could not have imagined the impact that the experience I was embarking on would have on me as a person and as a professional. I am truly grateful to the School of Pharmacy for providing me with the opportunity to be part of this great community of pharmacists, teachers, learners, scientists, and patient advocates who strive to make a difference in our society.”

“As a student pharmacist, I never expected to pursue a career in academia, so receiving this recognition today is quite humbling,” added Anthony K. Wutoh, BSP ’90, PhD ’96, provost and chief academic officer for Howard University, who accepted an Alumni Award of Service and Excellence in Education for his leadership at Howard University and participation in a multitude of international programs aimed at advancing pharmacy education around the world. “In addition to my father, who was a professor at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, I attribute a lot of the success that I have experienced in my career to the education, training, and mentoring that I received at the School of Pharmacy. The faculty at the School helped me understand how a career in academia would allow me to work with students and participate in research in a field that was particularly meaningful to me.”

Eddington, who was also honored with an Alumni Award of Service and Excellence in Education in recognition of her continued service to the School, concluded the event with a call to action for the award winners, encouraging them to continue their trailblazing work while also advocating and serving as an ambassador for the School of Pharmacy. She also introduced “pharmapreneurism” – the umbrella under which the School of Pharmacy will continue to innovate in education, practice, research, and community service – noting that honorees could expect to hear more about this transformational concept at an upcoming gala that will celebrate the School’s founding pharmapreneurs on May 10.

“Today marks the start of a new relationship between the School of Pharmacy, all of our honorees, and between each of you – a relationship strengthened by your shared connection as recipients of Alumni Awards of Service and Excellence,” said Eddington. “I challenge you all to continue your incredible work with the added pride of this recognition and the bond you now share with both your fellow honorees and the School. You are all pharmapreneurs, as evidenced by the innovations that you have implemented in practice, research, academia, and service, and you now have the distinction of being recognized as all-time award winners. However, with that recognition comes responsibility – helping us continue to be the best school of pharmacy.”

To view a complete list of honorees for the Alumni Awards of Service and Excellence, visit this webpage.

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