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Rick Shangraw, Pharmapreneurship Champion, Receives Honorary Doctorate from UMB

R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., PhD, MPA, has a long history with the School of Pharmacy.

Headshot of Rick Shangraw, Jr.

By Andrew Tie
May 13, 2024

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has awarded R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., PhD, MPA, president of Cintana Education, an honorary Doctor of Sciences in recognition of his involvement with and advocacy to advance pharmacy education, research, and practice.

Shangraw, who was born and raised in Baltimore, is the son of the late Ralph F. Shangraw, a former department chair and professor emeritus of pharmaceutics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP). The Ralph F. Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics was established at the School in 1995 in honor of his retirement. The younger Shangraw has maintained strong ties with the School, which nominated Rick for the honorary degree, ever since.

“Rick Shangraw has had a remarkable career in the academic and private sectors in areas including entrepreneurship, innovation, and global education,” said Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, president of UMB. “He has also been a vocal supporter and great resource for the School of Pharmacy for many years. I am proud to bestow this honorary doctorate upon Dr. Shangraw.”

Connection to UMSOP

With a father whose life as a faculty member often blended the personal and professional, Shangraw said he grew up at UMSOP in many ways.

He spent a lot of time at the School in his dad’s office and at graduation ceremonies. He tried Indian food for the first time thanks to his dad’s Indian graduate students. And he and his siblings were also extra sets of hands to assist in his dad’s work.

“I remember sitting around the dining table filling gelatin capsules with flour as a placebo for whatever experiment he was running,” Shangraw said. “After my dad passed away, it was important for me to stay connected to the School of Pharmacy. It’s not so much about legacy as it is about the fact I had learned to love the School as a kid.”

Global Education and Entrepreneurship

Shangraw has spent most of his career scaling organizations and improving the quality of organizational outcomes. Cintana Education helps facilitate global educational partnerships between Arizona State University (ASU) and universities in 23 countries around the world. In addition to his role as president at Cintana, he is the executive sponsor of its partnerships in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and India and oversees its professional services teams.

Prior to Cintana, Shangraw spent 15 years as a senior executive at ASU. From 2016 to 2019, he served as the founding chief executive officer of ASU Enterprise Partners, leading the movement to ensure and transform higher education through entrepreneurial initiatives. He became CEO of the ASU Foundation for a New American University in 2011 and directed its expansion and transformation into ASU Enterprise Partners — reimagining fundraising to create a diversified revenue generation model for ASU.

During his nine-year tenure, ASU Enterprise Partners grew its assets from $500 million to $1.5 billion, spanning five subsidiaries raising resources through philanthropy, real estate, technology commercialization, applied research, and venture investments. The organization also generated more than $900 million in new gifts and commitments, earned Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for eight years of his tenure, and received recognition for its commitment to transparency by GuideStar USA.

Shangraw previously served as senior vice president for research and innovation at ASU, establishing the university as one of the fastest-growing research enterprises in the United States. Under his leadership, nearly 5,000 distinct research projects were awarded more than $1.2 billion in funding. Before his tenure at ASU, Shangraw was the founder and CEO of Project Performance Corporation, a Washington, D.C.-based research and technology consulting firm specializing in environmental, energy, and information management challenges. He advised the U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Energy, as well as Fortune 100 companies.

Shangraw started his career as a tenure-track faculty member at Syracuse University. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in environmental studies from Dickinson College; a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University; and a doctorate in public administration from the Maxwell School, with a specialization in technology, information policy, and organization design.

Support for Pharmapreneurship®

With his experience and expertise in entrepreneurship, Shangraw has become involved in UMSOP’s Pharmapreneurship® initiative, the School’s commitment to supporting and best positioning faculty and students to achieve their career aspirations and address health care challenges. Shangraw credits his interest in entrepreneurism to his dad, who brought innovative ideas to UMSOP such as having a model pharmacy in Pharmacy Hall and establishing an externship program for students to get experience in pharmacies.

“It wasn’t a new idea for me that there would be an entrepreneurial mindset at the School of Pharmacy,” Shangraw said. “Pharmapreneurship is an extension of what I saw with my dad.

“As the pharmacy profession is evolving, the School of Pharmacy needs to be thinking about ways of advancing the profession and being more entrepreneurial. The fact that UMSOP has taken the lead in that area before any other schools of pharmacy is an indicator of the School’s innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.”

According to Sarah L.J. Michel, PhD, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, Shangraw has provided invaluable counsel, support, and guidance for pharmapreneurship.

“I want to thank President Jarrell and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents for recognizing the significant contributions Dr. Shangraw has made to our School,” Michel said. “The School of Pharmacy is honored to have been supported by Rick and the Shangraw family for so many years.”

Shangraw will receive the honorary doctorate during the UMSOP Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) graduation ceremony on May 17. When he found out about the degree, Shangraw said he was dumbfounded and floored.

“The fact the School reached out to me with an honorary degree is not only quite an honor,” Shangraw said. “It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

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