School of Pharmacy Alumnus, Founding Pharmapreneur Receives Honorary Degree from UMB

Calvin Knowlton, BScPharm, MDiv, PhD ’93, awarded honorary Doctor of Sciences in recognition of his decades of leadership in the fields of pharmacy, business, and philanthropy.

By Lou Cortina
May 20, 2021

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has awarded University of Maryland School of Pharmacy alumnus Calvin Knowlton, BScPharm, MDiv, PhD ’93, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Inc., an honorary Doctor of Sciences in recognition of his more than 30 years of leadership in the fields of pharmacy, business, and philanthropy.

Knowlton has founded 10 companies, including Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Inc., and its subsidiary, CareKinesis, Inc. Tabula Rasa develops technology-enabled products and services for medication risk management and organizational performance optimization. CareKinesis provides medication therapy management to individuals with complex medication needs. Knowlton also founded excelleRX/Hospice Pharmacia in 1995, the first national pharmacy company devoted to hospice care. During his 12-year tenure as CEO, the company served 40 percent of all hospice patients in the United States.

Put more simply, Knowlton “is the father of palliative pharmacotherapy,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy.

“Dr. Knowlton was gifted with the passion and vision to develop processes to optimize the appropriate use of medications at the end of life,” adds Eddington. “The pharmaceutical care processes implemented in his practice and used to care for terminally ill patients have been recognized worldwide as models of excellence. His drive to change the way prescription medication is deployed continues to improve the quality of many individuals’ lives and will have a significant impact on the future of palliative pharmacotherapy.”

Knowlton earned his PhD in pharmacoeconomics from the School of Pharmacy in 1993 and was honored as one of the School’s Founding Pharmapreneurs in 2017. He has won several awards for innovation and leadership, including Most Influential Pharmacist in the U.S. in 1997, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Greater Philadelphia Region) in 2003 and 2013, and Walter M. Aikman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004.

In 2015, he received the Remington Honor Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), in recognition of his professional achievements, innovations, and advancements. He also has served as president of APhA, the APhA Foundation, and the American College of Apothecaries.

Knowlton received his pharmacy degree from Temple University and his divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a professor and department chair for the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in the 1990s and has authored or co-authored textbooks, book chapters, and articles focused on the role and responsibility of pharmacists in the outcomes of patient-centered medication care.

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