School of Pharmacy celebrates 50 years of excellence

Over the weekend, Northeastern celebrated the School of Pharmacy’s 50th anniversary, bringing together generations of graduates, faculty, staff, university leaders, along with current students, to commemorate the school’s proud history and look ahead toward its promising future.

On Saturday night, more than 275 people, including approximately 150 alumni, attended a grand celebration of the impact university leaders, distinguished faculty and outstanding students have made on the School of Pharmacy over the last half-century.

“You may have noticed that the campus has changed, the programs have changed and the people have changed, but at its core, it’s that enduring commitment to excellence that drives us forward every day,” John R. Reynolds, dean of the School of Pharmacy, told attendees.

Terry Fulmer, dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, noted that the exceptional accomplishments from alumni and students include an “impressive array of successes in the advancement of drug discovery, delivery and diagnostics along with our world-class educational programs.”

Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern, called the anniversary celebration an important milestone and hailed faculty, staff and alumni for the school’s progress over the last 50 years. He also credited the school for its focus on use-inspired research driven by societal needs, noting that health, along with security and sustainability, is one of the university’s top research themes.

“We know today just how important health care and efficient cost-effective delivery of health care is in this country and this school plays a leading role there,” Director said.

A commemorative video was also played at the event, capturing the school’s history and offering a glimpse into its cutting-edge research—which includes utilizing nanotechnology to combat cancer and developing subcutaneous nanosensors  that monitor blood glucose levels.

The event also recognized several distinguished honorees who have made profound contributions to the school over the years:

George D. Behrakis, P’57, H’98, and Margo Behrakis
George, a visionary leader in the pharmaceutical industry, and Margo Behrakis’ gift led to the founding of the state-of-the-art Behrakis Health Sciences Center. The couple has established chairs and scholarships at Northeastern and other universities and medical centers, including the George D. Behrakis Chair in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at Northeastern. George Behrakis has served on Northeastern’s board of trustees for many years, and was elected lifetime trustee emeritus in 2006 in recognition of his leadership. He also received an honorary degree from Northeastern in 1998 and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Sport in Society, a Northeastern University research center, in 2000.

Joseph Fleming, P’70, MS’71, and Nancy Fleming, P’71
Joseph Fleming, an entrepreneur, was named an Alumnus of the Year in 2005, and founded the highly successful Health Sciences Entrepreneurs program at Northeastern. He is chairman of the HSE program and is active in mentoring young entrepreneurs. Nancy Fleming served as an assistant director of pharmacy at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and a supervisor of pharmacy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has been a spokesperson for the pharmacy alumni outreach group and a member of the 50th Anniversary Committee.

John Neumeyer and Evelyn Neumeyer, ED’78
John Neumeyer, a former professor of medicinal chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, established Northeastern’s first doctoral program (Pharmaceutical Sciences). In 1981, he was named the university’s first Matthews Distinguished Professor. He was also recently inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society and was named the 2012 Outstanding Educator of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Evelyn Neumeyer was honored by Northeastern as the 1992 Outstanding Alumna for Business and Industry. The couple participates in the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs program and has established two undergraduate scholarships at Bouvé as well as a Research Achievement Award given annually to a graduate student in the pharmaceutical sciences.

The School of Pharmacy’s rich history dates back 85 years to 1927 when Constantine Meriano founded the Meriano School of Pharmacy in Boston. In 1940, the school was incorporated into the Boston School of Pharmacy, and in 1949 it was renamed the New England College of Pharmacy.

Then, in 1962, the college merged with Northeastern to become the Northeastern University College of Pharmacy. In 1999, Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Heath Sciences was formed, and it now houses the School of Pharmacy. Earlier this year, the school moved to its new location at 140 The Fenway.

A panel discussion, hosted by the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs, that drew approximately 75 students kicked off the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday with alumni community pharmacists highlighting opportunities for entrepreneurs in independent community pharmacy.

One of the alumni panelists, Vahrij Manoukian, P’81, owner of Hollis Pharmacy in New Hampshire, urged students to consider taking an entrepreneurial leap and building their own local community pharmacies, which he said requires developing strong relationships with customers and stellar customer service. He also noted that Northeastern’s signature experiential education model gives students invaluable real-world experience as they begin their careers in pharmacy.

On Sunday, the 50th anniversary festivities concluded with a White Coat Ceremony for the Doctor of Pharmacy program’s Class of 2016. The ceremony formally moves students into the professional phase of their pharmacy education. George Behrakis P’57, and Afton Wagner, P’07, from the National Community Pharmacists Association, were the keynote speakers at the ceremony. The event was attended by a full house of the students’ family and friends in Blackman Auditorium.