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Reflecting on 21 Years as Dean

By Marilyn K. Speedie, PhD, Dean, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

I have had the privilege of serving as Dean of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy for more than 21 years. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with countless Minnesota pharmacists. Together, we have accomplished a great number of things for which we can all be proud.

I am especially proud of our expansion to the Duluth campus, which helped solve the serious pharmacist shortage in the state and enabled us to serve rural as well as urban Minnesotans.

Early on in my tenure as Dean, we implemented the Doctor of Pharmacy as the only professional degree for pharmacists, which added a year to the curriculum and required that we offer an online PharmD for practicing BS pharmacists. That, combined with years of working with the professional organizations in the state to advance pharmacists’ capability of serving the citizens of the state, has placed Minnesota in the enviable position of having cutting-edge practices of pharmacy throughout the state.

Together, we have helped Minnesota create practice environments where pharmacists are using their clinical knowledge to provide compensated medication management to patients; leading the way for passage of legislation in Minnesota that allows pharmacists to administer immunizations and recognizes pharmacists as health care providers.

Within the college, I have had the pleasure of working with faculty, staff and students who are extremely innovative and hardworking, which is evident by our #2 ranking by U.S.News & World Report. As people look at us and rank us, they reflect on the individual employees and students, residents, pharmacists they know who are at our school or have come from the school. They look at the progressive nature of the practice in Minnesota. And, then they rank us highly because we are innovative, we are known, we are having an impact on the world, and we produce outstanding graduates.

Throughout my tenure as Dean, we have expanded our research funding as well as the impact of our research. We are making important contributions to drug discovery and development, drug delivery, pharmacogenomics, clinical trials, informatics, pharmacoeconomics, and understanding drug-taking behaviors, among other areas.

We are contributing to the advancement of the profession in its ability to serve patients in new models of interprofessional health care.

Many of these accomplishments could not have been possible without your gifts of time, talent and treasure. Without your involvement, our ability to meet our mission would be greatly diminished. I hope you feel pride in what we have accomplished together.

As I step down as Dean, I want to assure you that the future of the college lies in capable hands. Incoming Dean Lynda Welage is inheriting an outstanding organization, and she is well-experienced and has the right skills and abilities to carry it forward. I am excited to see where we are going.

Thank you for your support over the years. I wish you all well.

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