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School of Pharmacy kicks off silver anniversary year

By Jenn Deon

A special milestone is upon the School of Pharmacy. Sept. 1 marked the 25th anniversary of the school, and the event will be celebrated through Aug. 31, 2012.

Flashback to September 1986. That's when, for the first time, 25 students began classes on the first floor of the Health Sciences Centre under the leadership of the school's first director, the late Dr. Gerald R. Duncan.

During the following two years, funding was secured from the private and public sectors to allow construction of the new pharmacy school.

Phase one, the student laboratories, was completed in January 1988, just as the second year students needed their first pharmacy laboratory.

The next two phases, which completed the research space, were finished by April 1989. The last phase of lecture rooms and offices was completed in April 1990, just prior to the graduation of the first class.

From its modest beginnings in 1986 with one faculty member, the school now boasts almost 40 faculty and staff and has outgrown its original space in the Health Sciences Centre.

The School of Pharmacy turning 25 brings an opportunity to reflect on all that has been accomplished.

Since 1990, the school has graduated 745 students – alumni who now work in every corner of our province and country as well as around the world in all aspects of pharmaceutical practice and research.

The education of pharmacists in Newfoundland and Labrador is second to none thanks to the many people who have played a role in the school's ongoing development.

Individuals – students, alumni, staff, faculty, preceptors -- and professional organizations and industry have all had a part in the school's advancement.

The School of Pharmacy owes much to the outstanding leadership of its directors and dean. Dr. Gerry Duncan, Dr. Christopher Loomis and Dr. Linda Hensman have each played pivotal roles in creating a tradition of excellence in pharmacy education.

Celebration activities marking this amazing milestone will be held throughout the year.

You can stay tuned by visiting the school's website at, following the school on Facebook at or on Twitter