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Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences Officially Opens Its Doors


April 27, 2006  |  

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will officially dedicate its new home on the La Jolla campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) on Tuesday, May 2 at 3 p.m. with a ceremony that marks a monumental event in the short history of the School.

Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Building
New Phamaceuticals Sciences Building on Osler Drive --
School Is 2nd Public School of Pharmacy In California

This academic year has marked many firsts for the faculty, staff and students of the Skaggs School – the first year in which all four classes, freshman through seniors, are enrolled; the year the School’s inaugural class of 24 students will graduate, and the year in which a four-story, 110,000-square-foot home was completed, enabling the school to accept 60 Doctor of Pharmacy students in each class and develop top tier research programs in the pharmaceutical sciences.

“This school was planned to help fill the critical shortage of pharmacists in California, said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.  Building on UCSD’s strong research base and excellent teaching hospitals, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is truly in a unique position to train the pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists of the 21st century.”

The School was named in recognition of a $30 million gift from The Skaggs Institute for Research.  The largest gift ever given to UCSD Health Sciences, the funding will be instrumental in building and equipping the new school’s auditorium and education center, recruiting top-tier faculty and supporting scholarships for pharmacy students.   L.S. “Sam” Skaggs, nationally recognized as a pioneer in the retail drugstore and grocery business, and his wife, Aline, created and funded The Skaggs Institute for Research primarily to support medical research, and chose to support UCSD’s School of Pharmacy because of its innovative, integrative approach to expanding the boundaries of the profession.

“This is a very proud moment for all of us at UCSD who have been involved in the School of Pharmacy since its inception,” said Palmer Taylor, Ph.D., Dean of Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at UCSD. “Our new building provides lab and instructional facilities for development of pre-eminent pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists – a new generation trained to meet the complexities of contemporary healthcare and drug development.”

School Offers Unique Training

“I came to UCSD because of its innovative program, integrating pharmacy students with medical students and creating a mutual respect between the two healthcare fields,” said Danielle Mahfood, Class of 2007.

The Skagg’s School is the only public university school of pharmacy in Southern California, and one of only two public pharmacy schools in the state.  Its four-year program leads to a doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and offers unique classroom and clinical training in conjunction with UCSD’s School of Medicine.  Second-year pharmacy students at UCSD share the same classes with the first-year medical students, and in their fourth year, pharmacy students participate in clinical rotations and advanced practice experiences with medical students. The School also offers a joint PharmD/Ph.D. program – envisioned to be closely aligned with the drug development process, therapeutic practices and outcomes – as well as post-graduate residencies for the Pharm.D. graduates.

“Our program emphasizes the critical role of pharmacists as part of the patient care team,” said Edward Holmes, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of UCSD’s School of Medicine.  “The medical community now looks to the pharmacist as a key partner.  With UCSD’s long history of scientific excellence and patient-care opportunities with the School of Medicine and Medical Center, the Skaggs School is uniquely positioned to train pharmacists as therapeutic consultants to the patient and to other health professionals.”

Taylor notes that UCSD provides a variety of clinical settings for its pharmacy students to hone their patient-care skills, having a diverse health care system with outpatient clinics including the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, two major hospitals, plus affiliations with the Naval Medical Center San Diego, Kaiser Permanente, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, and Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego.

Graduates Will Serve Key Role in Biotech Industry

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy is also well-positioned geographically, with strong partnerships on the UCSD campus with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the School of Medicine, science departments on campus, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and Jacobs School of Engineering providing collaborative opportunities in drug design and development.  San Diego’s booming biotech industry offers additional opportunities for innovative research collaborations.

With the focus of health care delivery emphasizing management of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma that involve increased reliance on drug therapy and complex drug regimens, the role of the pharmacist has become more important than ever.  Sequencing of the human genome has led to new avenues for drug development and the pharmacists of the future will be increasingly called upon to help monitor drug compliance, interactions and patient outcomes.

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students will prepare for a multitude of career choices – including hospital or clinical pharmacy, community pharmacy, pharmaceutical management, or drug development in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry – through their training in a variety of scientific, computer, drug-study and patient-management courses.

“As students, we are given a wealth of career opportunities, and the training we receive provides us with confidence to make a good decision,” added Tom Hatch, Class of 2008.

Building Features

Features of the new $45 million Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences building and Education Center, designed by CO Architects of Los Angeles, include:

  • 45,000 ASF of wet laboratory and informatics space on three floors
  • Additional core facilities for analytical research at all levels of integration in the pharmaceutical sciences
  • High-field nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectometry labs at the basement level
  • A point-of-care learning facility – a model pharmacy for training students that includes videoconferencing equipment for student feedback
  • 14,000 ASF of classroom space with wireless networks for a steady-state enrollment of 330 (240 PharmD students, 60 PhD students and 30 residents.)
  • Adjacent 14,500 square-foot Education Center with 260-seat auditorium, scheduled for completion in July 2006

The opening of a new school of pharmacy in the 21st century has given UCSD an unprecedented opportunity to use emerging technologies in “the genomic era” in both education and research.  The School is taking advantage of latest developments to train practicing pharmacists to not just dispense drugs, but to work in drug discovery and development. By emphasizing pharmacogenomics and bioinformatics, UCSD’s new school – one of just a small number of public pharmacy schools to open across the country in recent decades – will be setting the standard for the way the next generation of pharmacists will be trained.

“With our research and clinical base, computer capabilities and partnership opportunities,” Taylor said, “UCSD is well-positioned to take a national lead in this area.”

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About the Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next

Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, the University of California, California has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research.  In order to keep UCSD at the forefront of academic and research excellence, the university launched The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What's Next in July 2000.  Donations to the comprehensive $1 billion fund-raising campaign will help support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest priority needs.  The Campaign for UCSD has generated nearly $880 million to date, but there is about $120 million to raise before the campaign concludes in June 2007. For more information, please visit  

Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163,


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