University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) celebrated the 187th anniversary of its founding on Feb. 21, 2008, with a number of events, including the bestowing of a honorary degree upon Leonard S. Jacob, BI’70, MD, PhD, alumnus; chairman, Life Science Advisors; and founder as well as past chairman and CEO, InKine Pharmaceutical Co. Founders' Day recalls USP's establishment on Feb. 23, 1821, by 68 prominent Philadelphia apothecaries.
A full processional in the AstraZeneca Auditorium of the McNeil Science and Technology Center marked the start of the official ceremony that awarded Dr. Jacob with an honorary doctorate in science for his entrepreneurial spirit, pharmaceutical industry leadership, and continued dedication to innovation and excellence.
As Dr. Jacob graciously accepted his honorary doctorate from Dr. Gerbino, he reminisced upon his time at USP, calling it an “academic culture second to none.” Dr. Jacob has been responsible for developing seven prescribed drugs impacting human health. From 1980 to 1989, he served as worldwide vice president of SmithKline Pharmaceutical Co. and was a member of their Corporate Management Committee. For the past two decades, he has been an entrepreneur, co-founding Genaera Corp. (formerly Magainin Pharmaceuticals), a biotechnology company, in 1989, and InKine Pharmaceutical Co., a specialty pharmaceutical company that developed and commercialized gastrointestinal products, in 1998. He recently served as a non-executive chairman of Bradley Pharmaceuticals and currently is chairman for Life Science Advisors. Fielding questions from the audience after his acceptance speech, he was asked what the proudest moment of his career has been, to which he answered, “now”.
To further mark the occasion, USP’s M. Gary Sayed, PhD, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, presented an award of merit to faculty member Dr. Melanie B. Oates, vice chair of academic affairs, pharmaceutical and healthcare business and assistant professor of pharmaceutical and healthcare business/pharmacy administration. Dr. Oates is recognized for her tireless dedication to her students and for improving healthcare education through innovations such as integrating the “Second Life” program into her curriculum.
The second award of merit was presented by Aminta Hawkins-Breaux, PhD, dean of students, to USP student Anne “Maggie” Murphy, president of the inter-Greek council and vice president of the executive board of the student government association. Murphy has selflessly devoted herself to the USP community and Greek life and has become an invaluable component of the University. The award of merit is reserved for faculty members and students who exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and values of USP through dedication to innovation and excellence.
When the University was founded in the 19th century, the practice of pharmacy still relied heavily on centuries-old folk wisdom passed down from apothecary to apothecary. In 1821, 68 prominent Philadelphia apothecaries met in Carpenter's Hall to establish the basis for the improved scientific standards we enjoy today and to train more competent apprentices and students. They pledged “to invite a spirit of pharmaceutical investigation" and to guard the public from "the introduction of spurious, adulterated, deteriorated, or otherwise mischievous articles." A year later, they organized and incorporated the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP)—the first college of pharmacy in North America—now a part of USP. The group ushered in a new era of the practice of pharmacy—the identification, selection, compounding, and analysis of drugs—and laid the foundation for a legacy of future advances and discoveries.
Many of these discoveries were made by PCP graduates. PCP boasts a 'who's who' in the history of pharmaceutical companies with nine alumni who were founders and leaders of today's top pharmaceutical companies:
. Dr. Eli Lilly (1907) and his father Josiah K. Lilly (1882)
. Gerald F. Rorer (1931)
. William R. Warner (1856)
. Robert L. McNeil, Jr., (1938) and his grandfather Robert McNeil (1876)
. John Wyeth (1854)
. Silias M. Burroughs (1877)
. Sr. Henry S. Wellcome (1874)