Marisa OlsonContact Email:
With an air of formality and a hint of humor, University of the Sciences celebrated 189 years of academic excellence with a Founders’ Day celebration on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010. The annual event recalls the University's establishment on Feb. 23, 1821, by 68 prominent Philadelphia apothecaries.
The University marked the occasion with the bestowing of an honorary doctorate of science degree on Joseph M. Mahady, MBA, president (retired) of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Mahady was selected in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and leadership in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry as well as his continued dedication to innovation and excellence.
Most recently, Mahady was senior vice president of Wyeth and president of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and retired upon the closing of Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth. Mahady had been with the divisions of Wyeth for 30 years and under his leadership Wyeth evolved as one of world’s leading global biopharmaceutical companies.
As Mahady graciously accepted his honorary degree from President Dr. Philip P. Gerbino, he recounted the University’s steady presence throughout his career. Mahady served on the University’s board of trustees from May 2004 to Sept. 2009, led a company founded by alumnus John Wyeth P’1854, and has worked alongside countless University graduates.
He recognized the University as “one of the first in the country to understand the role of life sciences innovation and to recognize the roles of healthcare policy” and encouraged students to pursue opportunities in the life sciences industry.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a career where I woke up every day believing that what we worked on mattered, and I’ve been equally fortunate to develop a relationship with this university and found that so much that goes on here matters in very much the same way,” Mahady said. “I couldn't tell students a better place to go. I didn't just like what we did as an industry, I loved it.”
To further mark the occasion, Provost Dr. Russell J. Digate presented an award of merit to faculty member Guillermo Moyna, associate professor of chemistry. Dr. Moyna is the third most published faculty member in the history of the University, earning the rank after only 10 years. A strong supporter of undergraduate research experience, Dr. Moyna routinely utilizes undergraduate students in his productive research efforts.
Dean of Students Dr. William G. Cunningham, Jr., presented a second award of merit to student Brendan O’Brien C’10, Phys’10. As a double major in chemistry and physics, a teaching assistant, vice president of the American Chemical Society student club, and secretary of the Physics Club, O’Brien has a heavy load. In spite of this, O’Brien is also engaged in research with faculty members in two departments, and his computational and experimental research has already led to several publications.
Since its founding as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1821, the institution has grown from a small college into a vibrant university. Founders’ Day is an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn more about the rich tradition of producing leaders who shape new dimensions of professionalism, pharmacy, and healthcare, while recognizing the next generation of healthcare professionals.