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Distinguished Alumnus Honored at USciences’ 195th Founders’ Day Ceremony

By Brian Kirschner

Founders' day celebration

Distinguished alumnus, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dinesh C. Patel MS'75, PhD, returned to University of the Sciences in Philadelphia to accept an honorary doctor of science degree during the University’s 195th Founders’ Day Ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.

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As a native of Zambia, Africa, Dr. Patel made the life-changing decision in 1973 to move with his wife to the United States so that he could pursue a master’s degree in pharmaceutics at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at USciences. Over the course of his career, Dr. Patel has secured 15 patents worldwide, as well as founded and invested in more than 20 biotechnology and information technology companies.

“I knew early on in my undergraduate career that I would someday run my own company,” said Dr. Patel. “I was aware that in order to accomplish my goals, I needed to gain a strong educational background, and PCP had a great reputation in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Among some of his most noteworthy accomplishments include taking his first business, TheraTech, Inc. public in 1992. This company specialized in developing controlled, time-release medicines like transdermal patches and oral systems for delivering medications. TheraTech was later acquired by Watson Pharmaceuticals in 1999, and Dr. Patel shifted his entrepreneurial efforts toward becoming a venture capitalist and philanthropist.

Dr. Patel is the co-founder of vSpring Capital, a Salt Lake City-based investment firm now known as Signal Peak Ventures, which manages more than $500 million in capital investments. However, he now spends much of his time and fortune giving back to underserved communities in India through the Shakti Krupa Charitable Trust started by his father.

In 1994, he and his brothers established the Shree Chhotubhai A. Patel Hospital and Community Health Centre in Mota Fofalia, India—a 100-bed charity hospital now serving 65,000 people in local villages surrounding their father’s birthplace. He also runs a foundation with his wife that donates to various social and cultural activities in the United States and abroad.

“I am an African by birth, an Indian by origin, an American by citizenship, and a proud Utahan by choice,” said Dr. Patel. “However, I am also a USciences alumnus by choice, and it is truly an honor for me to accept this Honorary Doctorate which had been bestowed upon me.”

Each year, Founders’ Day at USciences recognizes its establishment on Feb. 23, 1821, as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy — the first college of pharmacy in North America, which is now a part of USciences. As part of the ceremony, merit awards were presented to current undergraduate and graduate students as well as a staff and faculty member: 

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