May 21, 2008
The School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill today was named in honor of Fred Eshelman, a 1972 graduate of the School and founder and chief executive officer of Wilmington-based PPD Inc.
The School now is the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Eshelman has been a member of the School of Pharmacy’s Board of Visitors for more than a decade and has lectured at the School as an adjunct faculty member. In 2003, he pledged $20 million to the School. At the time, it was the third largest single commitment in the University’s history and the largest ever made to a pharmacy school in the United States. He committed another $10 million to the School in 2007 to close out the University’s Carolina First Campaign, which raised $2.38 billion overall. Eshelman’s total support of the pharmacy school amounts to about $33 million.
“This is a fitting way to honor a Carolina alumnus who has given so much to this University,” said Chancellor James Moeser. “We have an exceptional pharmacy school in large part because of the support of Dr. Eshelman.”
Said Eshelman: “I am not unique among UNC pharmacy graduates. So many have given their time, talent and resources to make this school great. It is truly an honor to be recognized along with the other names that grace this school, names like Kerr, Rogers, and Holt. I am proud to join such distinguished company.”
Eshelman created five $1 million distinguished professorships that have been used to recruit world-renowned faculty to the School. He also established six scholarships for doctor of pharmacy students and fellowships that last year were awarded to eight graduate students.
His gift provided the seed money to begin construction of the School of Pharmacy’s 70,000 square feet of laboratory space in the University’s new Genetic Medicine Building, which is scheduled to open this summer. Eshelman also contributed to the recent renovation of Beard Hall, the School’s home since 1959, by providing funds to upgrade the dean’s office and the Campbell Boardroom with amenities that would not be possible with state dollars alone. He also created a fund to encourage innovation at the School. Each year the money from the fund must be spent on a new initiative or idea.
“Dr. Eshelman shares our vision of excellence and wants the School to be successful,” said Bob Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school. “We’ve allocated his gift to the areas that will benefit most.”
Eshelman’s latest commitment provided support to jump-start the School’s new centers that are focusing on cancer research, resulting in matching funds from the University Cancer Research Fund that created the $18 million Carolina Partnership formed to pursue new cancer treatments.
Such support goes to one of the nation’s most respected pharmacy schools. Its doctor of pharmacy program placed second in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s best graduate schools and, since 2003, it has climbed from twenty-second to sixth in National Institutes of Health funding to U.S. pharmacy schools. The School enrolls about 550 students in its professional degree program and has almost 100 faculty members. Roughly half of the pharmacists practicing in North Carolina are UNC-Chapel Hill graduates.
Eshelman’s company, PPD, is a leading global contract research organization providing discovery, development and post-approval services as well as compound partnering programs to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, government, and academic organizations.
The Eshelman School of Pharmacy is the second named school at UNC. The first was Kenan-Flagler Business School, named in 1991.