Chancellor Carol Folt and Dean Bob Blouin look on as Fred Eshelman speaks at an event celebrating the School's number one ranking in the 2107 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools.
Chancellor Carol Folt and Dean Bob Blouin look on as Fred Eshelman speaks at an event celebrating the School’s number one ranking in the 2107 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools.

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy held a press event on Wednesday, March 30, to celebrate its number one ranking by U.S. News & World Report in the 2017 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt, Ph.D., hosted the event with Dean Bob Blouin, Pharm.D. and Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D., who spoke and gave interviews to the media. Eshelman is a 1972 graduate of the School, founder and former CEO of PPD, Inc. and founding chairman of Furiex Pharmaceuticals. He has contributed nearly $140 million to the School since 2003, including a historic $100 million gift in 2014 — the largest in the University’s history and for any pharmacy school. The School was named for Eshelman in 2008.

Folt and Blouin said Eshelman’s $100 million gift helped put a national spotlight on the School’s achievements.

“I don’t think we could have actually predicted how fast and how enormously active that gift would prove to be,” Folt said at the press conference. “I am also acutely aware that this was a transformative moment for the entire University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Reporters from across the state covered the event, including representatives from the Durham Herald Sun, Chapelboro.com, Time Warner Cable News, The Raleigh News & Observer, WNCN and WLOS.

Eshelman and Blouin said faculty and students should celebrate their great achievements, and the School’s progress will not slow.

“We should enjoy this and be proud, but what happens next is taking it to the next level,” Eshelman said. “To the students and faculty, you did this. You should be very proud and stimulated to go even further.”

“This day is about the validation of hard work and commitment to excellence I have seen over the past 13 years,” Blouin said. “Totally commit yourself to excellence — don’t settle for less.”

Folt said she speaks for the entire University in her pride for the School, which she said is a model of excellence that every UNC school and department should strive toward.

“You don’t get the U.S. News number one ranking just for research, it is pulling together all aspects of this amazing school,” Folt said. “We look at the collegiality of how the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy works together, and it serves as a model for the University as a whole.”

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