A night to honor excellence in pharmacy education

Past Alumni of the Year recipients from left: John Oftebro, Wayne Clemens, Holly Whitcomb Henry, John Swenson, Kim Campbell (accepting on behalf of her father, R. Keith Campbell), Merrie Kay Alzola, Nick Bruck

Living up to expectations, the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) hosted its annual Crimson Gala event in Spokane on September 28. The event was part of the college’s Pharmacy Homecoming Weekend activities, which brought Cougar pharmacists back to WSU for celebration, recognition, reconnection, comradery, and to share some good old Cougar pride and spirit.

The college vision is to be a leader in advancing, promoting and protecting human health.  We do this through developing practice-ready graduates who will lead tomorrow’s health care solutions, and by contributing to the advancement of knowledge and discovery within pharmaceutical, clinical and applied sciences.

The annual Crimson Gala contributes to the CPPS mission and vision by providing a platform on which to publicize those alumni or friends of the college who champion, emulate or otherwise demonstrate the success of the college through their own success in driving tomorrow’s health care solutions as lifelong and outstanding health care professionals, innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.

There was plenty to celebrate this year.

The college announced its annual awards and hosted class reunions for the alumni hitting milestones in 2018, with the class of 1968 being recognized as Golden Graduates. All past alumni, preceptors and mentors of the year were honored in a special pinning ceremony that paid tribute to the college’s longstanding tradition of excellence in pharmacy education.

Larry Simonsmeier

Proceeds from the event raised money to honor Emeritus Dean Larry M. Simonsmeier through an endowed naming fund. Naming funds provide an endowment that memorializes a space on campus to honor the individual or entity the fund is named for. The money is then used to support student pharmacists through activities such as annual scholarships, travel grants and support for student professional organization initiatives.

Simonsmeier served as interim dean and then dean from 1979-85, but was on the college faculty from 1974 until he retired. He was known as an expert on pharmacy law, an advocate for student pharmacists, a great mentor, and a friend to all.

WSU CPPS annual award winners:

  • Alumnus of the Year: James E. Robbers, class of 1957, 1961
  • Preceptors of the Year: Monica Graybeal, class of 2008, and Chris Greer, class of 1991
  • Alumni Mentors of the Year: Paul Thompson, class of 2005, and Ron Jennings, class of 1984

The weekend activities continued on Saturday in Pullman at the college’s annual tailgate party prior to the WSU Homecoming football win against Utah.