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May 2022

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Done! Another year in the books, topping it off with a flawless, in-person commencement—our first since 2019. Hats off to friends of the college, our faculty and staff, and everyone who showed up for this special occasion for our newest class of PharmDs and PhDs!

In particular, I thank Scott Giberson who met with students, faculty and staff to deliver a seminar about leadership. His keynote speech to students was also inspiring, putting into context many of the challenges our graduates will face when they begin their careers in health care.

I also thank the two Huskies who came out to welcome our Coug graduates to the professional ranks. Washington State Pharmacy Association CEO Jenny Arnold and President Ryan Oftebro led the Oath of a Pharmacist for our students, which ended with Jenny and Ryan giving us a “Go Cougs!” in unison. Jenny and Ryan are such wonderful people and having their presence at our commencement ceremony is just another example of the close-knit and supportive professional community we have built in the Pacific Northwest. All of the pomp and circumstance of commencement week would not have been possible without the support of our friends at Albertsons Companies who sponsored commencement and our awards ceremony. On behalf of the college, I thank our supporters and everyone who took part in this rite of passage.

Also, a sincere thank you to all who donated April 13 for #CougsGive. In total, we raised over $8,000 which will go toward helping students with tuition and paying for travel costs so that they can present at various conferences. This placed our college in 12th place for fundraising out of a total of 28 units. I know all who contributed, and I thank you for your support.

Finally, I always enjoy sharing some of the interesting stories I hear when I’m on the road visiting our alumni across the state. In April, we honored Jim and Diann Robbers as Laureates of the university at the WSU Foundation Gala in Seattle. Jim, class of 1957, and a superb pharmacognosist, spent his career at the Purdue College of Pharmacy working on ergot alkaloids, which have incredibly interesting pharmacological effects. I used Jim’s textbook (7th edition) as a pharmacognosy student in the early 1980s—and he signed it for me when Kelly Sylvester and I visited the Robbers last summer. Jim and Diann have been very strong supporters of research in the college. Jim, a wonderful man and sharp as a tack, told me a story of hosting Albert Hofmann for a seminar visit at Purdue. Many of you will know Albert Hofmann as a Swiss chemist and the first to synthesize LSD, which can be derived from ergot alkaloids. Hofmann “accidentally” ingested LSD while synthesizing it and “perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors” for about two hours. The next day (April 19, 1943) Hofmann purposefully ingested 0.25 mg of LSD to confirm the effects of the previous day—you know, kind of a repeat experiment deal. His second trip, which was apparently much less pleasant than his first, involved an interesting bicycle ride home from work that is well described in the lay literature. The rest is psychedelic history, as they say. Jim told me that the audiences at Hofmann’s two talks at Purdue were absolutely huge, and largely composed of hipsters from all over Indiana and surrounding states. I guess these folks had some previous experience with the ergot derivatives and they were just interested in the Science. Interestingly enough, LSD and psilocybin are making a comeback for treatment of PTSD and depression—I’m just happy that I took TWO semesters of pharmacognosy from Mel Gibson (former professor in the college—not the actor) using Jim Robbers’ textbook!

Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful month of May and Memorial Day weekend.


Mark Leid, Professor and Dean
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Friday, October 7

Join us this fall for the return of the Crimson Gala, October 7, 2022 in Spokane, Washington as we come together to honor Linda Garrelts MacLean and John Oftebro for their service to the college.

Learn More or Register

Admiral-retired and president of AMI Expeditionary Healthcare Scott Giberson gives keynote speech at 2022 College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences commencement ceremony.
Class of 2022 Shannon Patterson pictured during her 2018 White Coat Ceremony sharing reasons why she pursued a career in pharmacy.
The Pharmacy Business Services Office received the Chancellor’s Excellence Award, Group/Department

A note from Julie Akers

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It seems I blinked, and April already passed. Did that happen for the rest of you?

Celebrations are always a fun way to start a month, so we doubled down and had events in both Yakima and Spokane. Celebrating Excellence and Generosity was held in Yakima on April 8 and Spokane on April 14. Both events honored the generosity of those who donate to student scholarships and celebrated student success and awards. Thank you to those who attended!

April also brought the return of the Allen I. White Lectureship, an endowed fund established in memory of Dr. Allen I. White to bring distinguished lecturers to the college whose work has important implications for the scientific, social or political aspects of pharmacy. This year we were fortunate to have Dr. Robert G. Gish, MD as our esteemed speaker. Dr. Gish contributes to many schools of medicine and pharmacy, clinics, and foundations around the world related to hepatitis and liver health. His talk was both educational and inspiring.

Dean Mark Leid, Senior Director of Development Kelly Sylvester and I were able to visit six pharmacies on our way to Basalt Cellars in Clarkston for the first ever CougaRx Nation Alumni event in the Lewis-Clark Valley on April 28. We visited with alumni and father/son team Mark (’82) and Nathan (’18) Johnson at Tick Clock Drug in Colfax. If you have ever been in their store, you know we couldn’t resist doing some shopping! Our stop at Sid’s Pharmacy in Pullman to visit owner William Edwards (’03) resulted in a wonderful surprise, Sid himself! It was awesome to see Sid Pierson (’72) still passionate about pharmaceutical care and contributing to the great work happening there. Once Kelly opened her eyes back up after going down Lewiston Hill (I threatened her with the old spiral highway but kept to the main road seeing how scared she was), we found ourselves visiting with Carol Ard (’90) at the Lewiston Albertsons, Andy Pottenger (’14) owner of Hells Canyon Pharmacy and then Todd Kolb (’97) and Jerry Bailey (’93) at Owl Southway in Lewiston and Owl Tri State in Clarkston. The CougaRx Nation event at Basalt Cellars was a great way to cap the evening. Thank you to Rick Wasem (’80) and his amazing team for hosting the event. Although the crowd was small, there was great conversation and good odds winning prizes! We finished our trip to the LC Valley having breakfast with Mike and Natasha Stamper, both class of 2010. You can see photos from our visits and learn more about what pharmacy alumni in the Lewis-Clark Valley are up to in the Alumni Updates section of this newsletter.

We look forward to a return to Seattle for the CougaRx Nation event on May 19 and the Fred Meyer Alumni Mentor reception at the NW Pharmacy Convention. We hope to see you there!

With my best and, as always, Go Cougs!

Julie Akers, Associate Dean of External Relations
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Spotlight on Success

Alumni News

Graduating student reflects on pharmacy school during pandemic

Elizabeth Satterwhite, class of 2022, reflects on her experience attending pharmacy school during a global pandemic. Following her graduation on May 5 she will be taking part in an ambulatory care residency at the Providence Sacred Heart Pharmacotherapy Clinic in Spokane, Washington.

PharmD News

Student Spotlight: Sonja Christensen APhA-ASP Region 7 Delegate

Second-year pharmacy student Sonja Christensen was recently appointed as the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacist (APhA-ASP) Region 7 Delegate, a national position. Christensen shares what she hopes to accomplish in the position and the importance of advocating for the pharmacy profession.

Commencement Pictures

Congratulations, class of 2022!

On May 4-5, 2022 the college celebrated the successes of its graduating students with the Graduating PharmD Awards and 2022 commencement ceremony.

Commencement Ceremony photos
Graduating PharmD Awards photos

From L to R: Annie Stout, Olga Brophy (’13), Chris Greiner (’02), Dean Mark Leid (’83), and Jason Neumiller (’07).

Philanthropy Focus

For nearly ten years, the college has been fortunate to partner with the Albertsons Companies to create a memorable and elegant commencement celebration for our PharmD and PhD graduates. This year’s commencement, held in-person for the first time since 2019, was a resounding success with over 800 guests in attendance. We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the Albertsons Companies for their involvement and support. Quite simply, we could not host a commencement event of this caliber without it. We’d also like to recognize the Albertsons team that attended commencement to pin our students with their new CougaRx Nation lapel pins.

Alumni Updates

Felicia Gaskins, widow of Bill Gaskins (’69), was on campus May 3 to meet with recipients of the William and Felicia Gaskins Scholarship. Bill and Felicia established scholarships at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as Pullman Regional Hospital. Felicia brought gifts from Bill’s collection of mortar and pestles for all the scholarship recipients and Dean Mark Leid.

James Robbers (’57) and Diann Robbers were recently honored as Laureates at the WSU Foundation Gala in Seattle on April 27. At the event, new Laureates (lifetime giving of $1 million+) and Crimson Benefactors (lifetime giving of $500,000+) were recognized and thanked for their generosity to WSU. Jim and Diann have established a scholarship at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to assist PhD students with travel to professional conferences and their endowment also funds the annual Research Day at the college. Congratulations to Jim and Diann on this remarkable achievement. Although Jim and Diann Robbers were not able to attend the event in person, the college was well represented by Dean Mark Leid and John and Deborah Oftebro.

On our recent visit to the Lewis-Clark Valley, we held a CougaRx Nation event at Basalt Cellars. Basalt Cellars is owned by pharmacy alumnus Rick Wasem (’80). On our trip we met with several pharmacy alumni in the cities of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington, as well as independent pharmacy owners in Colfax and Pullman, Washington.

Congratulations to Mark Johnson (’82), who is gradually retiring from Tick Klock Drugs in Colfax, and handing over the reins to his son Nathan (’18). Mark and his wife Robin recently celebrated their 30 years of marriage with a trip to Hawaii for the entire family.

We had a quick visit with William Edwards (’03) who purchased Sid’s Pharmacy in Pullman a few years ago from Sid Pierson (’72). Sid still works part time at the pharmacy and this year will celebrate 50 years as a licensed pharmacist!

Todd Boyd Kolb (’92) is enjoying his long-term career at Owl Pharmacy in Lewiston. We also visited with Andy Pottenger who owns Hells Canyon Pharmacy in Lewiston.

Michael (’10) and Natasha Stamper (’10) are busy with their careers and raising two young daughters. Mike works as a pharmacy informaticist and clinical pharmacist at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Lewiston. Natasha works as a clinical pharmacist at Niimipuu Health Clinic in Lapwai, Idaho for Indian Health Services. Natasha has also established a following as a fertility pharmacy specialist.

Want to be listed in our alumni updates? Send us your career information or let us know what you’ve been up to at!

May 2022 Updates



Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Rakshit Tanna (Paine lab), Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student James Nguyen (Paine lab, PharmD ’20), Pharmaceutical Sciences Program Manager Deena Hadi, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Department of Translational Medicine and Physiology Professor Matthew Layton, Pharmacotherapy Chair and R. Keith Campbell Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Care John White, Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor Mary Paine and six co-authors published, “Clinical pharmacokinetic assessment of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a botanical product with opioid-like effects, in healthy adult participants,” in Pharmaceutics in March 2022.

J. Roberts and Marcia Fosberg Distinguished Regents Professor of Pharmacotherapy and Director of the Drug Information Center Danial … » More …


More upcoming events

Other News

Come rain or come shine
2020 Carson College of Business graduate and 2022 College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate get engaged at stormy Washington State University graduation ceremony.
Read more from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Learning in lockdown: adapting a reproductive health campaign for pandemic life
Third-year pharmacy students Brook Kotlatz, Kaitlan Belocura, and Kennedy Erickson established the Pharmacists for Reproductive Education and Sexual Health (PhRESH) subcommittee of WSU’s chapter of the Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) in early 2020. When COVID-19 paused their plans for in-person poster presentations, they pivoted to online presentations and were ultimately able to reach more people than would have been possible otherwise.
Read more from Pharmacy Times

Fentanyl involved in more than half of overdose deaths in Washington state and Spokane County in 2021
Deaths from fentanyl overdoses in Washington have increased by 845% in the past five years. Pharmacotherapy Assistant Professor Nicole Rodin recently talked to The Spokesman Review about the dangers of fentanyl.
Read more from The Spokesman Review

WSU expanding mental health resources
Students systemwide will soon have access to a suite of mental health resources including after‑hours crisis counseling, self‑help tools, an online referral network, and peer support.
Read more from the WSU Insider

Office of Research releases FY2020 Research Annual Report
The Office of Research recently released the FY2020 Research Annual Report featuring outstanding research conducted at Washington State University.
Find out how to view the FY2020 Research Annual Report