Local News

UNC School Of Pharmacy Receives $20 Million Gift

Posted February 26, 2003 2:30 a.m. EST

— Dr. Fred Eshelman of Wilmington has committed $20 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Pharmacy.

The gift, announced Wednesday at a special ceremony on campus, is the largest gift to a U.S. pharmacy school and the third-largest single gift from an individual in the university's history.

In honor of his gift, the university declared Wednesday Frederic Eshelman Day.

Eshelman's gift will provide scholarships for the doctor of pharmacy program, enrich and expand graduate student education,provide graduate student fellowships and support faculty development in teaching and research.

In addition, funds will be used to expand the school's distinct role in the development of innovative community practice sites.

"The UNC School of Pharmacy and its faculty, students and staff are dedicated to serving the people of North Carolina and to improving the quality of life for all," Chancellor James Moeser said. "Fred Eshelman's historic gift will help the school attract top students and provide them with the finest pharmacy education anywhere.

"The ultimate beneficiaries of his generosity are the people of North Carolina, who will have even better-prepared pharmacists serving them in the future."

Said Dr. William Campbell, dean of the school: "Dr. Eshelman's bold and visionary commitment to the school is only the most recent of his many expressions of support for Carolina pharmacy.

"We are more grateful than words can convey," Campbell said, "and pause to enthusiastically rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of excellence, a hallmark of Fred's career.

"Income from the Eshelman endowment will provide significant opportunities to reinforce existing support and expand this program in ways that would not otherwise be possible."

Eshelman earned his bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Carolina in 1972 and his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati in 1974.

He is chief executive officer and founder of Wilmington-based PPD Inc., which provides discovery and development services and products to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Eshelman has been an adjunct faculty member of the School of Pharmacy since 1981 and a member of its Board of Visitors since 1998.

"The School of Pharmacy is committed to being the nation's leading program in pharmacy education," Eshelman said. "I continue to be impressed with its commitment to research and education, and I am very honored to be able to support these important initiatives."

The gift comes just four months after the School of Pharmacy doubled its research and education facilities with the opening of Banks D. Kerr Hall, a 65,000 square-foot facility funded with private gifts, as well as state appropriations and overhead receipts generated by federally supported research projects.

The School of Pharmacy, established in 1897, is the only public school of pharmacy in the state. More than half of the school's 6,00 alumni live in North Carolina and serve the health-care needs of the state's citizens.

Eshelman's gift counts toward the Carolina First campaign goal of $1.8 billion. Carolina First is a comprehensive, multi-year private fund-raising campaign to support Carolina's vision of becoming the nation's leading public university.

The largest individual gifts to the university were a $28.8 million bequest from David Clayton, announced in September 1999, and an anonymous $25 million gift to the School of Medicine to establish the Michael Hooker Center for Proteomics, announced in February 2001.

In October 2001, the university announced a $27 million commitment from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust for endowed professorships and the university's science complex.