URI College of Pharmacy to induct Hall of Fame second class – URI News

KINGSTON, RI – May 6, 2022 – The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy will induct four luminaries of the pharmaceutical profession into the College Hall of Fame at a ceremony next week.

Inductees include the College’s inaugural Dean, Heber W. Youngken, Jr.; former Associate Dean Norma Owens, who retired from the College in 2021; former Assistant Dean Lois Vars; and former pharmacy professor Christopher Rhodes. They will be inducted in a ceremony on Friday, May 13, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the lobby of Avedisian Hall on the Kingston campus.

The four will join the Hall of Fame’s first class, inducted in 2019, which includes Norman A. Campbell, Joan Lausier, Leonard Worthen and Yuzuru Shimizu. Plaques honoring all inductees are displayed on the first floor of the Avedisian Hall.

“All of our inductees have had a tremendous effect not only on the URI College of Pharmacy, but on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences as a whole,” said Paul Larrat, Dean of the URI College of Pharmacy. “Their selfless commitment to the profession and to the training of generations of scientists and pharmaceutical practitioners has had a lasting impact on the entire healthcare community. I can think of no greater group of pharmaceutical professionals to add to our illustrious Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will include the induction, as well as comments from the recipients or their families. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available. Tickets for the ceremony on May 13 are available here. A $20 donation is requested.

The 2022 URI College Hall of Fame inductees are:

Dr. Norma Owens:

Dr. Norma Owens graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Pharmacy in 1977, followed by a Pharm.D. from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1979. She completed a fellowship at Hartford Hospital from 1979 to 1982 before beginning her distinguished career at the University of Rhode Island as a faculty member, department chair and Associate Dean.

A Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Dr. Owens is nationally recognized in the field of geriatric drug therapy. She was honored for her leadership in promoting patient-centered care in Rhode Island nursing homes. His leadership has had an equally significant impact at the College of Pharmacy through academic curriculum development, faculty mentorship, and student engagement.

Dr. Christopher T. Rhodes:

“A native of Great Britain, Dr. Rhodes received his B.Pharm. cum laude and Ph.D. degrees from the Chelsea School of Pharmacy, University of London. He was an internationally recognized expert in the formulation and analysis of drug products and devices and in the clinical and regulatory aspects of their use.Rhodes has served the College in many capacities, including that of Chair of the Department of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences.

He was a prolific author of nearly 300 publications, editor of several pharmaceutical journals, and a sought-after scientific expert. Federal partners included the US Pharmacopeia and the Food and Drug Administration. He was a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. During her tenure at URI, Rhodes had a lasting impact on the career trajectories of dozens of pharmacy graduates.

Lois Vars

Dean Lois Vars earned a math degree and taught high school math before earning her BS in pharmacy from URI in 1962. She worked at her family’s Vars Brothers pharmacy in Westerly until the first Dean Youngken recruited her in 1974 to establish a highly regarded pharmacy externship. program. Given her background, Dean Vars was then appointed to the newly created position of Assistant Dean for Student Progress where she remained until her retirement in 1994. Dean Vars was well known for her high expectations of students in pharmacy, instilling a sense of professionalism which they would bring to their chosen careers and as representatives of the University.

In addition to shaping a generation of students, Dean Vars’ commitment to excellence has extended beyond the College through her service as a trustee of several educational and healthcare organizations.

Dr. Heber W. Youngken, Jr.:

Dr. Youngken followed in his father’s footsteps with a career as a teacher and researcher in the field of pharmacognosy. After establishing himself as a leader in the field, he expanded his interests into university administration roles.

In 1957, he was recruited to establish the URI College of Pharmacy on the Kingston campus. His strong influence was evident in every faculty member he chose and in creating and establishing an innovative curriculum. By applying his lobbying skills, he managed to raise funds for a modern building to complete his bold vision.

In addition to the position of Dean, Dr. Youngken served for decades as Provost for Health Sciences Affairs, and his accomplishments have created a solid foundation for URI’s College of Pharmacy today. The Youngken Medicinal Garden is a testament to his lasting impact on the University.

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