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A History: College of Pharmacy

College of PharmacyOne of the first four degree-granting programs established at the University of Oklahoma, the Pharmaceutical Department was created in 1893 to provide Oklahoma Territory with much needed pharmacists.

In 1896, the first diplomas conferred by the new University went to pharmacy students Lemuel L. Dorrance of Lexington and Marshall A. Tucker of Norman. Eighty-six of the University's first 200 graduates were from pharmacy.

Edwin C. "Daddy" DeBarr, one of the University's four original faculty members, was the founding director of the departments of pharmacy, chemistry and electrical engineering and served as secretary of the Oklahoma Territory Pharmaceutical Association. When pharmacy was elevated to a school in 1899, DeBarr was named dean and served in that position until 1904 and again in 1911 and 1912.

In 1919, the School of Pharmacy was placed under the able leadership of D.B.R. Johnson, who guided the school for 30 years and holds the distinction of being the longest-serving dean in the history of the University. Johnson worked tirelessly to improve the stature of pharmacy within the University and across the state and was elected president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 1927.

Succeeding Johnson in 1949 was Ralph William Clark, Ph.D., who served as dean until 1962 and presided over the 1950 reorganization of the school into a college.

In 1963, Loyd Ervin Harris, Ph.D., a 1920 graduate of the school and longtime faculty member, was named dean. It was during his seven-year tenure that a year of clinical pharmacy was added to the curriculum and pharmacy changed from a four- to five-year program.

Deans Johnson, Clark and Harris were greatly assisted in their efforts to create a superior pharmacy program by one of the University's most outstanding faculty members, Ralph David Bienfang, Ph.D. A David Ross Boyd Professor of Pharmacy, Bienfang taught at the University from 1930 to 1975 and is remembered as a scholar, intellectual and gentleman who had a tremendous influence on the caliber of students graduated by the college.

Also instrumental in the development of the college was E. Blanche Sommers, Ph.D., a dedicated faculty member from 1942 to 1978. An OU alumnus and David Ross Boyd Professor of Pharmacy, Sommers was greatly revered as a teacher and mentor and served the college in various administrative capacities, including acting dean from 1962 to 1963.

Dean Rodney D. Ice, Ph.D., presided over the college's 1976 move from the Pharmacy Building on the Norman campus' historic Parrington Oval to the OU Health Sciences Center.

While funding was sought for a new building on the Oklahoma City campus, the College of Pharmacy borrowed classroom space in other health sciences colleges and housed its administrative and faculty offices in former residences on 14th and 15th streets. An endowment from the estate of Edmond pharmacist and OU pharmacy alumnus Henry D. Mosier and his wife, Ida, was used to supplement funding appropriated by the State Legislature for a new pharmacy building. Heralded as one of the best-designed college of pharmacy buildings in the nation, the Henry D. and Ida Mosier Pharmacy Building was dedicated in 1983.

In addition to its original mission of training pharmacists, the OU College of Pharmacy is deeply committed to pharmaceutical research and providing outreach programs for the public and practicing pharmacists across the state.