Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has evolved from a brand new program into the fine establishment that it is today. It all started with an idea in 1951, to implement the school of pharmacy at University of the Pacific. The following year President Robert Burns requested a small group of community pharmacists meet and discuss the project. In 1953 the California Pharmaceutical Association first addressed the project and in July of 1954 Mr. Martin Winton made motion before the association. Mr. Winton also made the first monetary contribution to support the plan. As time progressed, enthusiasm for the new school increased rapidly, and financial support from local pharmacists and friends were immediate. All the pieces were falling into place as the "Founding Faculty" began to form itself. In March of 1955 the first interim dean, Dr. Bertholf was appointed by Pacific's Board of Regents. Later that year Dr. Ivan W. Rowland, dean of the College of Pharmacy at Idaho State University was offered the deanship at Pacific, California's third school of pharmacy.
In 1959 Pacific's School of Pharmacy was awarded full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and in June of the same year the first graduation ceremony was held for 16 seniors (15 men and 1 woman). In the following year the school enrollment reached 250 students. The school received its first grant for research support from the U.S. Department of the Navy and the first graduate student, Cisco Kihara, completed work for a master's degree in physiology-pharmacology in 1961 and became a member of the faculty.
In August of 1964 the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare granted more than one million dollars to assist the efforts in constructing a $3 million building. The construction of the building started in 1966 and was completed in September 1969. With the new building complete, the first six-year Doctor of Pharmacy degrees were granted to the class of 1970. Pacific's School of Pharmacy building was dedicated and accepted by the Board of Regents on April 23, 1971.
The main addition that occurred next was the development and expansion of the clinical program. There was a significant increase in clinical faculty through new hires and a new requirement that every third year student has to complete six six-week clinical rotations. In 1980 founding Dean Ivan Rowland retired. Soon after Louis C. Martinelli, PhD, Dean of Creighton University School of Pharmacy in Omaha was hired as the new dean. He served at Pacific until February 1983. Warren J. Schneider, PhD, DVM, was appointed acting dean in March 1983, and was named dean in August, serving until his death in February 1984. Robert B. Supernaw, PharmD, was named acting dean the following day, having served as associate dean for academic affairs since 1983. Donald L. Sorby, PhD, who had been dean of the University of Missouri School of Pharmacy for 10 years, was chosen in November 1984 to lead the school. In 1995 Dean Sorby retired and Dr. Supernaw was named interim dean for another term until the appointment of Philip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD, in September 1997. Dean Oppenheimer came to Pacific from USC where he had been associate dean and a member of the faculty for 24 years.
The Speech-Language Pathology program began much earlier than the pharmacy program. In the 1930s it was known as Communicative Disorders and it was originally located in the Department of Speech in the College of the Pacific. In 1937, the first course in speech-language pathology "Corrective Speech Methods" was taught. In 1939 a new major in Speech Correction was added to Dramatic Art, Public Speaking, and Speech within the department. The University Speech and Hearing Center began in 1946 with Dr. Roy McCall serving as its first director. When Howard L. Runion, PhD, became the chair the speech-correction credential for public schools was establish in 1949. He led the expansion of program course offerings and the Speech and Hearing Clinic.
In 1970 the major for Speech Corrections ended with a name change for both the major and the department. The speech-language pathology program became the Division of Communication Science in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. The speech-language-pathology program achieved departmental status in 1972 under the direction of Kenneth Perrin, PhD, who helped create the Department of Communicative Disorders. In August of 1997, Communicative Disorders was administratively assigned to the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Two years later the department took its professional name, Speech-Language Pathology. It moved to its new location at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences facilities in the fall of 2000. Then in 2003, the department and adult clinic moved into the new Chan Family Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics Building.
In spring of 1985, Pacific created a Physical Therapy program. This program was established within the School of Pharmacy. Jean I. Baldwin, PhD, was appointed founding chair in June 1985. The first complement of 30 students who enrolled in the program in fall of 1986 graduated in August of 1988. In Spring 1995, the University established a post-professional Master of Science to prepare practicing physical therapists beyond the professional-education level for skills, knowledge and problem-solving strategies. The first graduates under this program completed degree work in August 1997.
In 1998, Pacific's Regents approved a name change for the school to School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, reflecting the additions of the Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology as degrees offered in the school. After receiving a $13 million grant from the Thomas J. Long Foundation the School was once again renamed as Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. This naming honored and recognized a financial commitment of over $20 million made to the School by the Thomas J. Long Foundation and the Thomas J. Long family since 1985, as well as a relationship with the school since its inception. In July, 2004 Dr. Cathy Peterson, PT, EdD, was appointed the department chair. In 2002, Pacific's Board of Regents granted the Department and School the right to transition the Master of Science degree to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT). The department also offered transitional DPT degree programs to priority graduates and master clinicians within the profession of physical therapy.
Groundbreaking for the new learning center was held on February 12, 2002. The new clinics and classroom building opened in 2003 to house clinic facilities for Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Pharmacy and Dental Hygiene, as well as the much needed classroom space. In 2000, Alina Chen became the first student to complete the PharmD/PhD program, which was established as part of the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program in 2000.
Under the tenure of Dean Oppenheimer, the faculty, staff, and students have accomplished much in the way of raising Pacific Pharmacy and Health Sciences to the "Next Level of Excellence" and the establishment of a student-centered educational experience at Pacific.Through development and reallocation of budget dollars, the School has been able to refurbish faculty offices and research labs, allocate over $1,000,000 for new research equipment, renovate the science library into a high-tech, modern information commons, create seven smart classrooms in existing facilities besides the new clinics and classroom building, upgrade and improve the lecture hall in the rotunda, create a pharmaceutical care lab dedicated to Donald Y. Barker, PhD, expand recruiting efforts, update school governance, increase scholarship endowments, raise the standard for consistently higher board passage rates, improve chemical and vivarium safety, create eight new regions for clinical experience for pharmacy students, implement the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience Program, and see faculty research grants total over $2 million with NIH and NSF grant participation high and over 95% of faculty published. In addition to the changes in the pharmacy program, the school has renewed and invigorated alumni programs in both physical therapy and speech-language pathology, expanded faculty, increased salaries, implemented curriculum changes, implemented a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, achieved renewed full accreditation and self-studies for both programs and increased clinic activity, grants and contracts.
The school continues to grow its reputation as a top-level institution.