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VCU Pharmacy Gala honors transition of deans

More than 350 Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy alumni, faculty, residents, students, preceptors, friends and family convened May 29 at Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel to mark the passing of an era. The VCU Pharmacy Gala celebrated Victor A. Yanchick’s 18 years of leadership as dean and JosephT. DiPiro’s appointment as new dean.

Following a cocktail reception and dinner, VCU President Michael Rao announced that the Victor A. Yanchick Professorship in Geriatric Pharmacy had been established in the dean’s name. Rao commended Yanchick on his “profound legacy … that will be our building block for years to come.”

Rao also congratulated the School of Pharmacy on having been fortunate enough to attract DiPiro, who most recently served as executive dean and professor for the South Carolina College of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Sheldon Retchin, senior vice president for health sciences and CEO for the VCU Health System, said he’d never seen the Grand Ballroom so packed. “It’s rare that you have deans travel this far!” he joked.

Robert Blouin, dean of the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, was on hand, as well as Lynn Crismon and James Doluisio, current and emeritus deans of the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. VCU School of Dentistry Dean David Sarrett and the School of Nursing’s retired dean, Nancy Langston, and current dean, Jean Giddens, also were in attendance.

Noting that Yanchick had been a dean or associate dean for more than 45 years elicited a “Wow!” from the audience. During his tenure at VCU, Retchin added, “Vic has been complemented by Donna, his lovely wife. We are the beneficiaries of that relationship.”

As of July 1, DiPiro will be VCU School of Pharmacy’s eighth dean since the school’s inception in 1898. Officially introduced as incoming dean, DiPiro addressed Yanchick: “It is my privilege to follow you,” he said. “[My wife] Cecily and I wish you and Donna all the best in the years ahead.”

Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, called the gala “a night full of institutional awe.” Yanchick had been one of her first AACP officers and later served as AACP president, while DiPiro had served as editor of the AACP-produced American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education for 12 years.

Other highlights included tributes to Yanchick by two of the deans (Doluisio and Langston), three pharmacy alumni (John Beckner, Preston Hale and Janet Silvester), a current colleague (Jeffrey Delafuente, SOP associate dean for academic affairs) and Yanchick’s son Jeffrey. Ellen Carfagno, SOP director of development, served as emcee for the gala, and the Hon. Harvey Morgan, also an alumnus, offered the invocation.

“I have been the world’s luckiest guy,” Yanchick remarked at evening’s end, adding that the support he has received over the years has left him with a sense of both humility and pride.

As an example, he said, “I am so proud of this professorship in geriatric pharmacy. With our aging population, we have to take care of our elders in the best possible way.”  

Thanking the audience for attending, he said, “I am so pleased Joe is going to be the next dean. You are in good hands now.”

The VCU Pharmacy Gala was made possible by donations from presenting sponsors MCV Foundation and the School of Pharmacy. Table sponsors were Bremo Pharmacy, Carthan F. Currin Jr., George Emerson, L. Preston and Barbara Hale, MCV Alumni Association, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, University of Virginia Health System, VCU Alumni Association, VCU Health System Pharmacy and Walgreens.

To see more gala photos, click here.

 

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VCU School of Nursing Dean Jean Giddens, Ph.D., and her husband, Jay Corazza, view a painting of Victor Yanchick, Ph.D., outgoing dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy, commissioned for the School of Pharmacy. / photo by Chris Ijams
VCU School of Nursing Dean Jean Giddens, Ph.D., and her husband, Jay Corazza, view a painting of Victor Yanchick, Ph.D., outgoing dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy, commissioned for the School of Pharmacy. / photo by Chris Ijams
Incoming VCU School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph DiPiro, Ph.D., catches up with Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and VCU Health System CEO; Brad Wagner, Pharm.D., an internal medicine resident with VCU Medical Center; and DiPiro's son Tom, who is completing an administrative pharmacy residency/master's program with UVA Health System. / photo by Chris Ijams
Incoming VCU School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph DiPiro, Ph.D., catches up with Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and VCU Health System CEO; Brad Wagner, Pharm.D., an internal medicine resident with VCU Medical Center; and DiPiro's son Tom, who is completing an administrative pharmacy residency/master's program with UVA Health System. / photo by Chris Ijams
Dean Victor Yanchick, Ph.D., welcomes pharmacy alumni Janet Silvester, American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists vice president of accreditation services; and Eric Edwards, co-founder and vice president, product development, for Kaleo (formerly Intelliject Inc.). / photo by Chris Ijams
Dean Victor Yanchick, Ph.D., welcomes pharmacy alumni Janet Silvester, American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists vice president of accreditation services; and Eric Edwards, co-founder and vice president, product development, for Kaleo (formerly Intelliject Inc.). / photo by Chris Ijams