Celebrating 70 Years of UBC Pharm Sci

Today, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences celebrates 70 years of leadership in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science education, research, and practice. 

UBC Pharm Sci was the sixth school of pharmacy established in Canada. It began in 1946 as the Department of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at UBC, under the leadership of Dean Esli Woods. Through Dean Woods’ and colleagues' efforts, the Board of Governors recognized the Department as a fully-fledged faculty on May 12, 1949. The first class consisted of 64 pupils, including 54 Second World War veterans and eight women.

The fledgling Faculty was originally housed in a complex of converted air force huts on the “Orchard” part of the Point Grey campus. In the summer of 1950, the Faculty moved into a section of the Biological Sciences building at the corner of University Boulevard and Main Mall. In the late 1950’s, approval was received for the construction of the four-storey Cunningham Building, named for George T. Cunningham to recognize his generous donations and service to UBC. The Cunningham Building was home to the growing Faculty until the September 2012 opening of the $133-million, 246,000-square-foot Pharmaceutical Sciences building, designed by Montreal’s Saucier + Perrotte Architectes and Vancouver’s Hughes Condon Marler Architects. The new Pharmaceutical Sciences building’s innovative learning and research infrastructure resulted in a number of awards and accolades, including a Governor General’s Medal for Architecture.

Today, UBC Pharm Sci offers five degree programs: the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program, the Entry-to-Practice Doctor of Pharmacy program that was launched in 2015, the Graduate program leading to the research degrees of MSc and PhD, and the Graduate Doctor of Pharmacy program. It also offers non-degree programs in continuing pharmacy professional development, Canadian pharmacy practice, and community pharmacy and pharmacy practice residencies. The Faculty is also home to the Pharmacists Clinic, Canada's first university-affiliated, licensed, pharmacist-led patient care clinic.

UBC Pharm Sci is currently the second-highest ranked school of pharmacy in Canada, and #31 worldwide (QS World University Ranking). With over 5,800 alumni, the Faculty has contributed tremendously to the advancement of patient care in BC and beyond.

“The Faculty’s history is rich with achievements, excellence and amazing individuals who helped shape what pharmacy education, research and practice is today,” says Dr. Michael Coughtrie, professor and dean. 

“We have a lot to be proud of and much to pay tribute to.”

To mark this momentous occasion, the Faculty will host a number of commemorative events and initiatives throughout the month of November, including the installation of a time capsule. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to contribute, and the capsule will be sealed on November 30, 2016 until the Centennial celebrations in 2046.

Images: Header image by Ivan Yastrebov, UBC Pharm Sci. From left - Dean Esli Woods; a lab space in an original hut; model dispensary in Biological Sciences Building; George Cunningham Building.