Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

CVS chief, executive team tour URI College of Pharmacy

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 26, 2005 – After providing an overview of CVS/pharmacy and answering questions from nearly 200 University of Rhode Island pharmacy students clad in white lab coats, company chief Thomas M. Ryan offered some parting advice.

“Be active in the company that hires you and be active in the community where you live. You will get back 10-fold what you give.”

That’s just one tidbit from Ryan, a 1975 graduate of the URI College of Pharmacy and chairman, president and chief executive officer of CVS Corp., from his participation in CVS Day at the URI College of Pharmacy Oct. 6. CVS is one of the largest pharmacy retailers in the country with more than 5,000 stores in 36 states.

Ryan and members of his executive team spent the morning touring the College and viewing some of its newest technological teaching and research tools.

The executive seemed most impressed with the way students are involved in helping to develop the technology for new animation and patient simulator laboratories.

Students and faculty examine drug impacts and interactions on adult and infant simulators.

Both are computer-activated mannequins that act and react much like a human patient. The mannequins breathe, have pulses and blink their eyes. When the College purchased the adult simulator with $120,000 from the Champlin Foundations it was the first pharmacy college in the country to have one.

Faculty, staff and students developed the drug programming for the baby simulator, and because it was so impressed the manufacturer paid the University for the intellectual property.

“One of the most important things I have taken away from this event is the amount of student interaction with professors in developing these advanced teaching and research tools,” Ryan said.

Pharmacy Dean Donald E. Letendre said the College hosted the event as a way to thank Ryan and CVS for their commitment to URI and to spotlight the renovations made in Fogarty Hall, which was completed in 1964. The College raised all of the money for the improvements through corporate and private donations. Initially designed to accommodate 150 students, Fogarty is home to 580 students and more than 80 faculty and staff.

Despite the improvements, Letendre said it’s time for a new home in the north district of the campus where a full health and life sciences hub is proposed. The University will seek approval of a $140 million bond issue for the Nov. 2006 election to fund a new pharmacy building, new nursing center and new chemistry building for the hub.

“We have the knowledge, the skills and the passion, and now we need the tools to continue our work,” the dean said.

As the group moved from room to room, Letendre emphasized that of the 86 colleges of pharmacy in the nation, URI ranked in the bottom 25th percentile in research dollars four years ago, but last year, it moved into one of the top 20 slots nationwide in external research funding.

That’s due in part to $25 million awarded from the National Institutes of Health to the College over three years to stimulate biomedical research at URI and nearly every other four-year college in Rhode Island. That funding represents about one-third of research funding awarded to the College.

“The message we are working hard to get out is that we are leaders in clinical practice and research,” Letendre said.

Other members of the CVS team who participated were: James Gallagher, manager of professional and college relations; Susan DelMonico, director of regulatory compliance, URI pharmacy class of 1983; Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy professional services; and Matt Leonard, senior vice president of pharmacy merchandising, URI pharmacy class of 1988.

Pictured above
CVS DAY AT COLLEGE OF PHARMACY: CVS Chairman Thomas M. Ryan, center, joins URI Pharmacy Dean Donald E. Letendre, to the left of Ryan, and other members of the CVS executive team while greeting students after Ryan had talked with close to 200 pharmacy students in Edwards Auditorium. Others from the CVS team in the photo from left are: Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy professional services; Susan DelMonico, director of regulatory compliance, URI pharmacy class of 1983, and James Gallagher, manager of professional and college relations. URI News Bureau photo by Nora Lewis.