Gift Launches Pharmaceutical Engineering Program
Students interested in pursuing careers in the biopharmaceutical industry have a unique new educational option—one of the nation’s first undergraduate programs in pharmaceutical engineering.
The program was launched this fall with the support of a $75,000 gift from FOUGERA, a New York-based specialty pharmaceutical company, to the Making a Difference campaign. FOUGERA’s chief executive officer, Paul McGarty ’82, requested that $50,000 of the gift be used to develop and implement cross-disciplinary courses in pharmaceutical engineering and the remaining $25,000 be used to establish a scholarship fund to reward outstanding students pursuing the program.
“Our specialty is developing topical pharmaceutical preparations such as creams, ointments, and gels, that requires an understanding of both pharmaceutical and engineering principles,” said McGarty. “We hope this new program will provide a unique opportunity for students interested in our—and other—specialty pharmaceutical companies.“
“URI is one of the few universities in the country to offer both a pharmacy program and an engineering program; this has enabled us to create this new track within our chemical engineering major,” explained Professor Arijit Bose, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, who has spearheaded development of the program with Pharmacy Professor Clinton Chichester.
Bose noted that many chemical engineering students go to work for biopharmaceutical companies like Amgen and Pfizer after graduation, but they require additional training about sterile work environments, FDA regulations, and other topics that are taught in the College of Pharmacy. Students enrolled in the pharmaceutical engineering track will now receive the necessary training as part of their undergraduate education.
Engineering students won’t be the only students to benefit from the new program, however.
“Demand is very high for the 100 openings in our pharmacy program each year, so now students interested in pharmacy will have another educational option at URI that will lead them to a career in the pharmaceutical industry,” Chichester said.
“We appreciate the tremendous generosity and commitment of Paul McGarty and FOUGERA in helping us develop this program,” said Bose. “Their gift, and our proximity to a number of other biopharmaceutical companies in the region, will help us to grow and mature our program to benefit our students and the industry.”
—By Todd McLeish