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The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has received a $2.5 million gift from alumnus Fred Eshelman to expand the school’s research programs and help transform the classroom experience for pharmacy students. The gift brings Eshelman’s total support for the school to more than $35 million.

“In every respect, the school is just going up, up, up,” Eshelman said. “I’m very fortunate to be a part of this, but it has precious little to do with me. I just put the gas in the car. The school is driving it.”

Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Eshelman’s gift today (March 22) at a meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Eshelman is the founder of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. and a 1972 graduate of the pharmacy school. He is currently the founding chairman of Furiex, a drug development collaboration company spun out of PPD in 2010.

In 2003 Eshelman pledged $20 million to the pharmacy school, which at the time was the third largest single gift in the University’s history and the largest ever made to a pharmacy school in the United States. He has been a member of the pharmacy school’s Board of Visitors for more than a decade and has lectured as an adjunct faculty member. The school was named for Eshelman in 2008. He has supported the University and school with his commitment of time, service and gifts that now total more than $35 million.

The school’s research enterprise will benefit from $1.5 million of Eshelman’s latest gift, and the other $1 million will go to transforming pharmacy education and to improving the practice of pharmacy.

The gift supports the following three elements of the school’s strategic plan: the educational renaissance, practice of pharmacy and research and training initiatives.

“We are very grateful for Dr. Eshelman’s vision and support,” said Bob Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school and the Vaughn and Nancy Bryson Distinguished Professor. “It is difficult to overstate the dramatic effect of the contributions he has made. The generous backing of our alumni and friends—combined with strong state support—is one of the key reasons this school is regarded as one of the best in the nation.”

Published March 22, 2012.