The University of Rhode Island celebrated the opening of its new $75 million building for the College of Pharmacy with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, marking the completion of a voter-supported center for pharmaceutical teaching and research. The celebration called attention to the colleges role in making the state, nation and world healthier, developing partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, attracting high paying jobs, and bringing in more than $83 million in federal and private research dollars, funding that has been reinvested in Rhode Island’s economy since 2000.
A free public symposium on drug therapy in the 21st century is planned for Sept. 14, and an international scientific conference on frontiers in pharmaceutical sciences featuring researchers from around the world and Nobel laureate Thomas Steitz will be held from Sept. 28 through Sept. 30. The pharmacy college’s five-story, 144,000-square-foot building is the largest academic building on the Kingston campus. In 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved $65 million in general obligation bonds to finance the new pharmacy building; $10 million in private donations and university funds also supported the project. More than 380 Rhode Islanders were employed on the project, from architectural and engineering to construction jobs.
The new facility has allowed the university to accept more students into its six-year doctor of pharmacy program, its graduate programs and its new four-year bachelor’s program in pharmaceutical sciences. The building accommodates as many as 820 students, a 50-percent increase from 2006 when the bond was approved. The college’s most recent home, the 66,000-square-foot Fogarty Hall, was opened in 1964 and was designed for 235 students.