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Updated 11:00 AM November 1, 2004




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Charles Walgreen gives $2M for professorship in pharmacy

Charles R. Walgreen III, former chairman and chief executive officer of Walgreen Co., has made a $2 million gift to establish the Charles R. Walgreen III Professorship in Pharmacy Administration at the College of Pharmacy—his alma mater.

"During his 22 years as chairman and chief executive officer of Walgreen Co., Charles R. Walgreen III displayed a remarkable capacity for visionary thinking and decisive leadership," President Mary Sue Coleman said when the gift was announced last week. "Today, Mr. Walgreen's legacy of progressive thinking continues with the announcement of his generous gift."

Under Walgreen's direction, the firm, founded by his grandfather in 1901, grew from a major regional retail pharmacy chain into one of the world's preeminent retailers. Walgreen is one of two national co-chairs of the college's $24.5 million Campaign for International Leadership and Excellence, which publicly was launched May 15 as part of The Michigan Difference $2.5 billion University-wide fund-raising campaign.

Walgreen's goal in endowing the professorship is to focus greater academic research on the socio-economics of health care, health care policy and regulation, and professional ethics. The professorship reflects Walgreen's personal belief that, in addition to knowing about a vast and ever-increasing array of drug products, modern pharmacists also must have an in-depth understanding of the economic, social and political forces that affect medication use.
"I am immensely gratified by Mr. Walgreen's contribution. It is a continuation of the family's superb tradition of supporting the college and the University."
—Dean Frank Ascione

Such insights will allow pharmacists to help shape national health care policy and better manage the growing demand by patients and insurers for more input into health care decisions, said Frank Ascione, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

As health care expenditures continue to consume a greater share of the nation's resources, all health care professionals are being held more accountable for their decisions—especially as they affect health care costs—regardless of advances in patient health outcomes, he said.

The Charles R. Walgreen III Professorship in Pharmacy Administration is the fifth endowed chair at the College of Pharmacy, but the first tied specifically to the social science and administrative aspects of the pharmacy curriculum.

"As one of its graduates, I am incredibly proud to support Michigan's College of Pharmacy," Walgreen said. "Our family has an 80-year relationship with the college beginning with my father's matriculation in 1924. Since that time, we've seen the practice of community pharmacy grow from operations that focused on compounding and filling prescriptions to a full service that includes advising patients and physicians about proper medication use.

"It is my hope that professors who hold this chair will help today's pharmacy students move to even greater levels of professionalism through a more thorough understanding of the business and operational aspects of the profession."

Ascione praised the contribution. "I am immensely gratified by Mr. Walgreen's contribution. 'Cork' has recognized and provided financial support for our future effort to bring a higher-level of interdisciplinary education and business-related focus to pharmacy practice. More importantly, it is a continuation of the Walgreen family's superb tradition of supporting the college and the University."

The college is consistently rated one of the top pharmacy programs in the country.

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