Dean's message


Dean Joseph DiPiro
Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D.

To our VCU and MCV Alumni,

It has become a cliché to say that we have gone through a year like no other. And yet it is true.

Since spring of 2020, the pandemic has shaped just about everything we at the School of Pharmacy have done. Too many of our colleagues, students and families have struggled. This has been a difficult, painful time.

Despite this, we have pushed on, day-to-day and week-to-week. Our faculty, students, staff and administrators have kept our program going and made amazing progress toward our shared goals. Courses converted to remote instruction and then back to on-site instruction. We had to innovate on the fly.

Most importantly, our students and graduates continue to excel. Our graduates’ pass rates for NAPLEX remain among the highest in the nation. PharmD graduates continue to succeed in getting jobs and matching with residencies. Graduates of our Ph.D. and master’s programs have close to a 100% employment rate within six months.

Our Ph.D. in pharmaceutical engineering, the first in the nation and a collaboration between the school and VCU’s College of Engineering, enrolled its first class. Our Next Generation Pharmacists project is finalizing an ambitious plan to revise how we teach future pharmacists to be sure our graduates are prepared for the profession as it exists today and for the future. Our donors and alumni have continued to generously support our students and research — in fact, thanks to the support of many people we surpassed our fundraising goal.

Times have been tough before. I think often of my father who turned 18 in 1943 and enlisted in the Navy. He came of age in a world at war, a world in chaos. And like so many Americans of that generation, he rolled up his sleeves and did what needed to be done.

I see that same spirit here at the School of Pharmacy. From our frontline health professionals and students who vaccinated thousands of patients, to the staff and faculty who made sure our students were cared for, that clinical services continued, and our research program went on, they stepped up. It is truly my honor to have them as colleagues.

In my eighth year as dean, I continue to be honored and inspired by the depth of support from our alumni and friends. Many of you have shared stories with me about your time here and offered thoughtful suggestions about how the school can continue to evolve. Our National Advisory Council and Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Programs Advisory Board bring alumni and other professionals together to advise us.

We invite you to tell us more about your careers and lives. Later in this publication you will find a link to our online alumni page, where you can keep us updated, find out more about alumni events, and more. I hope you find it useful. And of course, we welcome hearing from you in person and by phone, email and letter.

With best regards,

Joseph T. DiPiro signature

Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D. 
Dean, VCU School of Pharmacy 
Archie O. McCalley Chair