Program receives endowment

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences recently made history in a big way.

College officials announced at a press conference Monday that it received a $10 million endowment from the National center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health- the largest endowment in the history of the university.

The organization awarded the college the money for a Biomedical Research Endowment. The school will receive $5 million for the 2003-2004 school year and the rest the following school year.

The donation places the colleges’ total endowments at $17 million.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the university,” said Henry Lewis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “This will certainly demonstrate to individuals that an investment to Florida A & M is a solid investment.”

Lewis said the endowment would fund two Eminent Scholar chairs, which will increase to five the number of chairs at the school. He referred to the endowment as a “timely award” as he hopes to make its transition into the new pharmacy building within the next couple of weeks.

The endowment, Lewis said, would be used to expand recruitment efforts and attract top-notch scientists, retain existing faculty and equip labs with state-of-the art equipment. The award would also be used to further research diseases that affect the black community.

“It’s not about the money but about the research,” Lewis said. “We have to focus on diseases that have a great impact on minorities throughout the state and the country such as cancer, hypertension, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.

“We are going to relish in the opportunity this endowment affords Florida A & M.”

President Fred Gainous said the endowment will serve as a catalyst for other awards and would establish the university as a premier institution of research.

“This is a reaffirmation to faculty and students that FAMU is a major player of research,” Gainous said. “This endowment brings about research that involves constituents groups of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and that is really tuned to the health disparities that are encountered by them.

“It is also an affirmation of the ability of FAMU to attract outstanding faculty and scholars.”

Gainous said the endowment places the total amount of grants and contracts the university received in the last 15 months at $137.6 million.

“This is truly a red letter day for the university and the College of Pharmacy.”

DeAnna L. Carpenter can be reached at