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Release: Immediate

UI Pharmacy Dean Banker announces retirement

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dr. Gilbert S. Banker, dean of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, has announced his retirement, effective with the appointment of a new dean of the College.

Banker, 66, who is the John L. Lach Distinguished Professor in Drug Delivery Systems at the UI, has served as dean since 1992.

"The College of Pharmacy has undergone remarkable changes under Dean Banker's leadership and has strengthened its standing as one of the leading pharmacy programs in the country," says UI President Mary Sue Coleman. "Dean Banker should feel especially proud of his important contributions to pharmacy education at the UI and to the delivery of pharmacy services to Iowans."

Banker, an experienced academic administrator with a distinguished research and teaching record, has overseen key changes at the college. He led the transition of the college's curriculum from a five-year, bachelor of science degree to a six-year, entry-level doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program.

The college implemented its Pharm.D. program for new students at the start of the 1995 fall semester. In the fall of 1996 the college established an off-campus non-traditional Pharm.D. program so that pharmacists in the state holding bachelor's degrees also could obtain the Pharm.D. degree. About 60 pharmacists from across the state currently are enrolled in the program. This fall, the college enrolled 113 students in the Pharm.D. program and has a total enrollment of 481 professional students. In addition, 78 graduate students are enrolled in a variety of research programs leading to the doctorate degree.

Banker has established strong ties with the pharmacists of Iowa and the Iowa Pharmacists Association and its leadership and members. This relationship has led to the development of a major pharmaceutical care initiative that is transforming pharmacy practice in the state. Patient-focused, community pharmacy practice sites provide important clinical training sites for Pharm.D. students, as do the family practice medical residency training sites throughout Iowa, where full-time faculty from the college are now positioned. These faculty directly support collegiate and outreach programs throughout the state to better serve both pharmacists and Iowans.

Banker was also instrumental in garnering support and overseeing construction of the 78,000 square-foot addition and other renovations to the Pharmacy Building. The $20 million project was completed last year. The Pharmacy Building addition houses new classrooms and conference rooms, research laboratories, and faculty and graduate student offices. The addition also provides additional space for the Division of Pharmaceutical Service, the college's FDA-licensed drug manufacturing facility.

A search committee for Banker's replacement will be named in the next few weeks.