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Director of Development
UI College of Pharmacy
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release:  June 17, 2002

Gift enhances endowed faculty position for UI Pharmacy College

An endowed faculty chair made possible through the generosity of a prominent University of Iowa graduate and his wife will enhance the stature and effectiveness of the UI College of Pharmacy's Division of Pharmaceutics, said Jordan Cohen, dean of the college.

Former UI pharmacy faculty member Lyle D. Bighley, nationally recognized as a leader in pharmaceutical industry and education, and his wife, Sharon (Olson) Bighley, established the Bighley Pharmaceutics Fellowship Fund in 1990 with a gift of $250,000 to the UI Foundation. Now the Shawnee Mission, Kans., couple has made additional gift commitments that will bring this fund's endowment level to $1.5 million, at which time the position will become an endowed chair.

In explaining this gift, Lyle Bighley said, "The main reason I could continue my graduate education was because of help from quality faculty who gave me work opportunities and scholarship recommendations. Sharon and I want to ensure that high-caliber faculty continue to be available for students in the years ahead." 

"We wanted to do something that would provide a benefit beyond our lifetimes," Sharon Bighley added. 

Based in the Division of Pharmaceutics, an academic and research unit of the College of Pharmacy, the Bighley chair will enable the college to recruit and retain a nationally recognized pharmaceutical scientist to lead the division in developing a multidisciplinary approach to drug development.

"Lyle and Sharon Bighley are special friends of the college—and of this university," said Cohen.  "These two have been extraordinarily generous in investing their time and resources in UI pharmacy education.  By establishing this chair, they will play an instrumental role in transforming the future of pharmaceutical training and development.  The Bighleys truly are role models for other alumni and friends."

Lyle D. Bighley, who received his UI master of science degree in 1963 and his UI doctor of philosophy degree in 1966, retired in 1991 as the senior vice president of research and development planning and administration of Marion Merrell Dow Inc., in Kansas City, Mo.  Before that, he worked as assistant professor and then associate professor in the UI College of Pharmacy, and held other scientific and management positions in the pharmaceutical industry.

Bighley has earned several honors, including a Henry S. Wellcome Memorial Fellowship from the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, an American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Former Fellow Distinguished Service Profile Award and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the UI College of Pharmacy.  His writing and research have appeared in 18 publications.

Sharon Bighley, an Osage, Iowa, native, received her nursing degree from Hamline University in 1959.  She and her husband are members of the Presidents Club of the University of Iowa, which recognizes the UI's most generous contributors.

The Bighleys' gift is part of the university's $850 million comprehensive campaign, called Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University. The campaign is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation to raise funds for new initiatives in the arts, sciences, business, health care and other fields; support new educational and research facilities; substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions; fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans; and build the UI's endowment.

The UI Foundation, the university's comprehensive fund-raising organization, is the preferred channel of support for contributions to all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at